C-re-a.i.d. -Change -REsearch -Architecture -Innovation -Design is a Tanzanian registered nonprofit organisation which conducts research by design on the possibilities of architecture. This is accomplished by the different branches of C-re-aid, including fieldwork, organizing construction, empowering local craftsmen and receiving students of architecture, interior architecture, engineering, product design.
C-re-a.i.d. is a young development organisation based in Northern Tanzania. With architecture being the professional background of the founder of C-re-aid, the concentration of the organisation lays on housing in informal settlements. The organisation is active since 2012 and has conducted several projects in rural areas of Moshi, Tanzania. The projects are conducted with the assistance of students and aim to create cooperation between the C-re-aid team, students and beneficiaries. C-re-aid collaborates on projects with families of various backgrounds, social relations and material possessions. However, the crucial similarity is that all the families received assistance from C-re-aid to make a specific material change. Thus, while the projects themselves are different, their common baseline is the research to the reception of a material change.
- Conduct research into the possibilities of architecture in the developing world.
- Develop an understanding of how architecture could impact housing development in the South.
- Research the social, psychological, physical and motivational impact that architectural interventions have in the South.
- Increase awareness about vernacular architecture among architects in the West.
- Develop an understanding and knowledge of the importance of sustainable development
- Ultimately create change through improved and healthier living conditions, which will influence and boost entire communities.
We achieve these objectives in a unique and innovative way by working in collaboration with Universities worldwide. Our student programme provides an invaluable opportunity for Architectural and Engineering students to put their developing skills to practical use, for the benefit of the local community in Tanzania. C-re-aids’ programme offers students international experience in a developing country, students are confronted with architecture in its purest form and learn to be creative in a completely new way, they learn new methods of building and have an unforgettable experience. The programme can be part of the universities course accreditation or placement requirements, research development and assists in expanding international relationships.
The core concept of C-re-aid is the research into the possibilities of architecture. To succeed, C-re-aid is concentrating on three main future goals for the organisation:
- FIGHTING POVERTY is the first goal of C-re-aid. Poverty eradication is not only an end goal, but is the process that the organisation wants to provoke among the beneficiaries of a project. It is not material change, social change or architecture implemented by the organisation that has a direct impact on poverty. It are the opportunities and possibilities derived from these interventions, and the ways in which the families take these opportunities, that may have an impact on poverty. The evaluation that is conducted once a project is completed serves to assess the extend to which architecture can address the concerns of people confronted with poverty. Besides the material change that is created, the families undergo the positive influence of the whole process of a project. Both the material change and the process of a project can contribute to positive changes within social relations, and potentially achieve a positive result for the family to escape or avoid poverty. Through summer projects conducted in the villages of Tanzania, we look at the influence of architecture on the poverty of people.
- A second goal of the organisation is SLUM UPGRADING, or upgrading the quality of living in the city. Young people look for “a better life” in the city and need a cheap place to stay. Located close to the city center , Moshi counts many informal dwellings of which the living conditions are poor and infrastructure virtually non-existent. Additional to this many of these dwellings became part of an informal economy when the demand for temporary housing (renting housing) grew fast. The owner pays little or no attention to the condition of these houses since the rent is very low and the effort too big. Small interventions of improvement by residents are made, but little is possible since this will lead to conflicts with the owners. C-re-aid is conducting a research by design to find interventions that would benefit the residents and not only the owners of the poor dwellings. Through projects in the slums/ cities of Tanzania, we look at the possibilities to improve housing conditions and by thus upgrade these informal settlements or even build new slums of higher quality.
- AFFORDABLE HOUSING is the third goal of C-re-aid. Architecture is commonly seen as a luxury. It is presented as historical, cultural sites and places of worship, or as modern high-rise governmental buildings and high-tech, high-fashion buildings. Working in this highly profitable side of architecture is the aim of most architecture students and practicing architects; there is a saying that “every architect wants to build his own church” (Unknown). However, this is in stark contrast with the fact that most people live in “common” dwellings. This larger category of buildings used to be called “primitive” or “traditional,” but has in the last 50 years come to be referred to as “vernacular” or “indigenous” architecture. Through private freelance projects, the organisation researches a way to achieve affordable housing by using local materials in a creative way or use specific designs methods to keep construction at a low cost.
Through the work of C-re-aid, we seek to understand what the possibilities of architecture, as a material and social change of cultural and socially meaningful design, can mean for people who are “vulnerable by material conditions.” Architectural interventions, as conducted by the organisation, aim to have an impact through the process of a project and change the material environment. With these changes the organisation strives to affect not only the physical, built environment but also the social environment, and by that, social health which includes self-esteem and self-respect.