Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Marie J. Aquilino: “Beyond Shelter: A Call to Action.”

The book cover: “Beyond Shelter: Architecture and Human Dignity” that was edited by Marie J. Aquilino. On the right: Professor Aquilino is pictured with collaborator Professor Sergio Palleroni (Portland State University’s Department of Architecture). Photograph is courtesy of Portland State University. 

In Sunday’s worship service, during the Litany of Confession the minister spoke these words: [God, forgive us] “From being satisfied with things as they are, in the church or in the world; from failing to share your indignation about injustice.” 

I was reminded of this on Wednesday evening (2.22.12) when the Graham Foundation featured Marie Aquilino who came to discuss her book, Beyond Shelter. University of Illinois Chicago, School of Architecture Professor Roberta Feldman introduced Professor Aquilino to a full-house audience. Feldman was representing The National Public Housing Museum.

Aquilino is motivated by a humanitarian intensity and her talk, like her book, was a compendium of ways designers can not only express indignation in the face of injustice but also take responsibility together to promote justice in the world, especially in places affected by disaster or extreme poverty. 

Here’s a brief biography about Aquilino, from her book:
Marie Aquilino is a professor of architectural history at the École Spéciale de l’Architecture in Paris and a specialist in contemporary urban redevelopment. At the ESA she is creating a program to train architecture students to work in contexts of extreme need and crisis in the developing world. In addition, she serves as associate program director of BaSiC [Building Sustainable Communities] Initiative; is collaborating with the International Federation of the Red Cross to set up a working group on the reconstruction of Haiti.
Repurposing materials: a picture from Palleroni’s essay found in Part 5:“Teaching as Strategic Action and titled Cultivating Resistance: The BaSiC Initiative.” This photograph illustrates the Peace Pavilion, which is made from military parachutes, Ladakh, India, 2010. 
In the preface of Beyond Shelter Aquilino writes, “This book is about the architects who are helping save lives. Innovative, fascinating work is being done by small teams of outstanding professionals in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and in the United States, who are proving to be critical, relevant partners helping communities recover from disaster and rebuild.” [1]
  1. Aquilino, Marie J., ed. Beyond Shelter: Architecture and Human Dignity. New York: Bellerophon Publications Inc. / Metropolis Books, 2011. 7-8. Print.

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