emergency architects – architectes de l’urgence

(also in french / en français)

Since 2001, architects, engineers and town planners have used their professional expertise to bring appropriate and lasting help to all the victims of natural, technological and human catastrophes, without distinction of their nationality, sex or religion. The objectives of Emergency Architects:

  • To bring support which is adapted to each stage of a crisis; from damage evaluation (making buildings safe) to  the first emergency assistance;
  • To guarantee the respect of human dignity and to conserve the architectural, cultural and historic heritage of the world ;
  • To use the financial support we are given in a professional manner, so as to carry out quality re-building and training programmes.

… (about /presentation).

Sitemap; Fields of action; Teaching in Architectural Schools; in an emergency; Join us;
Ongoing missions: Afghanistan; Indonesia-Siqli, /-Java; … etc.; Links; Press review (only in french);
Addresses (in many countries), here: Architectes de l’urgence /Emergency Architects, a/s Ordre des Architectes du Québec, 1,825 Bd René Levesque Ouest, Montréal (Québec) H3H 1R4, Canada;
Contacts (in many countries).

About /historical background: Emergency Architects were created in April, 2001 during the floods of the Somme. A group of architects of this department decides then to try to bring a help to the stricken populations: 

“We were Somme-based architects assigned several tasks by the regional board of the Association of Architects (Ordre des Architects), but as much affected by the floods as everyone else in the region:

  • We were without transport;
  • Work at our building sites had stopped;
  • Our clients were absent and meetings were cancelled;
  • Many of us were laid off!

Fortunately, there was a real groundswell of solidarity with the affected population, organised and coordinated at first by an emergency committee assembled by the prefecture, then another at the Amiens city hall, then yet another at the Abbeville city hall, until there were as many emergency committees as there were sub-prefectures and stricken small villages!

Humanitarian aid organisations also made themselves available to the area’s victims, in particular use of their administrative structures to process the donations and many displays of charity. Major national players were present, like the Red Cross and Secours Populaire, as well as all the local, ad hoc associations of displaced people.

Each of us, as individuals, could have joined forces with these associations, but the questions we all asked ourselves were:

  • 1.    How can we be more effective in architectural matters?
  • 2.    How can we turn our professional skills to the advantage of the displaced?
  • 3.    What services can we provide?
  • 4.    How can we organise ourselves?

When we set up the Emergency Architects Association, we did not first conduct theoretical research into the architect’s role in society. Only a year after the long floods of the Somme and the Oise did the theme for our first general assembly slowly become apparent: another way of being an architect … (full long text).

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