Designing Resilient Schools

On November 9, 2013 the devastating typhoon Haiyan hit the Phillipines, causing more than 5,000 deaths and destroying the homes and cities for millions. Natural disasters are happening more and more often due to climate change. We can’t do much to stop them, but as architects we can help with the recovery and to build shelters that would withstand them.

The goal of this online course is to generate design ideas for resilient schools for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and other natural disasters. The participants in this course will design schools, which could be implemented by the Department of Education and Architecture for Humanity in the Philippines. We will engage with a team of architects, planners, engineers, and social workers. After the course, the projects and instructions will be placed on the open source platform Open Online Architecture (OOArch.org), so anyone can download and use them.

An international jury will select the best projects, which will eventually be built. We’ll have weekly lectures and daily discussions on our forum. A team of professors, consultants, and teaching assistants led by Prof. Ivan Shumkov will guide and assist all students in their work.

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Previous experience in design is recommended, but there will be opportunities for others to participate. The course work will be collaboration between people from many different backgrounds: design, engineering, economics, healthcare, social studies. They will share and exchange their knowledge, skills and energy to design solutions that are resilient, feasible, sustainable, buildable, etc.


Week 1, January 14: Architecture and Climate change Week 2, January 21: Resilient schools design begins Week 3, January 28 : Resilient schools design feedback Week 4, February 7: Teamwork and schools final design Week 5, February 12: Projects final submission

Students will learn about resilient architeture and how it can be used in communities in need. They will improve their design and collaboration skills. During the second week of the course, each student will design individual proposals and post them on the forum. All students will be publish their design proposals and ask others for feedback and help on their projects. They will form collaboration teams, which will work together on developing integral projects that include aspects of architectural design, engineering, social space, community development, economical feasibility, sustainability and resilience.

The involvement in the course is flexible. For architects, this is meant to be an intensive design studio course, so participants are expected to dedicate 10-20 hours a week. For others, who act as advisors and collaborators, it could take 2-5 hours of work weekly.

The course will be organized similar to a competition for design ideas, but will encourage collaborations and teamwork. We will use peer-to-peer review as a way to exchange feedback. We will also have a course forum and team groups on Google+ where students will exchange and discuss design ideas. During the course, the projects will be developed to the phase of schematic design. At the end of the course, the 5-10 best proposals will be selected and further developed with the guidance of the course professor, consultants, and the local authorities. Some of the proposals will eventually be build if funding and local support are secured.

Additional information

Consultants and Advisors Nestor Arabejos, Ecotektonika, Manila Bea Camacho, Harvard GSD, Philippines Xavier Vilalta, XVA Arquitectura, Barcelona

Final Jury Kenneth Frampton, Columbia University, New York Giancarlo Mazzanti, El Equipo de Mazzanti, Bogota Illac Angelo Diaz, Architecture for Humanity, Manila Ivan Shumkov, Open Online Academy, New York

Certification After completing the course assignments, students will receive certificates of participation according to their role and degree of involvement: architect, designer, project manager, engineer, consultant, advisor, economist, communications, etc.

Teacher qualifications

Dr. Ivan Shumkov is a New York based architect, professor, curator, leader in online design education, and the founder of Open Online Academy. He has taught architecture, design, history and theory at Harvard University GSD, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Parsons the new School for Design, International University of Catalonia, and ETSA Barcelona. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard Alumni Association and President of Harvard Architectural and Urban Society Alumni. He graduated with masters degrees from ETSA Barcelona, University of Florence, and Harvard University GSD, as a Fulbright scholar. He completed his PhD in Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Columbia University GSAPP, as fellow of the Fondation Le Corbusier. Dr. Shumkov is a licensed architect in Spain and Italy and principal of ISA - Ivan Shumkov Architects, a company working in the fields of architecture, urbanism, landscape and design with offices in New York and Barcelona. He has worked, lectured and exhibited his projects and research in Europe, Brazil, Colombia, China, and the USA. www.ivanshumkov.com

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