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Safer Built Environments for 90% of the World

What is Humanitarian Architecture?

 

As a recent architecture graduate, I get asked quite often what type of architecture I would like to get into.  When I tell them ‘humanitarian architecture’, people often respond with confused looks on their faces.  So I’d like to give an overview of what humanitarian architecture is.

Definition

The word humanitarian can be defined as “having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people” (www.dictionary.com).  So humanitarian architecture basically means architecture designed for those in need.  It is “seeking architectural solutions to humanitarian crises and bringing professional design services to communities in need.” (www.nationmultimedia.com)

More than just drawing

Architecture is more than just design and draw – its problem solving!  Humanitarian architects work with communities on site-specific projects that require solutions to issues, whether big or small.  From installing a rainwater collection system to rebuilding an entire city after a natural disaster, humanitarian architecture brings solutions to communities in need.

This is only a mere introduction to what humanitarian architecture can offer the world.  Personally, humanitarian architecture means a lot more than meaningless design for high-end clients who are ignorant to the real needs of 90% of the world.  “Architecture originated as humanitarian. It was shelter, it was sacred space, it was meeting grounds for communities to come together.” (www.archinect.com) What are your views on humanitarian architecture?

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