DESIGN AS IF COMMUNITY MATTERS: THE GULF COAST COMMUNITY DESIGN STUDIO APPROACH TO COMMUNITY REBUILDING
MetadataShow full item record
This paper seeks to challenge the widespread notion that “Humanitarian Architecture” can be a simple act of good will. effective humanitarian work requires constant critique and self-reﬂection, backed up by values which are focused on benefiting the community being served before all other goals, in order to deliver work which is sophisticated, nuanced, and appropriate to the situation. The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio (GCCDS) is a nonprofit architecture and planning ﬁrm set up in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to support the rebuilding of East Biloxi, Mississippi and other Gulf Coast communities. Interviews with staff members reveal a complex, critical, and analytical response to the act of humanitarian architecture and design. Their approach is informed by careful reﬂection on the experience they have gained working in response to the disaster in the years following Katrina’s near total devastation of East Biloxi. This paper begins by looking at some of the historical background leading up to the storm and the formation of the GCCDS. It then reviews the theoretical background of Community Design Centers including some of the Studio staff member’s reﬂections on other organizations with similar goals, such as Architecture For Humanity, and the Rural Studio. It concludes with a discussion of the Studio’s conceptual methodology and a look at where the work is heading as the needs of the community change towards long-term development. In the end, the viewpoints of the practitioners of the GCCDS become reﬂections on the larger ﬁelds of humanitarian design and charitable work in general, and suggest a shift in the values and approach taken to this work might be necessary.
David Perkes; Gulf Coast Community Design Studio (GCCDS); Katrina; Rural Studio; Architecture For Humanity; Biloxi Mississippi
This version is formatted to Cornell Grad School thesis standards. Another version, under a Creative Commons license and formatted to LaTeX standards, is available from the author.
paper or project