Can Design Save the World?

Continuation of Fast Company’s MODs…

A Generation of Emerging Designers Who Design With Purpose

By: Fast Company StaffOctober 1, 2010

This emerging generation of designers wants to do more than create handsome and functional products. It’s out to protect the environment, improve health, reform education, and empower communities.

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Masters of Design

Michael Murphy
Architecture student and cofounder,
Mass Design Group


When patients enter a hospital with a broken leg and emerge with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, something is not right. This is the problem Michael Murphy, a 30-year-old student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, addressed in his design for Butaro Hospital in Rwanda. His solution, conceived in partnership with the Clinton Foundation and Partners in Health, incorporates local climate, culture, and economic conditions. It eliminates the hallways where patients would gather — “actually incubating disease,” he says — and encourages them to use the landscaped grounds instead. Inside, a ventilation system moves air from high- to low-pressure areas, industrial fans improve air circulation, and UV lights help kill tuberculosis particulates. “It’s not brain science to recognize the initial problem, but it takes dedication to learn about the community’s needs,” Murphy says. And not just medical needs. The project trained and employed local construction workers. “We can get a bulldozer for $10,000 a month, or we can hire 300 people to hand-chisel out a mountainside,” he says. “We’ll do the latter. This commitment to artisanal-craft creation is an educational laboratory.” –Stephanie Schomer

Read the rest.

This entry was published on September 26, 2010 at 3:06 pm. It’s filed under Sustainable Building and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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