Category Archives: Interviews

Building Dignity in War-Torn Sudan: Part 3

This is the third of a four-part installment of my article on Studio TAMassociati and their Pediatric Center in Port Sudan for the new PUBLIC Journal, the first publication dedicated solely to public interest design and architecture. Read the first part on the studio here and the second part on the design of the building here.

In this post, we look at the low-cost, low-maintenance mechanical and plumbing systems designed to maximize the efficiency of the building in the harsh desert climate. 

DESIGNING FOR EFFICIENCY & LONGEVITY

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Because the site is in an arid climate zone where temperatures often exceed 120°F, the grassy play areas and garden surrounding the hospital are understandably out of the ordinary and require constant irrigation. The architects worked with engineers from Climosfera to devise a wastewater treatment system to irrigate the greenery surrounding the site. “That is the only green in all of Sudan because of the filtration system with wastewater,” said Pantaleo. “This has become a central part of the [greater city] area where people can meet and also because at night it’s the only place where people can get light.”Continue Reading

Building Dignity in War-Torn Sudan: Part 2

This is the second of a four-part installment of my article on Studio TAMassociati and their Pediatric Center in Port Sudan for the new PUBLIC Journal, the first publication dedicated solely to public interest design and architecture. Read the first part on the studio here.

In this post, we discover how the history, culture, and architecture of the evoloving Port Sudan inspired the design of the new Pediatric Center for Emergency. Plus a partnership with an artist brings a unique perspective to the project. 

A PLACE FOR HEALING IN A BUSTLING PORT CITY

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tamassociati’s most recently completed healthcare facility continues to fulfill Emergency’s “outrageously beautiful” design mandate. Adopting typical Arab building principles and forms observed throughout Sudan, the gleaming white Pediatric Center, which provides free healthcare to children under 14 years of age, wraps around a central garden, providing a place of peace and rest to a rapidly emerging refugee neighborhood in Port Sudan.Continue Reading

Building Dignity in War-Torn Sudan: Part 1

This is the first of a four-part installment of my article on Studio TAMassociati and their Pediatric Center in Port Sudan for the new PUBLIC Journal, the first publication dedicated solely to public interest design and architecture. Available in both print and digital formats, it’s a must-have for anyone looking for in-depth articles on people and projects who are leading this movement (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote one of the articles ;)–I mean it!)

It was an absolute delight to interview the firm’s partner Raul Pantaleo, who’s humility, design ethos, and commitment to third sector clients is an example that all social impact, humanitarian, and public interest designers can learn from. Their story brings to light the raw humanity that exists in this field and the reason why I constantly surround myself with these types of designers.

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Picture this scenario—you and your closest relatives have just moved to a foreign area in your country. The promise of work, and the desperate search to find it, has lead you here in order to feed the people you care about most.  With metal scraps, tree branches, and other materials that you scavenged from the roadside, you made a hut to provide shelter from the harsh environment—heat, wind, disease, maybe even some neighbors.  As you walk to fill jugs from a distant well, clouds of dust make your eyes water and your throat scratchy, leaving a reddish coat on your clothes and skin. Inside some huts you pass, people lay on reed mats, alone and recovering from some sickness. Children weave in and out amongst neighboring shelters, kicking a soccer ball, coughing, hungry.

For some, this is the reality of living in Sudan.Continue Reading

Compassion, Humility, and Commitment to Place: Interview with AzuKo’s Jo Ashbridge

The breathtaking video above opened my eyes (and flooded them with tears) to an architect who encompassed the humility, connection, passion, and a grounded sensibility for humanitarian architecture and construction.

Jo Ashbridge–now Director at the new public interest design charity AzuKo–shared the history, research, design, and construction of an earthen home project she had worked on in Bangladesh during a talk at the RIBA (here is the visually rich and informative report about the project.) But it was this video that illuminated the raw emotion and deep understanding of place that drives her commitment and passion for the work.Continue Reading

Understated Change: We Are What We Do’s Design for the Masses

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At an event I attended recently about new initiatives and practices increasing citizen engagement, one comment made by the panelists has stuck in my brain: work within the system.

This particular designer spoke about how their architecture firm works within the existing planning and building system to do their work, which is nothing new to most firms. They don’t approach solely from one side–working with only the ‘grassroots’ organizations or only the ‘top’ level–but rather leverage both to bring all parties to a middle ground and produce a viable project.

We Are What We Do is a creative firm doing just this. Continue Reading