Human resilience

Three renowned architects created an exhibition offering visitors an interactive and emotional experience of human resilience and hope.

Instilling a sense of hope and human resilience, three renowned architects have designed a permanent exhibition space offering visitors an interactive and emotional experience.

Organised around three central topics: reducing natural risk, restoring family links and defending human dignity, Shigeru Ban, Francis Kéré and Gringo Cardia express the belief that even small actions can make a big difference.

The exhibition, titled Red Cross Museum: The Humanitarian Adventure, is a space dedicated to scenography and is anything but static.

The design for “reducing natural risks” was conceived by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. Known for his use of cardboard in designing sustainable buildings, the exhibition highlights Ban’s temporary lodgings, including schools and churches that were built in refugee camps of natural disasters around Africa.

In the museum, the tubes are arranged in organic curves and waves reminiscent of a forest or wetlands, giving a sense of flexibility, strength and resilience, says Ban.

In one particular room Ban has created an interactive game for visitors, which tests their decision-making skills as if they were to experience a hurricane. The game then monitors and rates their individual responses.

Francis Kéré’s contribution to the exhibition is seen in an archive construction. Drawing on the concept of “restoring family links”, Kéré installed consultation tables and large glass cabinets. These hold various documents of civilians and prisoners of World War I.

On a hemp-lined wall photographs of children from Rwanda are displayed, which seeks to aid these children in reuniting with their families after the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

The main feature of Gringo Cardia’s “defining human dignity” showcases a large foot, which appears to have descended from the sky. The sculpture of a foot is a symbol of the power of oppression as it stands on various projections depicting people affected by disaster and conflict.

A huge foot could be one that crushes others, or one that runs, fragile and barefoot, for survival, says Cardia.

Red Cross Museum: The Humanitarian Adventure is a permanent exhibition at the Musée Internationale de la Croix-Rouge in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Watch the Talk with Francis Kéré