Innovations That Matter

The bushfires have reached a critical scale around the east coast of Australia over the last week | Photo source skeeze from Pixabay

Free design services offered by architects during Australian bushfires

Architecture & Design

Architects Assist has formed to offer free design and planning services to those affected by Australia's bushfire crisis

Spotted: Architects Assist, formed of more than 100 Australian architecture studios, is offering pro-bono design and planning services to people affected by Australia‘s bushfire crisis, which has been burning since September 2019. 

The fires have reached a critical scale over the last week, with whole towns evacuated, human and animal death tolls rising and reported firestorms. In response, Jiri Lev, founder of Australian studio Atelier Jiri Lev, has co-ordinated the group, claiming that individual action is no longer the best way for people to help and calling for architects to band together.

The group is offering design and planning assistance to individuals, businesses and communities, connecting them to the “most suitable” architecture or design studio available, as he explained to Dezeen.com, to help them rebuild what they have lost. According to Lev, architecture firms can be short on resources, and some areas of the country might be more saturated than others and therefore “a joint referral and coordination platform appears to be the natural outcome.” 

Close to 300 studios have joined the group, despite it being founded less than a week ago, including multiple Australian Institute of Architects‘ Gold Medal-winning architects and more than 500 students and young architecture graduates. As the fires continue to burn and the extent of people who will need architectural assistance remains unclear, it is critical that the more help there is, the better. 

Lev anticipates that as the fires continue to burn, survivors will focus on their health and recovery, and immediate demand for architectural assistance will be low. He, therefore, aims to have the initiative operate beyond the bushfires and into the future indefinitely.

The replacement structure designed by the architects will be “owner-builder friendly”, proofed against further natural disasters and made of sustainable materials, and Lev hopes that the initiative will provide support to Australian citizens in future disasters and inspire other grass-root initiatives across the world. He has set up the Architects Assist: Global Directory, which records a list of other countries which provide free assistance coordination and referral services.

If you wish to donate funds to help emergency services and provide aid to those affected by the wildfires, you can find the Red Cross fundraiser here: https://fundraise.redcross.org.au/drr

Website: architectsassist.com.au

Contact: architectsassist.com.au/contact

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