At Architecture for Humanity, we know that we can provide communities with the best results by collaborating and sharing knowledge with the community, and partners with relevant expertise.
In August, Program Coordinators Audrey Galo and Hiromi Tabei were invited to travel to the Philippines to participate in an 8-day trip and workshop hosted by the Consuelo Foundation, to advise on disaster reconstruction and resilience following the devastating impact of Typhoon Yolanda.
With long-term goals for reconstruction in mind, the foundation is carefully considering a cross-disciplinary collaboration between partners to help build a more resilient future for vulnerable communities. This workshop gathered together groups with extensive experience working with post-disaster communities, climate change, disaster risk reduction, reconstruction and recovery, to share knowledge and build partnerships.
Architecture for Humanity was invited as an expert in design and construction of post-disaster communities, and was joined by others including: Jainey Bavishi, Executive Director of Asia-Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (APDR3), Dennis Hwang from the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant College Program, and Dr. Karl Kim, Executive Director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center.
The group first spent time in Manila, before travelling to a number of areas most affected by Typhoon Yolanda to learn about some of the initiatives being undertaken to assist in the recovery. We saw a mix of successes and failures in flood-mitigation and reconstruction measures that have been undertaken by various entities. We also met with many groups working on inspirational projects to protect the country from future storms and earthquakes, and strengthened our relationships with those working towards common long-term reconstruction goals.
The trip illustrated that many dedicated individuals and organizations are working to build something positive from last year’s disaster, demonstrating that they are clearly thinking in the long-term rather than simply looking for “Band-Aid” solutions. It was particularly inspiring to see how people did not view the typhoon’s impact as a failure of the measures already in place, but instead saw it as an opportunity to make improvements and to create a more resilient community.
Everyone has a part to play in reconstruction and disaster risk reduction – it is crucial to work together to find the best way to use everyone’s resources so that the whole community benefits in the end. The Filipino community is taking ownership of their efforts, moving forward with the support of others and their own strong will.
Read more about the trip from a Q&A session with Audrey and Hiromi:
How did we get chosen to attend the workshop?
Audrey: Because of the prior relationships we had with the National Preparedness Training Center, they reached out to us when the idea of the trip came about. They thought we should be involved; so we started talking about what the purpose of the trip would be, and how we could best contribute.
How was Architecture for Humanity best able to contribute to the trip?
Audrey: We were able to exceed even our own expectations with what we could bring to the experience. I think we were able to give others in the group a new perspective in terms of thinking about how design can truly impact the cities and people that they’re working with, in a way that they had never thought of before. In a lot of post-disaster situations, you’re working primarily with engineers - but why not work with architects too? Why not work with people who can influence the way that the space is designed? I think we were able to draw that out and also give them some ideas and inspiration for how they may want to do projects in the future.
Are you continuing the conversation?
Audrey: Yes, we’re in the process of trying to figure out what a partnership would look like. The Consuelo Foundation has made a long-term commitment to doing post-disaster work in the regions that they’re working with, and that aligns with how Architecture for Humanity works in post-disaster regions (running multi-year, multi-project programs). We’re going to continue the conversation and see what common projects we can collaborate on.
What’s next for our efforts in the Philippines?
Hiromi: We’re partnering with Happy Hearts Fund to rebuild a school in Tanauan, Leyte, and we’re trying to use that project to expand our program to other areas - training local architects, builders and community members and aiding in planning, like we’re doing in Haiti. We see a lot of potential to dovetail projects with other organizations we met during this trip, so we are working on figuring that out right now. Every participant came with different experiences and has worked in different places after different disasters, so it was nice to hear their perspective on how this disaster is similar and different. We’ve started a good team to keep doing work together.
What was the best ‘takeaway’ from the trip?
Hiromi: It was interesting travelling with other organizations. We have diverse backgrounds and work in many different regions, but are all pursuing the same vision of creating something long-lasting for communities in need. It was inspiring and reassuring to know that we aren’t the only ones doing this work, and that we’re all in it for the same reasons. It was a great opportunity for us to connect with those like-minded people, and cultivate relationships for future collaboration.
Ground-breaking Ceremony held at MakiBiz RFP Project, “Tamiko Abe”
Ground-breaking in Japan is quite ceremonious. When commencing construction of a building in Japan, it has long been tradition to hold a ceremony in which one receives permission from the site’s spirits, and purifies the site. This ritual is called Jichinsai,” translating to earth-calming ceremony.
Jichinsai is held before commencing all building construction to pray for safe construction.
While different regions and religious denominations dictate slight variances in how the ceremony is carried, the ceremony space is typically created with green bamboo inserted at the four corners of the site with Shimenawa (a thick, twisted straw rope with strips of white paper attached, hung to ward off evil spirits) connecting the four corners. An altar is set in the center of the ritual site. Himorogi is set on the altar, along with offerings of sake, salt, rice, fruits and vegetables, to welcome the spirits. With this setting, the ceremony is carried on by a Shinto priest, welcoming the spirits, eating the offerings, and communicating the message that a building will be built on that land.
