Informal Housing Units, the Built Environment and Public Health
Malaria is one of the worst diseases in the world. The human affliction and economic expenses to prevent and treat it are huge. According to The World Malaria Report 2012 published by the World Health Organization, there were 219 million cases of malaria and 660,000 deaths in 2010. In 2011, almost half of the population of the world was at risk of contracting the disease and 90% of deaths occurred in the African Region, where children and pregnant women are the most affected. Strategies to control the disease are twofold: prevention and case management, and the built environment plays a major role in the first one - specifically in areas prone to massive mosquito reproduction. Architecture Professor Luis Quiros' article explores the spatial and holistic solutions proposed by a multidisciplinary design team for 24 informal housing units in the community of Minkoameyos in Yaounde, Cameroon. The design proposal makes use of passive, low-tech and waste-based technologies found around the world as it assembles an inventory of options that could be implemented with little investment by the community itself.
RECENT STUDENT WORK:
University of Maryland Win at Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011
Read further details about UMD's winning competition entry, titled WaterShed: http://2011.solarteam.org/news/university-of-maryland-wins-department-of-energy-2011-solar-decathlon
Tropical Studio - No Artificial Ingredients
Today, the practice of architecture is a very complex process. From sustainable, to contextual, to theoretical concerns, the role of the architect involves a wide variety of situations. Design is no longer a specific endeavor, but a holistic approach to critical thinking and problem solving. Style is no longer the theme - energy performance, digital realities and a globalized information society have become intrinsic agendas in architectural practice. In this sense, the architect is no longer the artist that intuitively proposed a building design, but the collaborative-practice director of flows of knowledge, social needs, new technologies and inventions. Architects then need to learn not the what, but the how - it is no longer just about the formal output of design, but it is about learning how to assemble and perform a critical design and thinking process. The following are examples of work by graduate students Justin Obringer and Paul Bilger