Archinect - News 2015-11-30T06:45:20-05:00 United Nations housing rapporteur expresses dire need for "a human rights framework" in global urban development Amelia Taylor-Hochberg 2015-10-28T14:02:00-04:00 >2015-11-04T23:29:19-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>On 22 October, [United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing Leilani] Farha challenged the General Assembly to promote urban development through the lens of human rights. &ldquo;Human rights can be transformational,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;A human rights framework can provide the coherence and consistency sorely needed to achieve sustainable, inclusive cities for all.&rdquo; [...] &ldquo;Human rights have been largely absent from discussions of urban development,&rdquo; Farha cautioned.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A "<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">special rapporteur</a>" is "an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme." In a recent report to the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, which you can read in its entirety&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>, rapporteur Leilani Farha explains the pressing need for governments to champion their citizens' rights to housing, especially in advance of the U.N.'s 2016 "Habitat III" urbanization conference &ndash; a gathering that only takes place once every twenty years.</p><p>In her report, Farha is not optimistic about the direction urban development is headed: &ldquo;Cities are on an untenable path, one that is encouraging vast inequalities which ultimately segregate those who have means from those who do not ... Urbanization can too often focus on wealth accumulation at the expense of the most vulnerable populations.&rdquo;</p> Gulf Labor initiative renews criticism of Abu Dhabi museums over migrant workers' rights Alexander Walter 2015-08-03T19:39:00-04:00 >2015-08-08T22:24:40-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="344" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Migrant workers building branches of the Guggenheim Museum, the Louvre and the Zayed National Museum on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi continue to face crushing debt, substandard wages and harsh working conditions despite recent efforts to improve treatment, according to a report published this week by Gulf Labor, a coalition of artists and activists. [...] the researchers found that &ldquo;underpayment is far and away the primary concern&rdquo; for the workers themselves.</p></em><br /><br /><p>This issue of labor rights in the greater gulf region previously on Archinect:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">An updated look at the conditions for Abu Dhabi's migrant workers</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">BBC journalists arrested for reporting on Qatar's World Cup laborers</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Labor violations affirmed in latest report of NYU Abu Dhabi construction</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">World Cup &lsquo;slaves&rsquo; scandal: Qatar holds 2 UK rights researchers over &lsquo;emigration violations&rsquo;</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">High Culture and Hard Labor</a></li></ul> An updated look at the conditions for Abu Dhabi's migrant workers Alexander Walter 2015-03-04T14:30:00-05:00 >2015-03-05T20:30:35-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="341" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>With all the cultural, sports and real-estate projects launched throughout the United Arab Emirates, there have been persistent protests about the working and living conditions [...] &rdquo;Serious concerns about workers&rsquo; rights have not been resolved&rdquo;, claims the advocacy group, asking for a commitment for &rdquo;more serious protection&rdquo; from these institutions and Saadiyat Island&rsquo;s developers. [...] appears to have made a serious effort to address the concern expressed by Western museums and architects.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> World Cup ‘slaves’ scandal: Qatar holds 2 UK rights researchers over ‘emigration violations’ Miles Jaffe 2014-09-08T14:44:00-04:00 >2014-09-09T09:06:22-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="289" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Qatari authorities have confirmed they are holding two British researchers who are investigating the 2022 World Cup facilities, which is linked with a scandal over poor working conditions and dozens of deaths of foreign workers. ... "All of the actions that have been taken against the two Britons are consistent with principles of human rights enshrined in the constitution," read the statement released by the Qatari QNA news agency on Sunday.</p></em><br /><br /><p>The silence from Zaha is deafening.&nbsp;</p> Azerbaijan counts human cost of architecture Alexander Walter 2014-07-14T13:10:00-04:00 >2014-07-16T20:53:01-04:00 <img src="" width="460" height="276" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Baku is gaining international recognition as a centre of cutting-edge architectural design thanks in part to a major award given recently to London-based architect Zaha Hadid for her Heydar Aliyev Centre. The Azerbaijani capital&rsquo;s new look has plenty of local fans, but also some detractors. [...] The latest wave of protests occurred in February and March, prompted by a government announcement that 40,000 downtown residents would be evicted to make way for a &ldquo;green zone&rdquo; [...].</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Zaha's Baku win ignites protests over forced eviction and suspicions over worker's rights and human trafficking Archinect 2014-06-30T20:44:00-04:00 >2014-07-02T01:22:22-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="383" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Human Rights Watch said that, along with the Crystal Hall, stage of the 2012 Eurovision song contest, and the park-cum-shopping mall of the Winter Garden, the centre is one of the city's many oil-fuelled grand projects that have seen local people evicted by force.