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When disaster strikes, the impact on people and places can be devastating — increasingly so, as the world urbanises. But disasters like earthquakes and flooding also create space to renew, rebuild and rethink the kind of cities and environments we inhabit.
This is the idea behind Creation from catastrophe: How architecture rebuilds communities, an exhibition that opens today at the Royal Institute of British Architects, in London, United Kingdom. The exhibition charts the history of post-disaster architecture from seventeenth-century London to the flood- and earthquake-proof designs of present day Nepal, Nigeria and Pakistan. It reveals the evolution of the practice from the grand visions of the solitary architect to participatory work that puts people and sustainability at the heart of how we rebuild and perceive our cities.

Photographs, architectural drawings and scale models reveal the innovations being pioneered in countries across the global South — from Yasmeen Lari’s disaster-resilient buildings in Pakistan to flood-resistant floating schools in Nigeria.