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Newport Beach, Calif. -- While government aid officials and international agencies struggle with the problems of housing thousands of Afghans whose homes have been destroyed in 24 years of warfare, an Afghan-American architect and his associates here have come up with detailed low-cost plans for rapid reconstruction, adaptable from single houses or the smallest village to the ruined urban neighborhoods of bombed-out Kabul.

Born and raised in Kabul , Masum Azizi [AIA], president of Azizi Architects in Newport Beach , California , was already an experienced architect and builder when he came to the U.S. in 1980 after the USSR invaded his country.  Before taking degrees in architecture at Kabul University and the Royal Danish Academy , he worked with his father, a builder, gaining hands-on experience in traditional Afghan construction methods.  He knows Afghan architectural traditions, local conditions, cultural requirements, and local building materials -- primarily adobe and stone -- as well as the modern construction techniques that can adapt and improve them -- making them, for example, earthquake-resistant in earthquake-prone Afghanistan .

Eager to help restore his ruined homeland, Azizi and his associates -- who include planners and structural, civil and environmental engineers -- have developed a series of flexible plans for houses, schools, and entire villages and towns which can be adapted to the widely varied traditional styles, lifestyles and environments of Afghanistan's rugged landscape and multicultural society.  They can be built with local labor at low cost, less than pre-fabs, thus providing jobs and training for Afghan builders and craftsmen, who can also take pride in rebuilding their country with their own hands.  Built of adobe using modern techniques, they can provide permanent hubs for future expansion and development.

Detailed plans for "The Village of Hope" projects include not only houses but community facilities -- schools, clinics, shops, mosques, and parks -- and infrastructure.  Since many Afghans have been crippled by land mines, everything is accessible to the handicapped.

With the assistance of the nonprofit Afghanistan Rescue Effort of Bloomfield, CT., Azizi is currently working to raise $3.5 million for a pilot demonstration project.  He estimates that it will take six months to complete the first village, but the program can be implemented on a national scale to build 100,000 homes per year -- enabling thousands of former fighters to exchange their guns for construction jobs and skills. The plan includes training and step-by-step instructional material that will enable local builders to proceed on their own long after foreign aid programs have ended.

Illustration attached; additional drawings available on request.

For further information, contact Masum Azizi Tel: (949) 718-0368; email:

1470 Jamboree Road, Suite 200 , Newport Beach , California 92660
Tel: 949-718-0368  Fax: 949-718-0403


Afghan Network Bulletin No. 324-300-2002-10

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