Ian Davis underlines the importance of ethics when training future architects

The UIC Barcelona School of Architecture celebrated ten years of the Master’s Degree in International Cooperation and Emergency Sustainable Architecture on 29 May. This programme is co-directed by Senior Lecturer Carmen Mendoza Arroyo, and External Lecturer Sandra Bestraten. More than 200 students from close to fifty countries around the world have taken part in this programme.


The introduction to the event was provided by the director, Carmen Mendoza Arroyo, and the coordinators of the master’s course, Raquel Colacios, Allison Koornneef and Emili Hormias. “I feel very proud of the evolution of our programme over the past ten years. When we talk about emergency architecture, we have to break down the barrier between physical and social interventions” said Carmen Mendoza.


Prestigious British professor Ian Davis was at the event, held in the Aula Jardí at the university, and he gave a talk entitled “Ten significant developments in housing and settlements, 2009-2019”. Based on his more than forty years of professional experience in managing disasters, the British professor covered ten significant aspects which have changed in terms of actions in post-disaster scenarios over the last decade. He also highlighted the threats posed by factors such as forced migration, political corruption, religious fundamentalism and the unstoppable progress of the impact of climate change. Davis defended the value of the ethical principles in emergency architecture. “Ethics must be at the very root of learning for future architects”, he said.

Subsequently, a debate took place in which invited lectures and professors from the master’s degree, students and former students took part, asking questions and talking about emergency architecture. Assistant lecturer Lorenzo Chelleri underlined the need to offer a multidisciplinary approach to international cooperation and development policies to promote “the empowerment of the affected communities”. Former student Kaitlyn Dietz talked about the reasons why she chose to take this master’s degree. “I wanted to engage with architecture projects on a larger scale, and learn about the social scope of physical interventions”. Another former student, Chiara Pirro, underlined the fact that, through this programme “students learn to ask the right questions”. Former student and current lecturer on the programme, Mbongeni Ngulube, encouraged students “to observe and absorb at the same time, while they are undertaking their fieldwork”. Ian Davis closed the floor and provided some advice for students: “Always take a notebook and collect citations, remember good advice, talk to people and participate in local action”.



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