Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. We are building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design.
Nov 6, 2014

Three-and-a-half years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

September 11 marked the three-and-a-half year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Progress has been made in affected areas, where debris has been removed, infrastructure has been restored, and those in temporary housing have begun moving into more permanent housing solutions. Currently there are 89,000 people still living in prefabricated temporary housing units. Employment, education and prospect for the future of the city are all important factors to consider when choosing a location to make a fresh start. Leaving the sense community created in the temporary housing community and creating new connections at the next location can be a source of anxiety that follows as well. Creating your own "home base" - deciding on your location of residence and place of employment - plays a critical role in the shaping of a stable and safe lifestyle. However, it is clear that for the survivors who experienced invaluable loss, the decision is not an easy one to make. Even so, the people of Tohoku with their perseverance and strength are living with the appreciation that they are alive, and are working towards challenges with a positive attitude without losing hope.

It's mainly these types of people who are the clientele of MakiBiz. "I want to rebuild my shop to create a space where people in the community can gather," "I want to create an industry that people in this city can be a part of, and create employment opportunities," "I want to revive my business not only for myself, but also for the people that have supported and cheered me on" – these are the types of statements that we hear from our clients over and over again. MakiBiz is working to respond to each individual's consultations by creating a business support team to work with our clients.

Three-and-a-half years seem long and short. There are the residents in the affected communities who have kept trekking forward, and there are people who are working to support the recovery of these communities. However the recovery of the region is not moving as much as the general public assumes. What is required to further the recovery? In the past three-and-a-half years, those in the community have been desperately running forward, but in current circumstances where things have gradually began to calm down, the time has come to truly face the issue of what the future of Tohoku will be as we move forward. MakiBiz will continue to walk along with the residents of Tohoku, supporting them in the best way possible.

 

UPDATES

MakiBiz RFP Program Overview

With the completion of the Oikawa Denki office space, only 2 out of the 9 MakiBiz RFP Program's projects remain to be completed - Konpiramaru and Tamiko Abe. These two projects are planned to be completed in November. Learn more about each project through their project links on the Open Architecture Network.

MakiBiz Client Intake

MakiBiz has supported 190 business owners since it opened its office. Information about our clients, along with other MakiBiz updates can be found

"Dream Map" Workshop Held at Ishinomaki NOTE

MakiBiz helped to coordinate "Dream Map," a popular dream visualization workshop in Japan at Ishinomaki NOTE, an organization that supports young adults with employment support. The event consists of visualizing what you'd like to become or what you'd like to accomplish in the future, and using pictures and words to express this on one sheet of paper in a six-hour time frame. Their fuzzy dreams gradually take a clearer shape through the process of self-analysis and in speaking with other participants, and it helps participants to take action in achieving them. We hope that this process empowered participants in taking a step forward to achieve their dreams!

MakiBiz Business Support

Much progress has been made with our business support clients! Kikuzakari Sake Brewery, who holds a 140-year history, has started fundraising through a micro-financing service to buy all required equipment that will replace ones that they lost for the tsunami! And two ship-building companies in Ogatsu have merged into one, and are working towards constructing a new factory. Moving forward, we will likely be aiding many businesses in reaching funds necessary to rebuild. MakiBiz will strengthen its support structure, and continue to aid small businesses with the support they need!

 

JOB OPPORTUNITIES AND PROGRAM NEEDS

Business Coordinator
Fundraiser

Tesuki Washi Ushiogami
Tesuki Washi Ushiogami
Tamiko Abe
Tamiko Abe
Oikawa Denki
Oikawa Denki
"Dream Map" Workshop
"Dream Map" Workshop
Kikuzakari Sake Brewery
Kikuzakari Sake Brewery

Links:

Oct 31, 2014

What's Ahead: Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction

Reflecting on 2 years since Hurricane Sandy
Reflecting on 2 years since Hurricane Sandy

Since we started our first year of aid in the Tri-State area, we discovered that as a region, the devastation left by the storm exposed the fragility of our built environment – how prepared or unprepared we were in our properties, our neighborhoods, and our selves. We have seen the large-scale destruction of homes, businesses, streets, and communities. 

More importantly though as we remember today, is that we have moved from recovery to reconstruction.  No longer are we “victims” of Sandy’s wrath. We continue to actively seek opportunities to guide and create a better built environment for those that call this region home.

In the coming months, the Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction program will continue to support and provide resources within our abilities to more property owners, organizations, and municipalities to create sustainable, mitigated, adapted, resilient, and timeless homes, businesses, and communities.  We will continue to explore new and enhance current relationships with like-minded partners to truly make this a place to call home. 

