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By : Madeleine Jane Swete Kelly, Glenda Amayo Caldwell

This paper investigates the role of the architect in post-disaster reconstruction and questions their ability to facilitate permanent building solutions. There is an ever-increasing population of refugees and internally displaced persons due to disasters and conflicts who have a basic need for shelter. To date, housing solutions for such people has tended to focus on short-term, temporary shelter solutions that have been largely unsuccessful. This increasing demand for shelter has led to an emerging group of architects skilled in post-disaster reconstruction. These architects acknowledge that shelter is critical to survival, but believe architects should focus on rebuilding in a manner that is quick, durable but permanent. They believe that an architect skilled in post-disaster reconstruction can produce solutions that meet the requirement of the emergency phase, through to semi-permanent and even permanent homes, without wasting time and money on interim shelters. Case Study Research was used to examine and evaluate the assistance provided by Emergency Architects Australia (EAA) to the Kei Gold community in the Solomon Islands after the 2007 earthquake and tsunami. The results indicate that an architect’s response to a disaster must go beyond providing temporary shelter; they must create permanent building solutions that respond to the site and the culture while servicing the needs of the community. The vernacular reconstruction methods implemented by EAA in Kei Gold Village have been successful in developing permanent housing solutions. Further research and development is required to gain a broader understanding of the role of the architect in disasters of varying scales and typologies.
Keywords: Disaster Reconstruction, Emergency Architects Australia, Solomon Islands, Urgenist Architects.

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