Design Like You Give a Damn : Building Change from the Ground Up
Edited by Architecture for Humanity
March 16, 2012
Architects & Firms
A follow up to the popular Design Like You Give a Damn (2006), this book covers more than 100 recent humanitarian design projects across the globe, selected and edited by Architecture for Humanity (AFH). Available in May, Design Like You Give a Damn  (DLYGAD 2) uses case studies to create a snapshot of both the devastation across the globe caused by disasters — manmade or natural — and the ingenious design solutions that have followed. Unlike Beyond Shelter, DLYGAD 2 is more of a coffee table tome than a textbook, which isn’t to say it isn’t filled with useful information. But its lush, often large-format photographs and less text-heavy layout make it more pleasing to read.
Of the more than 100 projects shown in the book, only ten are AFH’s, a smart editing decision that makes this more than just a monograph. AFH co-founder Cameron Sinclair, though, makes it clear in his introduction that his nonprofit, established in 1999, has left its mark. As of 2011, more than two million people “live, learn, heal or work in the 2,250 buildings built by our design and construction professionals,” writes Sinclair.
Aside from a useful chapter on financing sustainable community development by AFH co-founder Kate Stohr, brief case studies covering projects in more than 30 countries fall under one of five major categories: Disaster Reconstruction; Housing; Community; Basic Services & Materials; and Politics, Policy & Planning. Salient facts introduce each project (design agency, location, date, project partners, etc.). Shorter project stories follow. Pull-quotes and surprises, like a Q&A with Tom Darden, executive director of the Make It Right Foundation, keep the content lively.
So does the range of projects, which have subtle connections that are fun to discover. An example: the Rector Street Bridge in Manhattan, designed by SHoP and built after the events of September 11, and an astonishing bamboo suspension bridge designed by Area Designs and PT Bambu for the Green School in Bali, Indonesia.
DLYGAD 2’s case studies don’t dig into the details of design, construction, funding, and cultural challenges as those in Beyond Shelter do, but what they lack in spinach they make up for in eye candy.