Emergency Architects Australia has been commended by the World Architecture Community for its work in the Solomon Islands.
December 21st, 2010
The not-for-profit organisation’s Phase 2 of the Ngari school building was named a winner in the 8th cycle of the online World Architecture Community Awards, which aim to highlight amazing projects that might otherwise go unrecognised.
Emergency Architects Australia (EAA) has been making an impact in the Solomon Islands region since May 2007. After its initial work on the ground following the 2007 tsunami in the Western and Choiseul provinces of the Solomon Islands, the organisation’s designs were used for 80% of the work undertaken by UNICEF’s specially set up Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project (RARP).
The EAA then felt it necessary to test further designs, of which Ngari Phase 2 is the culmination. The designs are now being used and adapted around the country.
The EAA’s award-winning project is exemplary of its innovative, practical and yet sensitive approach to disaster relief.
“We can’t just leap towards the best practice solution,” said David Kaunitz, Operations Director of EAA.
“We strike a line between what is best practice and what is achievable standard. We take the view that if we don’t make [the buildings] easy to build, no one will build them and there will be no improvement.”
Kaunitz and his team implemented simple measures, such as cross-bracing for stronger structure, to create buildings that incorporate local materials, traditional techniques and modern disaster-resistant design.
Sago palms were used to create tightly-knit, meticulous roofs that last longer and are cheaper than metal roofs, can be easily patched up, won’t rust and are easy to repair.
Most importantly, this involves supporting the local agriculture and craft community by buying and using their handmade products.
“In the process we’re also disseminating that money through the community, allowing people to pay for school fees to send their kids to school,” explained Kaunitz.
Being commended by the World Architecture Community is a great coup not only for EAA but for the communities they are helping to rebuild.
“It’s really important for the communities,” said Kaunitz.
“They live in a place completely cut off from the outside world, and they win a global award. This has an effect on other communities in motivating them to do things; it’s a positive reinforcement of what’s happened on the ground to the people on the ground.”
Emergency Architects Australia
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