The Profession of Architecture

1 January 2017

However, unless the architect’s role begins to change similarly to keep up with our changing environment, buildings today can’t withstand the increase number of natural disasters, which our world today is coming to terms with. Natural disasters being, “changes which are so great they may cause damage to the shape of the land or to the lives of people and other living things. ” (What are natural disasters? , Primary Resources. ) The effects of climate change including extreme temperatures, flooding and droughts and intense heat waves, are causing a greater number of natural disasters.

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The strong link between architects and the effects of broken housing and infrastructure after natural disasters is all too common. The role of the architect is mainly thought of as being essential in the direct providing of emergency assistance however their role has changed over time to seeing the general plan formulated prior to disasters (Aquilino, 2012. ) In rebuilding though it is important for architects and clients to be open for change including adapting new building codes and education to others in the community, whilst keeping with the appropriate culture and atmosphere which would have once existed.

Architects play an important role in making homes viable and functional after restoration. It can be argued that architects contribute to only three percent of the worlds built environment, therefore it is not solely their responsibility (Alexander, 2002. ) However if the blame keeps shifting from who is responsible it is wasting time and is predicted to force millions of people of the verge of eco-refuge, a condition that poses a real threat to human security as people are forced to migrate.

Eco- refuge is a problem leading to homelessness, causing ill health and financial troubles for those affected. Emergency housing has being developed post disasters to provide for these people however these temporary homes in which people are forced to live in are culturally unacceptable, lacking in poor hygiene standards and temporary shelters and housing do not have any architectural basis. Experts are finding that these natural hazards are increasing yearly and in severity and the ability to protect these communities once a disaster strikes becomes nearly impossible.

These shelters now require architectural design and technological support due to the extended period of time required for use. Thousands of organisations worldwide respond to catastrophe, some providing emergency and transitional shelters while others build permanent homes. The lack of coordinated response draws out this process for the citizens. The rush to complete mandates and donor priorities lead to weak coordination and fragmented knowledge and combine with the disregard for environmental health characterize the failed practices that prevail after a disaster.

This is the call for the crucial immediate need for architects- along with other built-environment professionals to bring training, competency and ingenuity to disaster risk prevention, migration, response and recovery are needed. Architects in conjunction with planners must engage in a broader conversation, among the expertise in humanitarian aid, anthropologies, conversation, ecologists, bankers and economists, structural engineers, public health officials, surveyors and within the context of policy makers and communities.

These groups need to know where to put their confidence and practitioners including architects must guard against the tendency to fall into rote responses and convenient solutions (Aquilino, 2012. ) Architects are not only skilled technicians they are, ‘creative artists’ and those talents are needed in such circumstances. Many architectural details and materials needed for repairing the remaining historic buildings are when there are majority of problems.

The effects of the urban layout and architectural style of villages after the rebuild alter the culture of the communities affected. According to several studies the blame after natural disasters has been turned to the lack of responsibility of architects when planning their designs. Take Chris Clarke owner of a brand new, spacious, open plan three bedroom home in Callignee situated in the Gippsland region of Victoria’s east.

In less than a week after completing his house which took ten years planning and building the worst bushfires of the state, commonly known as ‘Black Saturday’ burned through and destroyed it. Two hundred houses in the region burned to the ground, as similarly to Chris’ was built within meters of trees and surrounded by acres of bush land. All that remained of Chris’ home was a single brick wall, concrete foundations, his kitchen bench, pool and a two story steel frame.

Since this natural disaster the building codes have strengthened in this area with a greater number of regulations being enforced. Examples include no decks being allowed to be built outside unless you use fully fire rated timber, and adopting the best technology using the latest materials including cladding in fire resistant weathering steel and cocooning all timber frames with a fire resistant material known as Firefly, which can withstand temperatures of over one thousand two hundred degrees Celsius for over an hour (Franklin, 2010. Architects need to prevent these situations from occurring by ensuring their client takes a greater responsibility in acknowledging their environment and the natural hazards associated with it. If this is conducted early on in planning this would ensure a stable longer lasting home and the client would be able to budget for the necessary cost before a disaster occurs. Urgent questions about the role and responsibility of architects have been circulating since the Indian Ocean tsunami killed more than two hundred thousand people in 2004.

