May 28, 2008

Wenchuan Earthquake - Shoddy Construction

The cause for my recent gloominess came from no places other than the disaster of Wenchuan Earthquake, which shook me quite severely, not my body, but my heart.
To think of countless adults & children, some even of my own age, who had bright hopes and dreams for their lives & their future, were wiped away in an instance by the earthquake, denied by the emotionless nature... my heart bleeds...

As a matter of fact, the number of death & casualties would not have been that high if it weren't the shoddy construction (豆腐渣工程) of the school (and other) buildings. This happened as well in the 921 earthquake of Taipei last time, and many other places I am sure. When the Hell will this Finally come to an end?

This issue has pulled me into the serious and frustrating doubt on our own profession, our own industry where I will be in a few years.
What are we doing? I see lots of great, functional, secure, sturdy, beautiful architectures around the world, but almost all of them requires expensive technologies, expensive materials, expensive services (I don't deny there exists low cost yet great & assuring methodologies) from ourselves the architects, the consultants and stuffs. This is a service which only the rich or maybe some moderate class people can afford to seek, at least it seems so.
What about the poor and some small scale domestic infrastructure constructions that emphasizes on low cost? May be schools? hostels? hospitals? low cost high density housings? public toilets? Here 'low cost' is an inevitable and one of the most important issues in many cases, where also demands maximum occupancy. Then there comes that minor (or not, I don't know) group who puts their gain above the safety of the end users!

I see Taipei 101 is around 500m tall and is designed to be quake-proof, with expensive high-tech equipments & design; On the contrary, the schools in Sichuan are only a few stories high, but heck they crumpled completely within seconds!
Can safety be measured by money or cost?? NO!
The poor has got the rights to be ensured safety too, like the rich class who would gladly pay to get it!
The poor and innocent deserves protection & shelter from us architects, designers, contractors, engineers!

Please be moral enough to care about others' lives.
We architects & builders' duty is to give shelter, protection and happiness to the people through our work, NOT to simply gain ourselves and leave others to death!!

"Sucky Builders who built the schools, see how you kill???!"

Maybe I am being a little bit too idealistic, but hey I am a student. And isn't this what we should be striving for regardless of being students or whatever??
I apologize if you find the post emotional or aggressive, but the words are what in my mind.

images from: &

posted by afterrabbit


lyn said...

nice post KS... agree wif u totally!! c ya

Anonymous said...

bravo :)


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