NAMOC

Submitted by OBRA Architects

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Client: National Art Museum of China, Beijing, PR China

Location: bEIJING, China

Completion date: 2009

Project Team

Architect

Pablo Castro

OBRA Architects

Architect

Jennifer Lee

OBRA Architects

Overview

OBRA Architects was invited to acknowledge and mark the first-year anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake through participation in CROSSING: Dialogues for Emergency Architecture, an exhibition on emergency housing at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. Working from New York City, we took advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the victims of future catastrophe around the world by advancing disciplinary thinking about temporary emergency housing. The completed full-scale prototype was exhibited in the entry courtyard to the Museum from May 12 to May 24, 2009.

Goals

The value and need of effective emergency housing is self-evident. There are, of course, a number of different approaches to be considered and our intent is to utilize the opportunity of the architectural design process to test and explore possibilities which might best benefit victims. We feel architecture has something to contribute not only to their physical but also to their emotional and psychological well-being. Under the extreme conditions of a situation of emergency, architecture is rarely called upon to participate in the creation of temporary housing. This exhibit provides an opportunity to test how “high design” can contribute to apparently pre-eminently pragmatic concerns. Emergency housing from the point of view of design is only an extreme form of architecture. Its context is that of almost unsustainable conditions, and its object, the creation of an environment we can inhabit temporarily while living on the edge.

This prototype aspires to universal applicability. Its development contemplates a series of simple modifications that would make it a useful solution anywhere in the world: add insulation and a stove for cold climates; remove doors and windows for tropical climates; replace materials according with local availabilities, etc.

Process

Architecture on the Edge of Survival involves the development of an original prototype of emergency housing for future potential deployment in areas of natural or man-made disaster anywhere in the world. Emergency housing from the point of view of design is only an extreme form of architecture. Its context is that of almost unsustainable conditions, and its object, the creation of an environment we can inhabit temporarily while living on the edge.

Red Housing is proposed with the knowledge that, when living on the edge of survival, action needs to be decisive and precise. By definition, an emergency will arise suddenly and demand fast response, but the immediate actions we take can have long-term consequences.

Red Housing proposes an approach that tries to incorporate both the advantages of fast-response solutions, such as the deployment of military tents, with those of slower and more considered responses such as neighborhood reconstruction efforts involving local traditions and user construction.

The design has been developed as an in-progress embodiment of the following 10 Points of Architecture on the Edge of Survival.

Additional Information

OBRA Architects was invited to acknowledge and mark the first-year anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake through participation in CROSSING: Dialogues for Emergency Architecture, an exhibition on emergency housing at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. Working from New York City, we seek to take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the victims of future catastrophe around the world by advancing disciplinary thinking about temporary emergency housing. The completed full-scale prototype was exhibited in the entry courtyard to the Museum from May 12 to May 24, 2009.