</p></em><br /><br /><p>From earlier today: <a title="Zaha Hadid wins the Design Museum&rsquo;s Designs of the Year Award 2014" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Zaha Hadid wins the Design Museum&rsquo;s Designs of the Year Award 2014</a></p><p><em><a title="" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">While almost 250 homes were cleared </a>to make way for Hadid's building, (questions have also been raised about the rights of those who built it. In 2010, while the project was under construction, the global construction workers' union, BWI, exposed <a title="" href=";Language=EN" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">one of the largest cases of human trafficking in Europe</a>, of migrant labourers from Bosnia and Serbia forced to work in Baku in appalling conditions, subjected to physical and psychological violence, with their passports confiscated.</em></p> What Architecture Reveals About Secret Drone Strikes Alexander Walter 2014-03-13T14:58:00-04:00 >2014-03-19T22:38:23-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="289" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>"It&rsquo;s an attempt to really use architecture intelligence and design intelligence to unpack violations of international law," Weizman says of Forensic Architecture. Along with SITU Research, he and his team have developed a technique called video-to-space analysis to harvest spatial data from cell phone videos and photos, analyzing footage, sometimes from multiple sources, to model and recreate chaotic events to better understand what happened on the ground.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> And onward to questions of conscience... adityaghosh13 2014-03-04T13:34:00-05:00 >2014-03-10T23:35:20-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="475" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>"Ai Weiwei, who helped design the Bird&rsquo;s Nest stadium in Beijing, stayed away from the opening ceremonies because he said he wanted his building to represent freedom, not be a trophy for an autocratic regime uninterested in change."</p></em><br /><br /><p>Are we even delineating the role of the Architect in the construction process? Especially in the case where the clients are a monarchy and the problem cited is endemic to the entire region and not limited to the construction industry?</p><p>Quoting Ai Weiwei and not Herzog and de Meuron seems almost tactical in an attack on the architect's lack of empathy compared to an artist's. Maybe a reader should be as personal in their critique of the journalist and question his ethnicity and entitlement, compare them to Zaha's story and probably fatigued de-sensitivity (as opposed to insensitivity) to the repression of the Other and then decide if we want to use the words "Awful Human Being". &nbsp;</p> Should Architects Design for Solitary Confinement? Archinect 2013-08-20T20:22:00-04:00 >2013-08-27T16:43:54-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="184" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A hunger strike in California state prisons calls for an end to indefinite solitary confinement in Security Housing Units, known as SHUs. Raphael Sperry has challenged fellow architects to ban the design of SHUs. Beverly Prior responds, reflecting on a career designing for incarceration. Joe Day sees societal values mirrored in the growth of both American prisons and museums.</p></em><br /><br /><p> Previously: <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Building A Better Prison</a></p> Building A Better Prison Alexander Walter 2013-06-26T12:51:00-04:00 >2013-07-01T20:46:01-04:00 <img src="" width="300" height="299" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>It might not seem like an architect&rsquo;s area of expertise to reform inhumane prison conditions. But like attorneys, journalists and doctors, architects have a code of professional ethics. They&rsquo;re required to &ldquo;uphold human rights in all of their professional endeavors.&rdquo; Architect Raphael Sperry says that prisons designed for prolonged solitary confinement violate the human rights of the inmates, and that he and other architects are ethically bound to do something about it.</p></em><br /><br /><p> Previously on Archinect:</p> <ul><li> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Design Against Prisons</a></li> <li> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The Architecture of Juvenile Detention in America</a></li> <li> <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Prison Architect and the moral dilemmas of a prison simulator</a></li> </ul> Daniel Libeskind: 'Building gleaming streets for despots is morally wrong' Archinect 2013-02-25T14:43:00-05:00 >2013-03-05T09:40:59-05:00 <img src="" width="460" height="345" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Daniel Libeskind, who has built a reputation working on historically and culturally sensitive projects such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the reconstruction of New York&rsquo;s World Trade Center site, said beautiful architecture was no excuse for working with &ldquo;morally questionable&rdquo; clients. &ldquo;Even if they produce gleaming towers, if they are morally questionable, I&rsquo;m not interested,&rdquo; he said in the interview with The Architects&rsquo; Journal.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review Majority Abstains from Chick-fil-A Vote Archinect 2012-08-10T11:40:00-04:00 >2012-08-13T22:28:08-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The project received approval from the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) last year, but this week, with the plan returning for final sign-off on some late-hour landscaping tweaks, the board majority, for what appeared to be political reasons stemming from the gay-marriage flap, opted to abstain from voting on Monday.</p></em><br /><br /><p> Helene Schneider, the mayor of SB, and a proponent of marriage rights, says <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Chick-fil-A&rsquo;s Architectural Approval Shouldn&rsquo;t Hinge on Owner&rsquo;s Politics</a>.</p> FREE Ai Weiwei T-Shirts, Now in Stock Paul Petrunia 2011-05-09T18:14:51-04:00 >2011-11-24T09:05:52-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="408" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p> As you're probably aware, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Ai Weiwei</a>, Chinese artist and human rights freedom fighter, is still being detained by Chinese police. In an effort to increase public awareness we're working with <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">BIG</a> to offer these t-shirts designed by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">e-types</a>, at cost.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Now available: <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Click here to buy</a></strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Related: <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Archinect's interview with Ai Weiwei</a></p>