The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the re-launch of Architects Assist, which will offer architectural advice and guidance to disaster-stricken communities.

The program sees people who are left homeless from natural disasters referred to AIA members, who can assist in redesigning and rebuilding homes at reduced costs or pro bono.

“The relaunch of Architects Assist with Taubmans is an exciting development for the Institute and our architects who want to give back,” says AIA National President Shannon Battisson. 

“We are providing critical support to communities affected by natural disasters and other adversities, helping them to rebuild and recover.

The initiative was first introduced following the black summer bushfires of 2019-20, with more than 600 architecture practices providing services to disaster-impacted communities within its first six months. The Cobargo RSL Memorial Hall in the Bega Valley is one such beneficiary of the program, with Dickson Rothschild Architects leading the redesign of the hall.

“The best thing we can do is be grounded in community and I use it with intention because it’s about the relationship you have with people and having empathy with the needs of the community,” says Dickson Rothschild Founder Nigel Dickson.

“That's the prime motivator in our work. It’s the hope that you give these people. That's what drives us.”

Taubmans is the official partner of Architects Assist and has helped in developing the website and program. The updated service is now easier for the public to request assistance, and for architects to give assistance.