AFA Talks: Community Welfare Through Architecture Vol. 1

Post report: February 19,2017

Text/Photos: Anju Maharjan

Graphics: AFA

AFA Talks is an interactive session held every Friday by A For Architecture at Chakupat, Lalitpur as informal information interchange between the members through videos, presentation and discussions.
AFA Talks: Community Welfare Through Architecture was the first session open to Architects and non-architects as an initiation of sharing ideas over bigger mass discussing issues and probable solutions, directed on Sunday (19th Feb., 2017) instead of usual Friday.

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The event embraced the works completed by Emergency Architects Foundation all over the world specifically in Nepal and discussion on issues and impacts of these projects

Roula Hoyek, a Lebanese architect, one of the emergency architects assigned for Nepal, presented the objective and process applied during the rebuilding. She began the presentation introducing Emergency Architects Foundation (EA) (a French NGO that intervenes in post catastrophic periods in order to help the community to rebuild). Emergency Architects has already worked for 14 years in more than 25 countries worldwide, including Afghanistan, Haiti, Colombia, Chad, Peru, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippine. EA is currently working in Nepal, Haiti and Philippines. Its missions are to focus mainly on the assessments of building damages, the survey and the emergency reconstruction.

Emergency Architects arrived just after the first earthquake and began their work assessing a large amount of these buildings.

She drew our attention to the various districts; Kavre, Nuwakot, Rasuwa that she has been enrolled with. She continued with the difficulties faced by the team during the initial phase of the project.

Some difficulties are as follows

  • Communication and language issue
  • Different cultural background
  • Rules and norms
  • Trust issues

The solution Approaches are

  • Building Possible communications
  • Integrate people
  • Provide necessary presentation to the local people
  • Avoid Promises

Then, Hoyek familiarized us with the process included in the post catastrophe rebuilding.

  1. Assessment– Interventions. It take note of the typology of the existing buildings, issues, needs, construction style and availability of materials.
  2. Training Local People and construction– This includes training architects and engaged workers the improved technical details of construction side by side with the actual construction work.Laura carried on explaining the improvised construction details like seismic bands, horizontal and vertical stiffeners, standard sizes of rebar and process of construction of an earthquake resistant building.

She emphasised that the work of Emergency Architects Foundation focuses on the sustainable constructive design implementation with the strong desire to respect the traditional construction’s typology, specific to each area, using the local materials combined with technical construction improvements (reinforced concrete columns and beams to maintain the house structure up, mechanical connection between walls and wooden slab or roof, the provision of horizontal bands, vertical and corner reinforcements, T-junctions to bind the house as a frame structure), following the strict rules of the earthquake-resistant standards.

Hoyek concluded her words with the success of the completed projects which are Nava Prativa School at Dhulikhel and Model houses at Nuwakot and Rasuwa. EA is still working on 6 schools in Ramechap which is to be completed in June 2017 with the support of Welthungerhilfe (WHH) and ACF International Nepal.

The talk session was followed by interaction section where audience (Ar. Prajal Pradhan, Prakash Amatya, Niraz Pradhan, Sainaz Bajracharya) got chance to put their questions to the speaker. Hoyek responded to the queries and confusions of the audience and fellow architects related to the local materials, vernacular architecture and RCC structures and other issues.

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