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"Call for Artists: Can architecture make a difference to those suffering with HIV/AIDS in Africa?"
2002-08-16 until 2002-11-01
Architecture for Humanity
New York, NY, USA United States of America

Mobile HIV/AIDS Health Clinic for Africa - On May 1st 2002 Architecture for Humanity, the non-profit organization that promotes architecture and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian crises, announced its 2002 Open International Design Competition. For this year's project, participants are asked to develop designs for a fully equipped, mobile, medical unit and HIV/AIDS treatment center specifically for use in Africa.

Since AIDS was first diagnosed 20 years ago, 65 million people have been infected with HIV; 25 million have died. The disease continues to spread at an ever-alarming rate. Time and again medical professionals in the field and HIV/AIDS researchers, in the U.S. and around the globe, have stated that improved distribution of basic healthcare services is the key to defeating this devastating pandemic.

No place illustrates the need for improved access to healthcare more than Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, close to 6,000 people die of AIDS every day and an additional 14,000 are infected with HIV according to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. By 2022 researchers predict more than 70 million will die of AIDS. It is estimated that three-quarters of the world's AIDS population lives in Sub-Saharan Africa; most have no access to lifesaving drugs, testing facilities or even basic preventative care. One of the major factors inhibiting medical professionals in Africa from treating this disease is the inability to access vast areas of the continent with adequately equipped facilities.

About the Competition

The goal of this competition is to create a fully equipped mobile unit to be used by medical professionals throughout the African continent. In addition to testing, prevention and treatment, this easily transportable unit will disseminate information regarding the virus and provide basic healthcare services.

"Architects and designers have not only an opportunity," said Frank O Gehry, award winning architect and Architecture for Humanity advisory board member, "but a professional obligation to help to end this crisis. We need to employ the same caliber of design talent and innovative use of materials we use in commercial projects to create a viable solution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic."

Submission Deadline and Criteria

Over the last 2 1/2 years researching this project and working with experts in the field, we have been overwhelmed and at times stunned by the strong support for this project from the medical, relief and design community. This support has also included a number of world leaders and ambassadors. More than a hundred medical professionals working seven African countries, leaders in HIV/AIDS research and relief and global health activists have gone out of their way to get involved and help in part formulate the project.

A detailed set of design criteria, developed by our team of advisors is be available at www.architectureforhumanity.org. The deadline for design submissions is November 1, 2002. In mid-November a team of internationally renowned designers Shigeru Ban, Reuben Mutiso and Rick Joy will be joined HIV/AIDS specialists and researchers Dr Peter Lamptey (FHI/IMPACT), Dr Shaffiq Essajee and Kate Bourne (IAVI) to jury the entries.

Finalists will be announced on World AIDS day (December 1, 2002) at an exhibition to be held in New York City. Money raised from the $35 entry fee*, donations and additional fundraising activities will be used to build a prototype of the winning concept. Once developed, it is hoped that refined versions of this cost-effective and mobile design can be built for Africa-and eventually, easily replicated in other regions around the world.

"We are fascinated by your idea and we are confidant that it will fill a gap in many parts of the developing world. We wish the best in your important work and commend your efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. " - Debrework Zewdie - Advisor, Global HIV/AIDS Office of the World Bank, Washington DC, USA

"Your idea for a mobile clinic is not only fascinating but very worthwhile indeed. Since I spend a lot of time in developing countries and see the ravages and consequences of the disease firsthand, such a clinic will be most welcome and needed." Kristine Pearson - Executive Director, Freeplay Foundation, South Africa

*fee waived for entries from developing countries.

About Architecture for Humanity

In 1999, Architecture for Humanity is a volunteer non-profit organization founded for the promotion of architectural and design solutions to global, social and humanitarian problems.

In our first year, Architecture for Humanity launched its first venture, an international competition to design five-year transitional housing for Kosovo's returning refugees. Advisors for the project included representatives from the UNHCR, USAID and NGO's in Kosovo and the United States. With more than 200 entries from 30 countries, the competition was an overwhelming success. Selected entries were exhibited in four countries and were featured in more than 30 newspapers and design publications. Publicity from these exhibitions helped in part to raise more than $80,000. All proceeds were donated to War Child, an international children's charity, and used to create housing, schools and medical facilities in Bosnia, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and other war-torn areas. Prototypes of two winning entries have already been built; two more are currently in development.

As a recognized non profit, Architecture for Humanity is made up of a Board of Directors and an Advisory Board, 50% of which is chosen on a project by project basis. For our most recent project, the mobile HIV/AIDS Health clinic for Africa, we have been joined by medical professionals and HIV/AIDS specialists from around the world. Currently Advisory board is made up of 10 members including Pritzker Prize winning architect Frank Gehry, South African architect Reuben Mutiso, IAVI Vice President Kate Bourne and Dr. Sunanda Ray, Executive Director of safAIDS in Harare, Zimbabwe.

In the past year the organization has begun to receive both support and acclaim from the media. In his most recent editorial (June 2002) Robert Ivy, editor of the Architectural Record, noted "Architecture for Humanity represents the finest of the new breed of architectural leadership, employing architectural skills and directing them for the larger good." Founder, Cameron Sinclair, has been interviewed recently on National Public Radio and Voice of America and gave the keynote speech at the ACSA/AIA Teachers' Seminar at Cranbrook on "The Architecture of Engagement".

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