Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An introduction.. and a little bit of history

Hello and welcome to BuildAid's online blog.. our very first web home and journal of our internship in Manila. We will be departing for the Philippines on May 21st, and will stay there for 8 weeks, working with existing NGO's to design and build housing in the slums. We hope that you will visit often over the next few weeks to see what we are up to, and get a glimpse of the Philippines as well.

But before we leave, it would be good to introduce to you some of the things we have been doing in the past year leading up to this internship.

A play, an auction of student paintings, a couple of parties - we have been extremely busy over the past few months raising money for the trip, and building public awareness for our group. We managed to make it onto some local newspapers and even a CBC morning radio show. But perhaps the biggest activity, aside from the trip itself, was the creation of the architectural seminar introducing us to reconstruction work.

Under the teachership of Cassidy Johnson and Gonzalo Lizzaralde, we learned about the techniques and infrastructures involved in post-disaster reconstruction, looked at various exisiting housing solutions, and finally went out and built our own housing proposal, designed for those affected by the earthquake in Pakistan of last fall.

After weeks of design work, we started construction in the last weekend of April. It took 4 days of intense activity to erect the building. Constructed almost entirely of reused materials, and costing less than 900 CAD, the shelter was designed to be easy to build, and require as little importation of foreign materials as possible, keeping in mind the compromised access routes in the area. Have a look at the shelter panels for more information.

Considering it managed to stay
up and intact for about a month, I'd say we did a good job.

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