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Finalist: Daniel Smith

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Humanitarian Architecture, People, Place & Power by Daniel Smith, Unitec Department of Architecture.

Architecture is often concerned with humanitarian needs. Often, the concern of the architectural profession is improving the quality of the built environment for those in need. This project, which recognises that without participatory design processes, humanitarian architecture risks being detrimental, expands the facilities of the Mercy School in Cambodia. It creates a space for positive social engagement between the various groups of people within the community. Programmatic and social needs were achieved by designing boundaries and thresholds that reveal spaces for public social activities, while creating visual privacy where needed.

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The challenges facing a Western architect assisting in a Third World country are at the heart of this project. After exhaustive consultation with the inhabitants of a Cambodian village, the designer has arrived at a sensitive, honest solution for a series of new public buildings. On a site with difficult climatic conditions a limited palette of materials and construction techniques has been harnessed to deliver a convincing, positive outcome.

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