Fwd: Fw: Architects and Tsunamis ... Indonesian / Asian perspective on role of Professionals??
>Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 07:40:30 -0400--
>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?!
>>----- Original Message -----
>>To: <mailto:daharri@...>daharri@... ;
>>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
>>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
>>"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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