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Norman Foster & Holcim: Innovative housing solution for displaced populations

In a rapidly evolving world, the design of architectural systems has taken on a new level of significance. It’s not merely about constructing buildings; it’s about crafting solutions that have a positive impact on our planet.
In an era marked by environmental challenges and geopolitical shifts, the interplay of architecture, technology, and collaboration offers a beacon of hope for a sustainable future. 
This journey involves the cross-pollination of backgrounds and the fusion of technologies, where physicists, architects, designers, engineers are not just creators of structures, are catalysts for change. In this framework, two remarkable workshops took place thanks to the School of Disruption and Holcim

International events for the cross-pollination of ideas 

Holcim, in collaboration with the Norman Foster Foundation, spearheaded an event that brought together academics and students with the goal of addressing the pressing need for dignified temporary housing in the face of climatic and geopolitical challenges. They went on to prototype the Essential Home research project, a testament to how architectural innovation can meet real-world needs. This initiative demonstrates that architecture goes beyond aesthetics; it is a solution provider. 

The 2022 Shelters Workshop

To know more: Shelters Workshop 2022

NORMAN FOSTER FOUNDATION – SHELTERS WORKSHOP 2022

The essential homes research project

To know more: The essential homes research project

ESSENTIAL HOMES RESEARCH PROJECT BY HOLCIM AND NORMAN FOSTER FOUNDATION UNVEILED IN VENICE

Dive into…the School of Disruption’s workshop:

Meanwhile, the School of Disruption organized a physical workshop that pushed the boundaries of design by living in space. Over five days, 17 participants from 15 countries delved into lectures and working sessions alongside experts. Their mission was to create a viable project on Earth, applying the principles of Space Architecture and space technologies. This unique initiative highlights the potential of blending backgrounds and technologies to design architectural systems that transcend the conventional, with applications on our planet.  

To know more: School of Disruption’s Workshop 2023

School of Disruption’s Workshop 2023 – Lugano
Angelo Vermeulen at School of Disruption’s Workshop 2023

School of Disruption’s workshop projects

Like 2022 event in Strasbourg, participants attended lectures in the morning followed by workshops in the afternoon, with a team competition planned for the workshop sessions. Designs were judged by a panel of international architects who shared the common goal of interpreting the most groundbreaking innovations in the field of design through the lens of the great opportunities of space. 

The Significance of Innovation and Technology in Addressing Humanitarian Issues 

In a world facing ongoing humanitarian crises, initiatives that harness innovation and technology play a pivotal role in addressing pressing challenges on Earth.
Here’s why these initiatives are of paramount importance: 

  • Efficiency and Speed: Technology enables rapid response to humanitarian crises. Digital tools and platforms facilitate quick coordination, data collection, and communication in disaster-affected areas, helping relief efforts reach those in need more efficiently 
  • Prevention and Mitigation: Innovations in disaster prediction and early warning systems empower communities to prepare for and mitigate the impact of disasters. This proactive approach saves lives and resources 
  • Humanitarian Innovation: Technological innovations, including artificial intelligence and data analytics, assist humanitarian organizations in optimizing their resources and making data-driven decisions. This results in better-targeted aid and more effective relief efforts, ultimately reducing suffering 
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborations between humanitarian organizations and businesses leverage technology and innovation for sustainable solutions. These partnerships can lead to the development of smart innovations that combat hunger, poverty, and various societal challenges. 

The integration of innovation and technology in humanitarian endeavors paves the way for more effective crisis management, improved preparedness, and an overall enhanced response to the myriad challenges on Earth. It stands as a testament to human ingenuity in the face of adversity, ultimately contributing to the cultivation of a more resilient and compassionate world.

 the world’s first 3D-printed school – 14Trees, Holcim and CDC Group 

Discover the projects of the School of Disruption’s workshop 2022:


I. GHATA Project – medical rover for earth extreme enviroments –  Ismail El – Omari – School of Disruption’s Workshop 2022

This interview is part of our dossier on sustainable building. Other content:

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