As we look ahead, we also want to celebrate a year of reflection, learning, and progress. We set out to focus on the vulnerable communities and demographics with the greatest need for design and construction services.  Using the power of design to rebuild sustainably and more resiliently, we completed several components of our initial goals:

    • Early in 2014, we completed our pilot program of the Sandy Design Help Desk.  Starting in Far Rockaway, Queens, and ending in Red Hook, Brooklyn, we offered free design consultations to a wide variety of property owners.  The consultations offered owners the opportunity to meet with the design professionals that we trained in resilient, sustainable design methodology to provide opportunities to reconstruct their homes and businesses in a responsible manner.
    • In late May and early June, our design and construction teams broke ground at Toms River High School North (Toms River, New Jersey) and Washington School (Little Ferry, New Jersey), respectively.  The construction teams progressed through the summer months and, in early September, completed the reconstruction work on time and on budget.
    • After this summer’s tourist season ended, we started construction on the sunshade structures on Seaside Heights’ historic boardwalk.  These structures were designed with resilience and timeless thought and are now complete.
    • In the spring of this year, we authored and launched our Resilience through Education and Design Centers.  Focusing on assisting small property owners still recovering from the effects of Sandy, the program offers free design consultations through a design clinic where responsible, resilient, and sustainable solutions are offered.  The second phase of the program affords a client to receive pro bono design and construction services in reconstructing their property.
    • We have made great strides in identifying and collaborating with new partner organizations, as well as enhancing our existing relationships toward a common goal: to assist the people who live and work around New York City and the Tri-State region to create a more resilient network of communities for generations to come.
    • We have identified that there remains a significant need in the region for our services.  Too many people still have difficulty asking the question, “How do I begin to think about rebuilding, let alone do it, and protect my home and family from future storms?”  There are thousands of property owners who still need that question answered. We continue to receive compelling stories from individual property owners seeking sources to reconstruct their homes and businesses.

 

We have learned much about what we can do and, equally important, what we should not do in the future.  We have seen design competitions present hundreds of incredible ideas that attempt to solve reconstruction challenges in our area in an innovative, resilient, and sustainable manner. We have learned how to help ourselves, how to help our neighbors, communities, and the region.

ReNew Schools: Washington School, Little Ferry NJ
ReNew Schools: Washington School, Little Ferry NJ
ReNew Schools: Toms River High School North, NJ
ReNew Schools: Toms River High School North, NJ
Restore the Shore, Seaside Heights, NJ
Restore the Shore, Seaside Heights, NJ
Sandy Design Help Desk
Sandy Design Help Desk
REDC
REDC

Links:

Oct 15, 2014

Haiti Update: October 2014

École Nationale Republique d'Argentine

École Nationale Republique d'Argentine is a primary school in Port-au-Prince that served a student population of over 1300 students before the 2010 earthquake. Two of the major classroom blocks were destroyed by the earthquake, and their reconstruction is currently underway.

With the first phase of construction complete and the second one nearly done, the team is now working on the final finishes – an opening ceremony to celebrate this great achievement is scheduled for the end of October. The children will soon have access to a brand new cafeteria, an outdoor auditorium space, and three additional classrooms that are covered with a double-layered metal roof to offer well-ventilated spaces with plentiful natural light. All structures have been rebuilt using safe, anti-seismic construction methods.

This project has been funded with the support of the Clinton Foundation.

 

École Elie Dubois

Elie Dubois is an all-girls secondary school located on a one-hundred year-old campus. The historic buildings have been damaged during the earthquake, and the project aims to rebuild three new buildings for Phase 1, before renovating the main building for phase 2.

Phase 1 of the project, which includes a brand new cafeteria and three new classrooms, has been completed. The construction team is now working on the renovation of the historical classroom building, completely reconstructing the roof and the wooden framework. The completion of works is scheduled for December 2014.

 

Ile-a-Vache Community Action Plan 

During the past four years in (2011-2014), Architecture for Humanity’s community development efforts on the island of Ile-a-Vache were centered on a number of key aspects aimed at ensuring sustainable development and visitor experience: education, capacity building and training, and environmental conservation. A grant from the WK Kellogg Foundation was used to create and organize community development activities, which incorporated workshops and theatrical events. These included the design and implementation of a community action plan that is designated to help steer the community’s future development.

All activities were co-designed and developed with the help of the communities’ participation, ensuring that the activities and projected plan were truly appropriate in addressing the needs and problems that had been identified by local people. Architecture for Humanity’s Haiti office uses a two-pronged test with the community to be able to identify their specific needs. Firstly, we conduct a full diagnosis of the local area to see what the primary issues are, and secondly, we develop a strategic plan to develop long-term solutions for those identified issues. The Ile-a-Vache community action plan was completed and handed over to the community on August 18, 2014.

The community platform received the plan with great enthusiasm as it collects new data relative to their living area. They were also really satisfied as it was the first time that an NGO has actually delivered on its promises, delivering a tangible report to be used by the whole island’s community.

 

American Red Cross: Two Civil Society Organization Buildings

The architectural team in Haiti has started working on the design of two buildings for the American Red Cross. The two buildings will host different activities and will be in two separate locations: the first is southeast of downtown Port-au-Prince, in Carrefour Feuille; the second is in Canaan, north of Port-au-Prince. The programming phase is currently under way to determine the needs and goals of the users at each site.

We will be posting more updates on the emerging concepts and schematic designs for each building in the next few weeks and months.

Ecole Elie Dubois
Ecole Elie Dubois
Ile-a-Vache Community Action Plan
Ile-a-Vache Community Action Plan
American Red Cross: Two Civil Society Organization
American Red Cross: Two Civil Society Organization

Links:

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