• Forms of Aid: Architecture of Humanitarian Space
    Benedict Clouette and Marlisa Wise
    Birkhäuser, 2017
    Benedict Clouette & Marlisa Wise

Marlisa Wise, UN MINUSTAH Mobile Tower: an armored personnel carrier (APC), surrounded by barbed wire, 2010, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Courtesy of the authors.

In disaster zones throughout the world, humanitarian operations have engendered new architectural forms. The project investigates the architectural manifestations of humanitarianism, focusing on the effects of spatial design in these contexts. The term “humanitarian space” is typically understood metaphorically to refer to the operational environment of international aid organizations—the institutions, technologies, and actors that participate in relief efforts. In this project, the spaces of humanitarian space are foregrounded, to better understand the architectural consequences of humanitarian activities. The research approaches the spaces of international aid at the scale of its built forms, drawing attention to the responsibility that architects and planners bear in the production of humanitarian space. The project develops a set of architectural drawings that analyze case studies from three locales: Port-au-Prince, the West Bank, and Nairobi. The research provides a look at the lesser-known architectures of aid: not just schools and clinics, but also factories, free-trade zones, nature preserves, checkpoints, and cruise ships.

Benedict Clouette is an architect and urbanist, and a current doctoral student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. With Marlisa Wise, he founded Interval Projects, a collaborative for spatial research and design based in New York. Clouette's writings and interviews have appeared in publications, including Domus, Volume, DAMn, and San Rocco, and in catalogs for the Walker Art Center and the New Museum, as well as the Elements exhibition curated by Rem Koolhaas/AMO for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. He has previously worked for the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in New York and Julien De Smedt Architects in Brussels. He was also the research coordinator of C-Lab, a unit on architecture, cities, and technology at Columbia University.

Marlisa Wise is an architect and writer whose work focuses on the social effects of design. As cofounder of the collaborative Interval Projects, she has worked as an architect in post-disaster and post-conflict situations. Her work has been published by Domus, Volume, San Rocco, and the New York Times, among others. Since 2011, she has been a faculty member at Parsons, the New School for Design. She is a graduate of Columbia University (MArch) and Brown University (BA).