Book review: Tsunami Box spells disaster made good

The devastation wreaked by the 2004 tsunami that slammed Thailand, Sri Lanka and Somalia, would have left anyone aghast at the prospect of rebuilding. But in 2006, well-known Kiwi architect Gerald Melling made his way to the disaster area in a bid to use his architecture prowess smartly.  Now he has released a book detailing his design work in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.

Tsunami Box tells the story of an architectural journey into the heady tropics of emergency housing in Sri Lanka, following the Asian tsunami of 2004. Architect and author Gerald Melling travels to Sri Lanka at the beginning of 2006 and, through a mix of serendipity and persistence, came to be the main architect for a new post-tsunami village.  With tenacious commitment, an eye for detail and a reckless sense of humour, Melling launches fundamental ideas about architecture onto the troubled waters of post-tsunami reconstruction. They sink, of course, but not without a trace – this book offers genuine insight into the nature of ‘good intentions’ and the anatomy of a useful architecture.

You can read the first chapter of the book here.

Gerald Melling is a partner in the award winning Architecture firm MellingMorse Architects. In 2008 they won the NZ Home of the Year with the Signal Box House Masterton, and their Samurai House is featured in the Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century Architecture. 

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