Well, new since a certain slacker last updated, anyway.
Nepal: Orphanage bunkbeds: In the next month to month and a half, we need designs for bunkbeds for a room that is 23′ by 15′ by 10′ high, for at least 13 (and up to 20) children and teenagers.
In August, we heard a presentation from a man who was in Nepal back in January, working with a friend who is doing work there to help people who were formerly slaves. There are many orphans in the area as well, due largely to civil war.
This project is for an orphanage in Tikapur that currently houses 13 orphans. The people who run the orphanage do not have the resources to provide bunkbeds, closets, or other kinds of clothing or personal storage for the children. Since this is going to be home for the children until they are adults, we are being asked to design simple bunkbed/storage structures that can be easily built with available materials, and provide them with some space that they can call their own.
Materials available: metal pipe, bamboo, and teak.
A simple structure that a hammock could be hung from is a possibility; the designs do not have to have a flat platform for a mattress.
Jason is going back to Nepal in January, and needs the designs in the next month or two so that the materials can be prepared by the time he arrives. That way, he and a small team can quickly assemble the beds in the short time they will be there.
Bring designs to the next meeting, or email info AT afhb DOT org.
For more information, check out Gateway to Nepal and True Stories from Nepal.
Boomerangs renovation, Jamaica Plain: Boomerangs is a resale store based in JP. Their proceeds go to the Aids Action Committee of Massachusetts. After many successful years, and opening new locations, they need to renovate their flagship store in JP.
Some of the issues are lighting, flooring, and general flow through the space.
Two weeks ago, several AfHB members went to the store to gather information on initial conditions, and there will be another meeting soon to proceed from there. We have a Google site set up for documents; drop us a line at info AT afhb DOT org if you want to get involved.
Haiti Design Competition: A group of Wentworth students recently went to Haiti to meet with people there and identify a site for a design competition for a memorial. They met with the mayor of Leogane, where the epicenter of the earthquake was, and people who work for the First Lady, and have their support to design something for two different sites in Leogane. The Mayor and First Lady will be judges of the competition, which will need to end at the end of this year. They need a design (at the schematic level) chosen by January, when a new President will take office.
One of the sites is at the entrance to Leogane, and could be made more of a grand entrance. Some of the most desired structures/designs for the site are a marketplace, history museum, and something for children. There is a great deal of culture and history to consider, much of which has little attention paid to it at the moment, while the country is still rebuilding.
Some of the construction considerations are that Haiti has very little access to steel or wood (trees are cut down for charcoal for cooking), but most concrete construction there is not sturdy enough to withstand earthquakes.
Kenya: Nyayo Village Housing Study : Sia recently returned from a site visit and showed us a lot of pictures of the site and surrounding area. She was able to make some blog updates during part of her trip, depending on whether or not she had internet access. There is also a project site on the Open Architecture Network where we will be sharing documents and designs.
ASH is working on setting up a small building as a dispensary (primarily a pharmacy), which will probably be completed fairly soon, faster than we can really be involved.
Our project will be to work with a farmer in Nyayo Village to improve one of the mud sleeping houses on his property. Some of the issues that will need to be addressed are ventilation, light and water seeping underneath the house. Because this is a mud house for sleeping, there is no kitchen. However, the project should take the kitchen into consideration because many of the families in Nyayo only have one house where they sleep and cook. Eventually, the proposed solution will be adapted for implementation in the rest of the village. The proposed solution should take into consideration the income of the residents, climate, local resources and the lifestyle of the people.
The house is built using techniques very common in the area: small wooden posts provide vertical supports, and corn stalks or similar materials are woven around the vertical supports to form the walls. The walls are then covered with mud. If the owners can afford, sometimes a more durable layer is applied over the mud (sometimes concrete, sometimes another type of less common and more expensive soil). Heavy rains – and flooding – mean this very common type of structure needs to be repaired several times a year.
Other challenges: termites will eat the wooden supports and the thatch; other animals, including rats and snakes, may live in the thatch; for security reasons, only very small holes are left in the walls (keep out people and animals). Most people cannot afford to buy metal grates to block larger windows, and in the winter, they are often completely blocked to keep cold air out.
Long Way Home: The project is continuing. Mike and Erica will be co-teaching a practice studio at the BAC related to the project.
Carter School Accessibility Project: AfHB will be working as a peer review team to the BAC studio class that is continuing their work on the Carter School.
PROJECTS (mostly) COMPLETED OR ON HOLD
Upward Bound Dome Project: We successfully set up a dome at MassArt! And then took it down again. Pictures and a longer write-up are forthcoming.
90 Windsor Street Community Center: The NOMA Conference will be in Boston from October 7-9, and will be using the project as a charette exercise. We will continue to work with UNLR to help them with fundraising.
Nyaya Health Center: Is on hold until we get a new point person with the time to work on it.
MIT CoLab – Haiti: We heard a presentation from Kristal Peters from MIT’s CoLab, about the work they are doing in Haiti. They sent a team to Haiti to look into development of housing, including property rights, construction techniques, redevelopment, and housing policy.
They met with groups in three different communities. In addition to housing, water and sanitation are serious concerns, and alternative energy is also of interest.
Honduras: We also heard a brief update from a returning attendee who has been spending time in Honduras, working on housing. He is working with the Episcopal Bishop to develop 120 affordable housing units, along the lines of the Katrina Cottage.
South Sudan: One of our attendees is returning soon to his home country, South Sudan, where he will be working on housing, which is immensely expensive. Similarly to the CoLab, he will be taking on a facilitator or point person role, identifying and connecting donors, architects, government organizations, etc., to work on affordable housing projects.
He also recently met a Norwegian architect who has done design work in Africa, and developed aluminum poles that can be used in place of wooden poles for the construction of traditional housing, like that in Kenya.