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Spotlight: Architect at NJIT To Help Start Rebuilding Better Buildings in Haiti

Rima Taher, a structural engineer at NJIT, has accepted an invitation from Architecture for Humanity (AFH) to join architects and engineers creating a construction guide for rebuilding in earthquake and hurricane-prone areas. 

The guide would be used as a resource to builders as they begin their efforts in Haiti.  The manual will cover job site safety, dos and don'ts for earthquake and hurricane-resistant building and a list of appropriate/sustainable materials. It will be distributed for non-commercial use.

Taher, who teaches in the NJIT College of Architecture and Design, recently wrote about best building practices for hurricanes in Caribbean Construction Magazine.  "The information in this article might be very helpful in putting this resource together,” she said. “AFH anticipates sending a team to Haiti soon and hopes to make this resource available to other groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Build Change and Project Build."

Taher teaches courses related to wind and earthquakes with guidelines and recommendations for better design and construction in hurricane and earthquake-prone areas. She also helps prepare architecture graduates for the certifying exam and has authored a book on the topic.

Taher has written extensively about best building design and construction practices to reduce wind pressures on building surfaces and to resist high winds and hurricanes in residential or commercial construction. “Design of Low-Rise Buildings for Extreme Wind Events” (Journal of Architectural Engineering, March, 2007) by Taher highlighted such research findings. Wind researchers at the Center for Building Science and Technology (CSTB) in France, researched and tested reduced-scale home models at its wind tunnel facilities, and developed a prototype of a “cyclonic” or hurricane-resistant dwelling. Taher cooperated with the CSTB wind researchers, working on the structural aspect of the home’s design. 

AFH  is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999.  It focuses on building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design.  By tapping a network of more than 40,000 professionals willing to lend time and expertise to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services, AFH brings design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed.

Contact: Sheryl Weinstein, public relations director, NJIT (973-596-3436)