Fall 2018, Arch 100C – Hell & Back Pt 2
This studio continues a multi-studio sequence that confronts rising urban emergencies and explores the dimensions through which a designer can both prevent, and respond to, disaster. Moving beyond the simplistic paradigms of past design eras, where disaster was considered unavoidable and humanitarian interventions were considered a niche practice, the studio will confront the fact that increasingly all human habitation is under threat. From wildfires above the Arctic Circle to critical dam failures in Virginia to induced earthquakes in Oklahoma, disaster is less and less of a foreign abstraction. Disaster is increasingly a design consideration as ubiquitous and integral as site, program, envelope, etc.
Too much humanitarian design focuses on who can design something the cheapest, the simplest, the easiest, betraying soft bigotry for the poor, and the stricken The most current discourse within humanitarian architecture circles acknowledges that this approach often exacerbates the underlying conditions that gave rise to the disaster in the first place. The challenge, therefore, is how to position design as a tool for development and the betterment of human life. Especially where unacknowledged disasters lie in waiting.