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Fwd: Fw: Architects and Tsunamis ... Indonesian / Asian perspective on role of Professionals??

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  • Potter at Island Resources
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    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2005
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      >Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 07:40:30 -0400
      >To: IGBA:
      >From: Potter at Island Resources <bpotter@...>
      >Subject: Fwd: Fw: Architects and Tsunamis ... Indonesian / Asian
      >perspective on role of Professionals??
      >
      >[Thanks to Franklin McDonald . . . Note the highlighted comment at
      >the end of the article -- I have heard similar discussions in other
      >forums where people are saying that the reconstruction at Phuket and
      >other areas in SE Asia is being used to eliminate small local places
      >in favor of MEGA-HOTELS, Inc. . . bp]
      >
      >>Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 13:23:58 -0500
      >>From: FJMcDonald <fmcdonald@...>
      >>Subject: Fw: Architects and Tsunamis ... Indonesian / Asian
      >>perspective on role
      >> of Professionals??
      >>
      >>A dilemna faced by other prof groups as well as Architects?!
      >>F
      >>----- Original Message -----
      >>From: <mailto:fmcdonald@...>FJMcDonald
      >>To: <mailto:daharri@...>daharri@... ;
      >><mailto:Caribbean_Tsunami@yahoogroups.com>Caribbean_Tsunami@yahoogroups.com
      >>Cc:
      >><mailto:i.davis@...>i.davis@... ;
      >><mailto:krimgold@...>Fred Krimgold
      >>Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2005 1:10 PM
      >>Subject: Architects and Tsunamis ... Indonesian perspective
      >>
      >>Tsunami teaches architects a hard lesson on code compliance
      >>
      >>Jakarta Post August 1st 2005
      >>
      >>Prapti Widinugraheni, Contributor/Istanbul
      >>
      >>There was a deep sense of frustration among the Asian architects
      >>discussing the plight and slow progress of reconstruction efforts
      >>in areas affected by the Dec. 2004 tsunami.
      >>
      >>Architects from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and
      >>Indonesia -- all the Asian countries affected by the tsunami -- had
      >>abundant data and numerous photos of the disaster which killed
      >>about 200,000 people in the region. But when it came to presenting
      >>concrete and tangible outcomes from the monetary donations that had
      >>poured into the region the last few months, there is, so far,
      >>little to show.
      >>
      >>The architects met as part of the 22nd World Congress of
      >>Architecture, held earlier this month as the peak triennial event
      >>of the International Union of Architects (UIA). The panel
      >>discussion on post-tsunami reconstruction in Asia was attended by
      >>Indonesian Architects Institute (IAI) President Budi Sukada,
      >>President of the Chamber of Architects of Turkey, Oktay Ekinci,
      >>Vice President of the UIA, Gaetan Siew and three dozen leaders and
      >>members of many other Asian architectural organizations.
      >>
      >>There was an awareness that bureaucracy and financial mismanagement
      >>had sidetracked reconstruction efforts. But soul-searching led the
      >>architects to ask how much they unwittingly contributed to the
      >>destruction of homes and buildings by not protesting lax building
      >>codes and designing unsuitable structures.
      >>
      >>Oktay Ekinci said an architect's role was not after a disaster, but
      >>before it struck.
      >>
      >>"Don't be sorry after an earthquake hits, but be hard-hearted now
      >>to enforce regulations and good design and building practices. If
      >>there is unwillingness on the part of the government, or states, to
      >>plan coastal areas well, we must ask: Why? What interest groups are
      >>involved?" he said.
      >>
      >>Balbir Verma from the Indian Institute of Architects, said the
      >>least that planners and designers could learn from the tsunami was
      >>that they should be strict in abiding by coastal-area zoning
      >>regulations and refrain from requesting for any relaxations.
      >>
      >>"In the absence of such regulations, we must insist on implementing
      >>them," he said.
      >>
      >>Budi, however, was wary of putting too much emphasis on
      >>regulations, particularly in Indonesia's case.
      >>
      >>In an interview with The Jakarta Post, he said so much in the
      >>country was "business" and "no morality".
      >>
      >>He said it was important for certain ideals to get through to the
      >>government -- such as the architectural community's commitment to
      >>environmental sustainability, responsible planning and respect for
      >>local culture -- and he had come to accept that
      >>less-than-idealistic means, which often included business-style
      >>negotiations and transactions, justified an honorable end.
