Maybe you’ve heard about crowdsourcing. It allows someone in need to tap into a much wider community to meet that need. When a lot of people give a little bit, the results can be huge. But what if crowdsourcing merged with architecture? In one of the poorest areas in Mexico, that’s just what happened.
Architect, Fernando Rodriguez, was raised in Mexico by a social worker mom and a civil engineer dad. He says those two influences, combined with the freedom that they allowed him to be creative, helped him become the “humanist architect” that he is today.
As a humanist architect, Rodriguez wants to help people and create good work and effect positive change in areas where it’s needed most. It’s not about getting a paycheck, he explains to Americas Now. And as an honored Americas Now “Game Changer,” his work helping restore underprivileged parts of his homeland are getting a lot of attention.
Earthquake Damage Destroys Numerous Homes
In 2003, a major earthquake damaged and destroyed many homes in Colima, Mexico. Although he wasn’t living in Mexico at the time, the news reports that he saw and updates that he heard from his parents him to travel home to see how he could help. The plan was to rebuild homes for the many who had either lost them or were living in unsafe conditions, but he was going to need some help.
Once back in Mexico, Rodriguez formed Terra y Voluntades, which is a community-based volunteer group, that brought together people from all over the area who wanted to work on the project. From one person who wanted to help grew an organization that made it happen. He provided the direction; the community worked together to effect great change.
Tradition and Nature Guided Terra y Voluntades
When Rodriguez and all of the volunteers set about rebuilding homes, they didn’t haul in lumber and nails and paint from a local Home Depot. His design blended elements of nature with traditional building techniques using straw and clay mud. He created what he called a sustainable architecture that suited the community.
Everyone from college students to community members, including the people whose homes were being rebuilt, pitched in. Some dug clay, some hauled bales of straw, but everyone made a difference, one family at a time. More than just homes were rebuilt in Colima. Lives and hopes were restored through Rodriguez and the efforts of Terra y Voluntades.
Architects work in one of the few professions where real, measurable, remarkable changes can be made. One decision can affect the lives of many people. And with the skills and determination of a humanist architect, crowdsourcing can bring together the disorganized masses.
The idea that Rodriguez had wasn’t entirely unique. Many people wanted to help this devastated community; they just didn’t know how. His status as a Game Changer emerged from his unique ability to devise a plan, organize the project, and then see it to through completion.
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