A new book written by RMIT University Associate Professor Esther Charlesworth, titled Humanitarian Architecture, explores how architecture can rebuild communities devastated by disasters through 15 case studies.

To be launched next week by former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, Humanitarian Architecture is the first of two books written as part of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. The second book (co-authored with Dr Ifte Ahmed), More Than a Roof Overhead: Case Studies of Housing after Disaster, will be published early next year.

Associate Professor Charlesworth said the book analysed the expanding role for architects in working with disaster-affected communities by exploring the personal and professional journeys of 15 architects working in the post-disaster sector.

She explains that the goal of humanitarian architecture is social and physical reconstruction, going beyond mere provision of a shelter after a disaster to rebuilding a damaged community and its local culture, environment and economy.

The book examines the featured architects’ motivations and details projects in post-tsunami Japan, as well as Haiti, Sri Lanka and the US.

A researcher in RMIT’s School of Architecture and Design, Associate Professor Charlesworth is also the founding Director of Architects without Frontiers (Australia), a not-for-profit design organisation that has worked on more than 35 projects in 12 countries for vulnerable communities over the last decade.

To be launched on Tuesday, 12 August, Humanitarian Architecture - 15 Stories of Architects Working After Disaster is published by Routledge Press.