Current Domestic Reconstruction and Resiliency Studio Programs


Paving a Path toward Local Disaster Response and Resiliency
June 20, 2013, AIA Convention 2013

This seminar will illustrate the importance of the architecture profession in disaster planning using the experiences of three architects who are leading disaster resiliency efforts in their communities to create a lasting positive impact. The presentation will begin by highlighting the AIA's and Architecture for Humanity's Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Program; a partnership program initiated in 2012 by the organizations' leaders that recognizes and encourages architects to get involved in preparing for and responding to a natural or humanitarian disaster. The partnership is part of an expanded commitment to disaster assistance on the part of the AIA and leverages the strengths of each organization to prepare architects to respond in an effective and timely manner at any stage of an emergency, be it for mitigation, preparation, response, or recovery.

The creation of the AIA-AFH Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Program is meant to position the architect as a civic leader in our local communities by educating design professionals and fostering relationships with government agencies at multiple levels, as well as with allied professional organizations and trades, so that the general public better understands the specific value that architects bring to disaster recovery and reconstruction. Architects can build upon existing disaster programs, organize local training sessions, and endorse resiliency as part of the local, state, and national code.

Architects must work with their communities to understand the complex issues that surround the topic of disaster: What disasters affect each state or city? Does the state or city's emergency plan call on trained volunteer architects to provide assistance? How can the AIA components and AFH chapters provide the leadership, resources, and knowledge needed to solidify the architect's role in disaster events?

The AIA and Architecture for Humanity developed the Disaster Response Plan Grant to motivate AIA component and AFH chapter members to get involved in disaster response in their communities. The Grant is an opportunity for architects and designers to create awareness and garner support for their roles after disaster. The Disaster Plan Grant Program will foster collaboration between the two architecture organizations, advocate for architects with disaster planning skills and knowledge, engage local emergency managers, and build a strong network of architects that will address disaster needs. The grants were awarded to the top five teams of architects based on their proposals' ability to provide long-term impact on disaster response planning in their communities.

The seminar will provide a platform for grant-winning teams to share their experiences navigating the realm of disaster preparedness, recovery, and response. Each team is proposing unique solutions specific to the needs of their communities. In Washington, for example, the new Intrastate Mutual Aid law will allow for architects to provide support across county and state lines, allowing for more effective disaster response. The Washington team will advocate, educate, and train design professionals in order to help implement the new law. The team from Illinois will develop an industry-specific comprehensive statewide disaster response plan in an exercise environment alongside emergency management officials. In addition, it will develop a post-workshop toolkit for the education of the architect's role in emergency management in Illinois that will serve as a resource for other components. In New York, the team will work with the NYC Office of Emergency Management to develop a disaster response network and offer periodic trainings in the post-disaster Safety Assessment Program (SAP).

The AIA and Architecture for Humanity's partnership advocates for the architecture profession by educating a new generation of architects who will weave a strong network of multidisciplinary professionals engaged in emergency management and disaster recovery. This seminar offers the opportunity to learn from the AIA and AFH members who are paving a new and important path for architects worldwide.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Activate a local architecture community to coordinate disaster preparedness efforts and achieve a more resilient future.
  2. Recognize the large need for architects to act as leaders in their communities to implement an architect-driven disaster response plan.
  3. Develop a city or state disaster response plan, using the solution guidelines presented.
  4. Identify and collaborate with key groups and government officials needed to successfully implement long-term change in disaster planning.

Provider: Architecture for Humanity and American Institute of Architects

David L. Bradley, AIA, LEED AP
President-Elect, AIA Illinois, Chicago, IL

Audrey Galo, Assoc. AIA
Program Coordinator, Reconstruction & Resilience, Architecture for Humanity, San Francisco, CA

Katherine Malishewsky
Project Coordinator, Architecture for Humanity

Rachel M. Minnery, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB
Architect and Grants Manager, Environmental Works, Seattle, WA