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Architects Create Animal Shelters in Pakistan's Earthquake Zone

  Image courtesy Architects For Aid

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Pakistan and India last October, Architects for Aid (A4A)— an organization that helps improve the design and management of disaster shelters — recognized that since many of the area’s inhabitants are dependent on animals to survive the winter, destruction of livestock shelters and veterinary facilities could worsen the crisis. The organization joined with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and in late November sent Sam Price of London’s UV Architects to Pakistan to develop prototype animal shelters.

Together, the parties developed small, lightweight frame structures designed for easy transportation, fabrication, modification and replication. About 20 have been built so far. Using readily available materials like corrugated galvanized iron for roofing, woven grass reed or canvas for walls, and reclaimed rubble for foundations, the structures provide animals with protection and insulation. They also ventilate the heat produced by larger animals. The shelters are designed to hold up to 3 buffalo, 8 sheep or goats, one horse, and 20 chickens.


While dispatching more volunteers for the animal shelter project, A4A, which was formed in 2004, is working with organizations like the UN’s Habitat and Shelter Center and Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief (RedR) to promote disaster-preparedness amongst architects. On the whole, the field has been criticized for its slow response to events like the Southeast Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Consequently, A4A has begun creating a registry of trained professionals ready to travel to disaster sites as well as an online repository for knowledge on structural emergency work.

“The lifecycle of a humanitarian aid worker is often about 5 years, so there is an inevitable relearning process that must regularly occur. This should be mitigated and the expertise retained,” says Dr. Victoria Harris, managing director of A4A. More information is available at

By Nick Olsen

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