Heartbreakingly, thousands of homes and farms in Australia have been destroyed or damaged by this summer’s devastating bushfires and in response, architects across the nation have put up their hands to help. Over 400 local architectural practices have signed up to Architects Assist to offer free design and planning services to help bushfire victims rebuild their homes and their lives – and the number is rising.
Architects Assist was established on 4 January 2020 by architectural graduate Jiri Lev, principal of Atelier Jiri Lev, a developer turned architect who is using his skills to connect architects with individuals and communities in need.
Architects Assist (AA) aims to help rebuild lives and livelihoods by connecting those in need with qualified professionals able to offer assistance. It provides a centralised platform where registered architects can sign up to help victims of the fires replace the structures they have lost, free of charge.
The initiative is now jointly managed by the Australian Institute of Architects.
AA acts as a simple referral service between clients and registered architects, but the website also contains information resources for building and re-building in fire risk areas that everyone will find very valuable.
AA currently represents about 500 practices from across Australia, willing to dedicate some of their resources to pro-bono work and 1000 students and graduates of architecture prepared to help if any opportunity becomes available to involve them in the AA program.
On the website you will find information about how to get assistance and give assistance, as well as valuable resources to trades services and supplies for bushfire affected communities and guides to sustainable building for resilience in natural disasters – affordably.
The aim is to enable those affected by the present and future disasters to rebuild their lives, either by themselves or with help from the community, at once or in stages, with minimum amount of money.
And homeowners aren’t the only ones who will be offered a helping hand under the scheme. Small businesses and communities affected by the disaster that have lost shops, halls, churches and theatres can apply for pro-bono assistance too.