Calling for Power of Design in Action

Competition Details

REACH: Residential Emergency Agency for Community Housing

by Chris O'Donnell

REACH is a relief effort that aims to provide communities with transitional to permanent housing in the wake of a disaster. It exists as a secondary response after aid like the Red Cross has stabilized a community to begin the recovery process. It is my intention to have in place a program comprised of sponsorship from appropriate
companies/organizations, appropriate spaces to place REACH units within or around, and local community outreach.

REACH units are designed to be symbiotic and become a transitional module in two phases. The first phase is at a recovery level. This is a time where people need to have the basic necessities of food, water and shelter. The units can be placed inside warehouse spaces or adjacent to pre-existing buildings that typically have utilities already programmed on site. These host spaces will provided the energy used while domestic rebuilding efforts are underway. Phase two begins at the completion of a rebuilt neighborhood and allows the REACH residents to move from a unit into their new homes. At this juncture a REACH unit may be reconfigured to become freestanding and continue to exist as a civic structure, like an orphanage, a school, or even a medical facility. Otherwise, it is deployed to the next community in need of its rescue and relief.
Sponsorship is necessary to offset the cost of construction of a REACH unit. It is REACH’s goal to acquire the appropriate contributions so that the most effective manufacturing and uncompromised design solutions can be achieved. An example of such collaboration would be a shipping container manufacture and shipping companies teaming up with REACH to get the right aid to those in need of REACH most. Sponsorship might also allow REACH to employ local community skills and trade, helping the local economy get back on its foundation.

Local community outreach is REACH’s biggest goal. REACH understands the importance of localized skills and trade to help implement REACH’s efforts of relief. Teaching the community to rebuild on their own keeps the cost and reliance on foreign aid low. It also has proven to help strengthen community bonds and provide a mental well-being not associated to aid that provides no local community call to action. There’s a saying “many hands make light work.” REACH is that introduction for these hands to join and begin the road to recovery after any disaster. REACH, Rescue, and Relief.