Good Design Award for Australian team helping to rebuild Nepal

Good Design Award for Australian team helping to rebuild Nepal

On Thursday, May 17, 2018, the Annual Good Design Awards ceremony was held at the Sydney Opera House recognising the highest achievements of outstanding design.

Three awards were given to an Australian team comprised of engineers Taylor Thomson Whitting (TTW), architects; Ken McBryde (SAS), David Francis, and Davenport-Campbell – who donated their expertise pro-bono. They were commissioned by the Australian Himalayan Foundation (AHF) to develop a lightweight, earthquake-resistant classroom design after the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, which destroyed over 200 schools supported by AHF. This was named The Nepal Rebuild Program. To date, 20 classrooms across 5 schools have been successfully rebuilt with this design, providing children and teachers with a safe learning environment into the future, including one of the few schools for special-needs children, Garma Secondary School, which opened in 2017.

Awards won; Good Design Award® Gold Winner Engineering, Good Design Award® Gold Winner Architectural and Good Design Award® Winner Social Impact. “This is a truly inspiring initiative from a social perspective. This is sustainability with a high level of design impact, it exemplifies the idea that great design should not only be for a community, but be done by and with that community. This is a straightforward and economical solution; a total concept that works within the local constraints and capability to provide an outcome that is both architecturally sensitive and appealing. Congratulations on this innovative and inspirational design approach.” Good Design Awards Jury.

Particularly impressed by the architectural design team’s ability to deliver hard infrastructure utilising traditional indigenous skills of the local community, the judges commended, “the creative thinking around modular earthquake-resistant design with lightweight components that are easily transportable on foot to remote mountainous regions. This project sets a benchmark for new ways of delivering buildings while having the highest values of environmental sustainability and safety.”

The central point of local villages are the schools, which can now provide emergency shelter in future earthquake events. Overall, this design provides physical and emotional security for children traumatized during the earthquakes, including the creation of local apprenticeship programs and the transfer of new skills, only strengthening the growth and independence of these communities.

This has been the most challenging, yet satisfying project I’ve worked on. Rebuilding schools in a remote part of Nepal with a highly skilled design team was a massive effort. Partnering with local schools and communities, and seeing the positive benefits instantly impact their daily lives is a true blessing for all involved.’’ Tshering Lama O’Gorman, AHF Head of Programs.

I am proud of the collaborative work that made this project a success – all with a common focus and a desire to combine our strengths and produce an innovative and sustainable solution for a community in crisis.” TTW’s Director, David Carolan.

The opportunity to assist with such critically important projects like the rebuilding of these schools for AHF in Nepal is something we architects are obliged to do where we can. To collaboratively apply the benefit of our collective design skills to make such big differences, for so many people in such desperate need, is very rewarding.” Ken McBryde, Sydney Architecture Studio.

A privilege to be part of such a great team effort, AHF, consultants and REED Nepal, and an honour to help Nepalese villagers recover and rebuild. Such joining of forces, skills and experience brings us closer to the true meanings of life and architecture.’’ David Francis Architect, Melbourne.

Working with the school teachers, principal and local parents has been an inspiring process. Whilst we have been teaching the school about some of the latest ideas in education design, we have learnt far more from them about resilience and the value of community.” Davenport-Campbell architects Neill Johanson & Tom Singleton.

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