Tamiko Abe’s Jichinsai was held on June 30, where the client, all construction staff, and MakiBiz staff all attended the ceremony to pray for a safe construction!
MakiBiz RFP Program Overview
Six out of nine projects in the MakiBiz RFP Program have been completed, with Baikado completed in July. Three projects: Oikawa Denki, Konpiramaru, and Tamiko Abe now remain. Oikawa Denki reached a big milestone this month, with a ridge-pole raising ceremony on the 12th.
Learn more about these projects, as well as the completed ones on each project page on the Open Architecture Network.
MakiBiz Client Intake
MakiBiz has supported 180 business owners since it opened its office. Information about our clients, along with other MakiBiz updates can be found here.
Thank you, Kayo!
Our Design Fellow, Kayo Andrews who was mainly involved in our MakiBiz RFP project but also many others, left our team in June after 9 months of great work with our MakiBiz Office. Kayo brought her academic and practical architectural knowledge from the U.S. to the team, and supported MakiBiz with her fresh and innovative ideas to move the projects forward in great strides. Her open kindness and cheerful smile brought power to everyone in the community! Thank you, Kayo!
MakiBiz clients receiving media attention
MakiBiz clients' paths to reconstruction are receiving some attention! Media outlets have highlighted news of companies moving forward on their path to reconstruction, including news of the merging of ship manufacturing groups in Kesennuma. A TV program in Miyagi also covered a story about Ushiogami, who recently announced their newest product in Barcelona. Stay tuned for news on press on our clients, as they continue along their path to reconstruction!
JOB OPPORTUNITIES AND PROGRAM NEEDS
Project Name // Project Stage and % Stage Complete
Baikado // Completed July 2014
Oikawa Denki // CA 60%
Konpiramaru // CD 100%
Tamiko Abe / CD 100%
Wakaba Kindergarten // Completed Apr 2014
Tesuki Washi Ushiogami // Completed Mar 2014
Park for All in Kamaishi // Completed Feb 2014
Yamadai Utsumi Suisan // Completed Jan 2014
Sasaki Tekko // Completed Jan 2014
Yamayo Suisan // Completed Oct 2013
Shizugawa Fishermen's Workspace "Banya" // Completed Feb 2013
Maeami-hama Community House // Completed Feb 2013
Kitakami "We Are One" Market and Youth Center // Completed Dec 2012
Akahama Covered Alley // Completed Jul 2012
Oshika House - Women's Collaborative // Completed Jul 2012
Paper Crane Sculpture // Completed Jan 2012
Shizugawa Judo Juku // Completed Dec 2011
Ohya Green Sports Park // Completed Dec 2011
Hikado Marketplace // Completed Jul 2011
CA Construction Administration / ; CD Construction Documents / ; DD Design Development / ; SD Schematic Design / ; PD Pre-Design / - About the Phases
Some outstanding activity was seen in the Sandy program last month. The ReNew Schools program commenced construction at two of the schools; while our Restore the Shore program went out to bid and launched a new initiative. The new program element is entitled: the Resilience through Education and Design Center (REDC). Partnering with disaster case management organizations local to each community, the intent of this program is to provide property owners an opportunity to receive free design consultations from trained architects and engineers in the latest resilience and sustainable design/building methodology. Once a client receives their consultation, they are eligible to receive further design and construction assistance within the program. The consultations were held on the weekend of July 19th with a great success to which 15 clients attended. In July, we also doubled our staff by welcoming two outstanding individuals. Lila Tedesco and Mika Flomin joined our team as volunteers. Each bring their passion to help rebuild and guide the metropolitan New York region into greater resilience. Both assisted our team during the Sandy Design Help Desk held last and earlier this year, caught the bug, and now are welcome additions to our team.
ReNew Schools: Washington School
With the school year ending much later than usual (due to an inordinate amount of snow days), the painters have finally been able to roll into the gymnasium and paint the walls...complete with bouncing ball graphics! Installation of the new rubberized surface is next, allowing the community access to the space after a two-year closure.
ReNew Schools: Toms River High School North
Construction is moving forward. The ticket booth has been framed out, and the press box is following close behind.
ReNew Schools: Memorial School
The design team at Pennoni has been plugging away at design documentation for the field reconstruction, and the design of the dugouts at the softball and baseball diamonds. We're on track to have the work completed so we can start and ultimately finish the construction before the start of soccer season in September.
Restore the Shore
Trinity Construction, selected to build the sunshade structures, met with the Team to walk through the proposed locations along the boardwalk. The team investigated the boardwalk's pile foundations to understand how they will begin tying in the sunshade's cantilevered construction.
FEMA Region 2 ICP Workshops - August 12 and 13: The 2nd Annual Individual and Community Preparedness Workshop; Enhancing Community Preparedness through Collaboration
Project Name | Project Stage | % Stage Complete
Restore the Shore CA 5%
ReNew Schools: Washington School, Little Ferry CA 15%
ReNew Schools: Toms River High School North, Toms River CA 25%
ReNew Schools: Memorial School, Union Beach CD 95%
CA Construction Administration; CD Construction Document; DD Design Development; SD Schematic Design; PD Pre-Design- About the Phases