THE BIRTH OF RECONSTRUCTIVE ARCHITECTURE IN WAR

Very few of us have been in a war zone where we were surrounded by devastation, and fewer have any concept of what steps have to be taken in reconstructing such an area.

The basic format of war has changed often due to internal short events of bombing and combat within the major centers.  Kabul, Afghanistan has been used as an example by Charles Montgomery in Dwell magazine.  It’s not a subject one would expect in this upbeat, “in the moment” design publication.

Called “security architecture”, it provides mud brick surfaces on Jersey devils, among the building blocks repairing Kabull’s historic neighborhoods – “earth” architecture is being explored in a laboratory.

Walls of brush matting and mud that hold up under fire, layers of rammed earth are much the same.  If there’s an explosion it would break into dust, not chunks of “killer” concrete.

Unlike the privacy walls of the past, the international rebuilding teams have erected fort-like edifices which may or may not survive a car bomb!  Security is the buzz word, and this new architectural group is designing Kabul’s first “green” blast barrier.  Some blast barriers are made from refrigerator size wire catges and bags filled with dirt known as HESCO are being used in stacks by the international group.

HESCO and chest high cement blocks interspersed by sniper nests, can be seen on the main road from the airport through the city.  In all of the attempted reconstruction the residents still want to walk their streets freely almost thwarting the efforts.

Aside from suicide bombers, there is the rampant vandalism, graffiti and locals willing to feed and hide terrorists within the high, bare concrete walls.  It has become, in many instances, “us vs. them”.  And it has been proven that urban design does change the psychology of a city’s inhabitants, especially when they feel safe.

A new concept – a greener world within a war-torn area.