Yale School of Architecture hosts symposium on building for catastrophes

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In the wake of natural disasters in Haiti, Japan and Latin America, which leveled cities, wrecked economies, and took thousands of human lives, internationally recognized leaders in architecture, engineering, business and government will converge at Yale School of Architecture on Nov. 4–5, 2011, to brainstorm on ways to thwart nature’s destructiveness by making buildings safer.

The symposium, titled “Catastrophe and Consequence: The Campaign for Safe Buildings,” will focus on developing countries, made particularly vulnerable to natural disasters by an explosive growth of cities, weak or non-existent building codes, and poor construction practices.

The symposium sessions will be grouped by themes, starting on Friday afternoon with “catastrophic failures.”  Presenters and respondents, representing a range of professions, from designers and engineers to lawyers and advisors on disaster preparedness, will examine the damage inflicted by earthquakes and tsunamis in Haiti, Japan and Latin America. The final session on Friday afternoon will be a presentation by Pras Michel, documentary maker and member of the R & B group, The Fugees, on the destruction and hopes of recovery in his native Haiti.

The evening session on Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m., will be a conversation on “architecture and integrity” between architects Enrique Norten and Brad Perkins.

The opening session on Saturday morning is entitled “Fragile Beauty: The Transformation of Medellín, Colombia,” with an international panel of architects and planners, followed by a discussion, “Following the Money: Insurance, Business and the Law,” between South American attorney Juan Falconi Puig and Bruce Payne, of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. The Foundation is a generous supporter of this symposium.

In the first afternoon session on Saturday, Drew Azzara and Dave deCourcy of the International Code Council (ICC), Peter Rose, architect and faculty member of Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Michelle Addington, professor at Yale School of Architecture, will explore possibilities for preventing and mitigating damage from natural disasters in developing countries. Visionary architect Teddy Cruz will deliver the culminating address of the symposium, “Transforming the Ways We Build,” on Saturday following the final afternoon session.

All events will take place in Paul Rudolph Hall, Yale School of Architecture,180 York St., New Haven, CT.

This symposium is free, but reservations are required prior to October 28, 2011. To get the complete schedule or register online, visit the School of Architecture website.

You may also register by phone at 203-432-8621.

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation is a generous supporter of this symposium.

The Yale School of Architecture is a Registered Provider with The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education System. Credit earned by attending this symposium will be reported to CES Records for AIA members’ Certificates of Completion.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345