Our story began in a simple, poor, and insignificant area on the fringes of Delhi. In the community there the local charity Anusaran has been working hard to provide for and nurture hundreds of children and young women for several years, on a shoestring budget. After staying there for 6 months to volunteer in the school that Anusaran had set up, David kept in close touch with the family who ran the charity, and some of the teachers and students he was working with. It was apparent they were bursting at the seams in a tiny school building, and the project was so valuable and vibrant- they could do so much more with just a little help.
David went off to study architecture, and a couple of years later organised along with 5 course mates to revisit the project in Delhi to see if they could help design something to make the school facilites a bit better. The project quickly evolved and grew into an entire new school and women’s shelter which would equip and enable the charity to reach out effectively into the community.
We have found as architecture students that the way we are taught is with constant emphasis on the experience of a space – the vast importance of that undefinable attribute which differentiates architecture from just building. In contrast, humanitarian architecture can often be purely utilitarian because of restrains on budgets, materials and labour in developing world countries. We think that with creativity both can be achieved, and this has already been proven by some great examples around the world. Our aim is to explore how creativity can transform the mundane and utilitarian into something incredible and beautiful, whether that is through architecture, art, or even just the ‘process’.
Starting with the humanitarian design project for Anusaran in India, our project has expanded to encompass engaging fellow students and beyond in humanitarian design issues- through design competitions, writing, art, exhibitions, workshops and lectures.