Technological Innovation to Design

School built for AIDS orphan children in Africa, which was made possible by Architecture for Humanity.

This week’s provocation question examines whether technological innovation and advancement benefits solely developed nations or developing nations.  Thinking of this brought me to wonder if design has the same effect: does it advantage the wealthy nations or does design also help the poor and undeveloped places?

As we know it today, hiring a designer or purchasing something that is “designer brand” gets to be expensive quickly. So if design is expensive, how can anyone, but the wealthy afford good design? If only the wealthy can afford good design, who is to say that they are the ones to deserve good design?

The people that need good design most are those who are not able to afford a large initial investment relative to alternative prices that may not be “designer.”  These are the people who are not able to afford buying replacement products every few months, or purchasing a new home every few years. These are the people to whom good design should be much more accessible.

Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design firm that focuses on good design that relates to architecture for people and places in need. They serve the underprivileged around the world, including disaster-stricken parts of the United States.

The image shown is an school for orphaned children in Africa. Here is the description taken from the Architecture for Humanity website:

The Kutamba Primary School is a community-based organization for the elementary education of children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Rukungiri district of Southern Uganda. In collaboration with Architecture for Humanity and the Nyaka AIDS Orphans School, Kutamba’s parent organization and sister facility 48 miles away, the project will include the design and construction of a school facility including classrooms, offices, kitchen/dining, library, infirmary/nurse’s space, and play space. The design will take advantage of renewable energy systems, local materials and building methods, and context-sensitive systems solutions. The construction will take place on-site as a means to educate the community on the building and maintenance processes.

Kutamba is an expansion of the existing Nyaka Primary School, which was established in 2001 to provide free education to AIDS orphans as a means to counteract pervasive hunger, poverty, and systemic deprivation.

In collaboration with Architecture for Humanity and the Nyaka AIDS Orphans School, Kutamba’s parent organization and sister facility 48 miles away, the project will include the design and construction of a school facility including classrooms, offices, kitchen/dining, library, infirIn cmary/nurse’s space, and play space. The design will take advantage of renewable energy systems, local materials and building methods, and context-sensitive systems solutions. The construction will take place on-site as a means to educate the community on the building and maintenance processes.

http://architectureforhumanity.org/node/574

Advertisements

One comment

  1. smit5912

    I think that you bring up a very great point. Many people pay hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for a designer purse solely for the name that it advertises. It tells the world, or those who care, “look at me, I’m glamorous and expensive.” People who have money to blow on scarves, handbags, and watches, are not who designers should be worried about designing for. In your post above you asked, “who’s to say that they are the ones to get good design?” The designers who have focused on this class of people believe that they are, but how do we change this?
    I agree with your statement that good design must be made more accessible to people. In order to do this three critical questions must be answered. What is being designed by these designers? Is what they are designing helpful with these people’s everyday life and activities? And do these designs prolong a person’s life, or cut down their chance of being ill with something that is commonly cured in the Western world?
    Let’s say that the subject of these questions is a small village in a severely underdeveloped country. What this society needs designed for them is a way to safely and efficiently get clean water. They need a light source at night so children can do homework and because everyone in America has had lights in their home for over half a century. What they need is access to basic healthcare that we in the States take advantage of everyday. They need basic telecommunication systems to communicate with neighboring villages and the outside world in case of an emergency.
    Fancy designer vases and chairs will not help, but with a designer’s creative mind maybe they can make something that will positively impact the life of others. The school in Kutamba is an example of people coming together to find ways to make good design possible in a place lacking it. This facility is a place for the people to gain knowledge in how to make their life better and a way to make their country more successful and developed.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: