Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture stopped by the Architectural Record booth at the AIA convention today and talked about the situation in Japan after the recent disasters. Based in Tokyo, Klein Dytham has been producing smart, idiosyncratic projects for 20 years. The firm designed a new retail store for Sony that opened in Los Angeles last month and has a store for Shiseido debuting soon in Tokyo. But instead of discussing his firm's projects, Dytham focused on the earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that hit Japan in March and what architects can do to help.
As the founder of Pecha Kucha, he organized a global event that took place in 100 cities on April 16. This "Inspire Japan" Pecha Kucha has raised $60,000 for disaster relief so far, a figure that Dytham hopes will grow to $100,000. He is also working with 150 architects, including Hitoshi Abe—who has an architecture firm in Sendai and is chair of the department of architecture and urban design at UCLA—to form a network called Archi-Aid, which plans to support reconstruction efforts.
In a press release, Archi-Aid says that for these efforts to work "there must be close collaboration with those in the local areas. We must quickly establish a platform capable of bringing together the numerous aid efforts into a network, while directing. . . activities to the stricken areas that need help." It goes on to propose that the Sendai Design League serve as the basis of this platform, along with Architecture for Humanity. For more information on Archi-Aid, go to http://www.archiaid.org