      >>
      >>"We have to join the 'game'. Our aim, for example, may be to
      >>preserve (local architectural) culture, but in order to do that, we
      >>have to 'do business' - or we get nothing. We have young architects
      >>who are very optimistic, hard-working and excellent in terms of
      >>technical ability and creativity, but they don't have much
      >>experience in this kind of discourse. What I have to do is share
      >>some of this 'experience' with them, because they will have to deal
      >>with it one day; they must accept it. It's sad, but I must convince
      >>them that what I do has nothing to do with a change of attitude, it
      >>is just a strategy," he said.
      >>
      >>The architects gathered that afternoon voiced concern about the
      >>need to respect and preserve local cultural identity in the
      >>reconstruction of buildings, and more importantly, of homes.
      >>
      >>"Sustainability and preservation of cultural identity needs to be
      >>thought about in our interventions. Our guiding principals should
      >>be the question of why we are there, solidarity and transparency,"
      >>said UIA's Gaetan Siew.
      >>
      >>Budi said there were many examples in Aceh in which houses of
      >>various shapes and sizes - experimental projects or otherwise --
      >>were speedily built, without consulting the local people, only to
      >>be scorned, then abandoned, because they either "resembled chicken
      >>sheds", used material that was foreign to the locals, or simply
      >>because the Acehnese felt they could do a better job.
      >>
      >>Budi said the IAI was taking both a top-down and bottom-up approach
      >>to reconstruction in Aceh. The organization is at the initial stage
      >>of working with the central government to draw up building codes
      >>and to remake the master plan for the whole of Aceh; it has also
      >>been approached by foreign donors wanting to help rebuild homes. On
      >>the field, IAI's members are holding meetings and consultations
      >>with community groups on home building and design that can both
      >>satisfy local tastes and meet sound building requirements.
      >>
      >>By the end of this year, Budi hopes to have a two-story,
      >>40-square-meter "help clinic" in Banda Aceh which to provide
      >>technical assistance and support to locals who want to build their
      >>own houses. The upper floor of the building will serve as temporary
      >>living quarters for architects, both local and international, who
      >>would like to come for short periods of time, and the ground floor
      >>will contain help desks for meetings with local people.
      >>
      >>"We are very careful with top-down programs ... Our job is not only
      >>to control aid, so housing projects are not done outrageously, but
      >>to ensure that local people don't have to change culturally. The
      >>bottom-up approach is much better, but often takes longer. Either
      >>way, to some extent we must teach them about space, place and
      >>orientation, why bedrooms should preferably face east, and why it's
      >>better not to have houses too close to each other. In the end, they
      >>do understand and cooperate," he said.
      >>
      >>Budi said IAI followed strict requirements on assisting donors with
      >>home building projects. The organization, he said, insisted on
      >>controlling the number of houses; the building's location, which
      >>should be acceptable to the Acehnese; and the house design, which
      >>must suit local customs.
      >>
      >>"The bottom-up process is slow, but it's better than rushing out
      >>and building a product that can't be used by people," he said.
      >>
      >>Architecture was emphasized in the UIA Congress as being not only
      >>an art of building but a profession bridging technology and
      >>socio-economic needs through designs that used resources
      >>appropriately.
      >>
      >>The congress, attended by 6,000 architects from around the world,
      >>called for the well-being and protection of the planet and of the
      >>guiding principals of participation, partnership, economic and
      >>social equity, conservation of resources and the use of technology
      >>for the benefit of the environment and humanity.
      >>
      >>Budi Sukada said that in Indonesia, IAI has drawn up comprehensive
      >>guidelines on the protection of the archipelago's heritage, land
      >>and people. The organization has made several attempts at
      >>introducing the guidelines to various presidents -- starting from
      >>the time of BJ Habibie -- but has received no response from
      >>officials.
      >>
      >>"I detect a tendency to deliberately neglect the value of the
      >>environment, as governments seem to want to build as much as
      >>possible. If we manage, one day, to get a courtesy call with
      >>(President) SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono), we will mention again
      >>that our land and our culture are slowly being eroded intentionally
      >>by ourselves ... We must conserve our heritage -- not just the
      >>buildings, but the landscape and culture; we must not build on
      >>sites with heritage value, or on fertile land; we should build only
      >>on land that (otherwise would) give us nothing," he said.
      >
      >
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