Architects For Humanity


Minutes from the London Chapter of AFH at Techniker offices on 31 January 2005


Megan Yates, UK Coordinator AFH Chris Medland, UK Coordinator AFH 29 number AFH Advocates (The meeting was lead by the two coordinators and attended by 29 others who will be referred to on an individual basis as required.) Absent: Cameron Sinclair will be referred to as CS.

Purpose of meeting

This is the 6th of the most recent sequence of meeting of AFH London and was called with the backdrop of rapid growth in numbers of AFH London advocates in wake of the Asian Tsunami Disaster.

The Background and role of Architecture for Humanity: The work to date of AFH’s Director, Cameron Sinclair (CS) and the wider picture of how the organisations remit fits into the wider NGO picture, including the roles of Red R? and Architects for Aid, was clarified.

London Team Organisation: a) CJM and MY introduced themselves and detailed how the roles they have today and how contact has been made with AFH and CS. b) It was noted that as the role of AFH London is set to grow with the increase in advocates volunteers to carry out specific functions would be required in the near future. MY and CJM are set to discuss and outline specific roles before the next meeting but anticipate that such positions as Student coordinator, Administrator and Press Contact will be required (see post meeting note). c) Advocates were asked to email CJM a short synopsis of there professional experience and to highlight any specific role they would like to take on. As well as any experience in the development work or NGO’s. d) It was noted that CS receives hundreds of e-mails and that advocates should generally contact the London advocates with day to day correspondence.

Current and past work of AFH London and project status: a) The progress of AFH London over the passed 8 months was recounted for the benefit of first time attendees. The current situation can be divided into 4 main areas and the scope of work involved in each of these projects was outlined: 1 – Project Re:Build (Sri Lanka, Indonesia): AFH London is to play a supporting role as required to AFH under the direction of CS. AFH advocates are currently engaged in producing visualisations of housing in Sri Lanka to aid the planning application. 2 – School Project (Liberia): AFH London has been in conversation with the Sean Devereux Children’s fund for several months regarding their forthcoming school building project in Liberia. Contacts in the area have carried out some site investigations but the scheme has been delayed due to renewed fighting in the area. A meeting with the SDCF is to be arranged in due course. 3 – Crisis Open Christmas 2005 (London): Following the work carried out for Christmas 2004 is has become clear that AFH London is in a position to help Crisis once again, and to a greater extent, in 2005 with their open Christmas Project. This will involve the production of way finding plans, volunteering for basic building work and providing possible contact with clients that may have suitable vacant buildings. A meeting is expected with Crisis in September. 4 – Ongoing research into existing London based NGO’s: Efforts to develop contacts and secure a specific remit for AFH London are underway. Contacts are to be developed further with Red R? and Architects without Borders so that we may aid these organisations as appropriate. Further research into and development of contacts with related existing organisations is planned.

Programme and deliverables for development of AFH London: a) In the immediate term AFH London advocates are encouraged to aid the Project Re:Build by being prepared to utilise the design and graphic presentation skills base (as is currently happening with the production of 3D visualisations) and by supporting the fundraising effort. With a typical family house in Sri Lanka costing as little as £1200 to construct UK Architects and Practices could contribute significantly to the project. There are 3 ways to donate to project Re:Build; either by Paypal or Network for good via the Architecture For Humanity website or by sending a check to:

        Architecture for Humanity
 	23 1/2 North Tracy Avenue
 	Bozeman, Montana, 
 	59715-3556, USA.

Those who donate are being asked to please note AFH London on correspondence. b) AFH London is to develop a web page linked from the main AFH site (see above link). CS will set up the site in due course and a volunteer with web design knowledge is being sought for the pages design and upkeep. c) CS is in the process of gaining registered charitable (not for profit) organisation status for AFH in the UK. The Charity is only currently registered in the United States. d) AFH London is seeking locations in which to hold forthcoming meetings. Donations of a conference room with a capacity of 30+ people would be gratefully accepted. e) CJM and MY met with a representative of the RIBA in January regarding the gaining of the RIBA’s endorsement of AFH. The meeting was a success and further links are to be developed with the organisation f) AFH London working with the RIBA and members of the press in order to increase the level of industry awareness of AFH London and in particular Project Re:Build to aid both fundraising efforts and the longer term development of a skills resource and remit of AFH London

Any Other Business: a) A college of the AFH representative in Sri Lanka, Prasad Botejue, was represented at the meeting by his wife and AFH advocate Rashika Botejue. Rashika explained the difficulties architects and engineers in the area were having in tapping existing research information on designing for areas liable to tsunami due to unreliable infrastructure and power supply. It was apparent from the description that internet connections were failing and library data was scarce. Rashika is to send a list of the information required to CJM who will, with the aid of others, gather the information and coordinate its delivery in hardcopy form to the Architects in Sri Lanka. b) It was also noted that a more substantial information flow could be set up in the longer term by connecting the Sri Lankan Institute of Architects with the RIBA Library services. The existing facilities and connections are to be investigated by Rashika Botejue before any approach to the RIBA is made.

Next meeting: Thursday March 17, 7pm. Location to be confirmed. Donations of a conference room with a capacity of 30+ people would be gratefully accepted.

Distribution: All in attendance, interested parties and Cameron Sinclair.

Post Meeting Notes: 1) Following a short news article in the Architect Journal and a brief piece in Building Design, CJM and MY have been interviewed regarding AFH London by Ed Dorrel of the AJ for a future profile raising piece in the AJ. 2) Ben Addy and Joseph Bloor have completed the visualisation excersise requested by CS. A planning meeting with the Sri Lankan authorities has taken place and feedback was very positive. 3) MY and CJM have arranged to meet with the Sean Devereux Children’s Fund to discuss the Liberia project and await confirmation of the date, progress will be reported at the next meeting. 4) Subsequent to the meeting with Ed Dorrel the AJ reporter has volunteered to help AFH London with future press releases etc.