Unitec School of Architecture student trip to Sri Lanka April 2015

Tony Van Raat, Head of Unitec Architecture and students are on their way to Sri Lanka for an intensive workshop to:

1. To listen to and provide a local village community with a sense of opportunities to enhance their quality of life and sense of community

  1. Expose NZ students to typical problems encountered in low-income districts of urban centres in developing countries.

The particular site that they are going to visit is set in an existing slum district in Colombo.

They will be working with Tony (Van) and Gihan Karunaratne, a Sri Lankan architect. (from Colombo School of Architecture)

Starting out with a couple of days prep work/research in NZ, will be followed by 2 weeks intensive field work and workshops in Colombo – interacting with locals and discovering how they want to use the space, working with their construction teams to understand the local building process, building trust with the community to get the best outcome. And then a further 3 or 4 days spent on the final documentation on return to NZ. There will be an emphasis on renewable energy systems as an essential component of a sustainable community, as well as learning about local flora and fauna with an emphasis on growing crops within the slum area to provide food .

We felt it will be an inspirational opportunity for the Unitec students going – not only to go to Sri Lanka and further their practical architectural skills, but to also give back to a community and work in a community environment. Learning about other cultures and lifestyles, offers insights into local communities and problem-solving.

They are off on the 11th and we wish them all the best – looking forward to hearing how it goes!

The process will be fully photographed and documented by John Walsh from the NZIA with a book on the process and project eventually published.

So to assist with the delivery of the project, Pacific Environments has contributed funds for the chosen project and will stay in contact with the Lecturers and students.

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