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Posts Tagged ‘mass design’

The 2012 Curry Stone Design Prize winners have been announced. The awards, given to “social design pioneers,” will be presented at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on November 15.

How cool are these winners?

According to the Curry Stone website, New York City’s “Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) collaborates with teachers and students, policy experts and community advocates, and artists and designers to visually communicate complex urban-planning processes and policy-making decisions.”

Liter of Light, Manila, Philippines, uses water in bottles to create solar lamps for people living in dark tenements.

“Model of Architecture Serving Society — aka MASS Design — is a Boston-based architecture firm that has created a niche practice in designing healthcare facilities in resource-limited settings, primarily in countries emerging from crisis.”

The Riwaq Center for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah “has spent more than two decades documenting Palestinian heritage and culture through restoration of the built environment.”

“Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of lively and diversified public spaces, typically from abandoned or derelict sites.”

More here. Be sure to check the pictures here.

Photograph: Jeminah Ferrer
The Liter of Light project uses water  in bottles to create solar lamps for the poor.

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Dr. Paul Farmer, the subject of a great Tracy Kidder book called Mountains Beyond Mountains, has spent many years delivering medical care — and working to alleviate poverty — in remote areas of Haiti. His nonprofit organization, Partners in Health, takes the word “partners” seriously. The teams do not tell the locals what is good for them but makes a point of learning from them and helping them get what they need.

In recent years, Farmer has been in demand in other countries, too. One focus area has been Rwanda. I liked a recent Boston Globe article on the approach to building a Partners in Health hospital there.

“The designers quickly realized that the challenge was not simply to draw up plans, as they had first thought, but rather to understand the spread of airborne disease and design a building that would combat — and in some cases sidestep — the unhealthy conditions common to so many hospitals.

“Learning from health care workers that hospital hallways were known sites of contagion, poorly ventilated, and clogged with patients and visitors, MASS Design decided that the best solution would be to get rid of the hallways. Taking advantage of Rwanda’s temperate climate, they placed the circulation outdoors, designing open verandas running the lengths of the buildings. …

“When it came to building, MASS Design looked at the Partners in Health model of involving local poor communities in health care, and realized that they could apply the same ideas to the construction process. The hospital was built entirely using local labor, providing food and health care for the workers. Unskilled workers received training that would help them get more work; and skilled laborers, notably the Rwandan masons who built the hospital’s exterior from carefully fitted together local volcanic stone, refined their craft and found themselves in demand all over the country. The construction process also beefed up local infrastructure — new roads and a hydroelectric dam — creating more jobs and literally paving the way for future projects.”

To paraphrase what Farmer often says, the biggest challenge to health is poverty. Read more.

Update on the designers from the June 19, 2012, Boston Globe.

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