Suddenly questions were raised about the roles of the architects. Architects appeared notably absent from efforts to protect people from disaster. More recently they have been active in other areas of public interest for example investigating a range of creative strategies to improve social, environmental and economic quality. Commonly the role the architect play’s is a sustained role in shaping policy and have had little active presence or voice in learning the best practices in disaster relief.

They provide coherent solutions that include safety and land use planning, the process by which decisions are made on future land uses and disposition of resources, facilities, and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health, and well-being of urban and rural communities” However they also research innovative building technologies and are at the forefront of low-cost, energy saving, environmentally sound materials and new methods of prefabrication. They discover ways to bring ffordable high technology solutions to vulnerable communities and are experts in how best to bridge the gap that separates short term emergency needs with long term sustainable recovery. This is achieved by a variety of non governmental charities, government agencies, and the residents themselves (Vinnitskaya, 2012. ) The recent development of technologies and increase number of natural disasters has lead to the study of geospatial content being examined for links between the Earth’s deposition and the movement between the two.

It is therefore possible to configure research and take up effective architectural practices which can manipulate theses effects of the detriments on buildings. Having acknowledged strategies to deal with natural disasters in advance it ensures a faster more effective response to the rebuild (Vassilious, Doulamis, Karagiorgou 2010. ) The New Zealand earthquake is an example where this is occurring. New Zealand, and in particular their capital city Christchurch is positioned in the ‘ring of fire’ a continuous belt of volcanoes and earthquakes circulating the Pacific Ocean.

The increasing number of architects adopting green and sustainable methods in design today is all to common. Sustainable design is a common thought and in architecture today tends to be of the importance of sustainable design and efficient use of space and building materials, this is shared by the increasing number of architects adopting green and sustainable methods (Van Schaik, London, George. 2010) The role of the architect has to be one that ensures sustainable design is carried out in all practices.

Fulfilling the clients design brief but most importantly listens to the natural environment and takes relevant action in planning if a natural hazard is caused. The role of the client needs to be altered to be able to compromise when these structures are getting built so that they are understanding of their environment and their interaction with it. The development and knowledge architects have today extends far beyond being able to design and build houses, their engagement with the environment especially in the case of a natural disaster occurring.

Hurricane Catrina is an example where this is the case. In 2005 Hurricane Catrina ripped through the lower ninth ward of New Orleans, America, a community of low socio economic status. Three years later many are still with out homes. However the design of these new homes are planned to show architectural precision at its finest. Architect, Tom Mayne of Morphis in Los Angeles has designed houses, which will float on water if another natural disaster occurs. Architects play three critical point in crisis situations.

The first is, capacity. This includes well trained architects who are actively building and have a wide ranging experience in addition to their ability to erect secure, durable structures. They are expert contract managers capable of calculating needs, resources, and budgets through a program. All of this helps save money and improves humanitarian action. The second is representation; architects work in close collaboration with communities and can help them act on their own behalf.

Playing the roles of designer, historian, negotiator and advocate, architects develop site alternatives that help secure land tenure , reblock overcrowded slums, afford better access to water, sanitation, air and light, introduce public spaces and improve the relationship with the local ecology. They can then represent community consensus on viable projects to different government bodies, and this, in turn promotes local independence.

It is terribly difficult for communities to successfully represent their own best interests in the face of intractable politics. Thirdly, vision, this recovery extends will beyond the need for shelter. In a state of emergency it is difficult for desperate individuals to imagine a better future. Architectural expertise can promote public health, encourage investigating in new skills, environmental awareness and advocate for mitigating risk, which together help endure a sustainable and safe way of life. (Aquilino, 2012. )

These buildings need to be built to withstand their appropriate environment by being built on stilts to withstand a hurricane, covered in Fire Fly to be fire resistant and structurally stable to withstand shifts in the Earth tectonic plates. Effective architecture remains to be a challenging issue amongst building which aims to provide safer, longer lasting buildings. The answer lies with whether the clients are able to financially support these safety precautions. There is a gap in this, which the government can fill including stronger building regulations across all houses which are near ush land, all homes in the ‘ring of fire’ be structurally sound to withstand a earthquake. Architects need to respond to the growing threat of disaster risk in urban and rural setting around the world. The challenge is growing impossible so action must be taken immediately and to do this we must revisit architecture with the capacity to be a powerful, disruptive force. Architects must begin to speak with others. References * Alexander, David. 2002. Housing Crisis after Natural Disaster: the Aftermath of the November 1980 Southern Italian Earthquae.

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