Architect Jonathan Marvel works to rebuild roofs in Puerto Rico following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Photo by Ian Allen.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) runs an annual Film Challenge, which highlights architects who are taking action to bring architectural solutions to communities. This year, the film produced takes a look at resiliency efforts in Puerto Rico following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The hurricane left much of the island without power for upwards of 6 months, and homes in the most populated area of the island, Caño Martín Peña, were destroyed and left without roofs. Several architects saw the need for their expertise in the recovery efforts. They worked with “local community and civic leaders to install solar panel hubs in the Caño Martín Peña neighborhood and design and build hurricane-wind resistant roofs,” in order to prevent similar suffering in the future.
The AIA’s annual Film Challenge is a part of their national public awareness campaign, Blueprint for Better, which highlights the role of architects and architecture in communities. Through this campaign, the AIA participates in many film festival screening events to showcase the films it produces, including the short documentary film on resiliency efforts in Puerto Rico. Caitlin Reagan, Senior Manager of Public affairs for the AIA, wanted to find a way for viewers of the documentary to walk away feeling a connection to the Blueprint for Better mission. So they turned to LuminAID.
“We wanted to provide a tchotchke that was more meaningful than a stress ball or a pen.”
The AIA ordered custom-printed LuminAID lights that featured their logo and website URL.
The lanterns tied in perfectly with the premise of the film, especially given LuminAID’s own response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. As Reagan herself put it:
Screening a film in front of an audience is powerful, but sending the viewers home with a cool item that displays a call-to-action really helps you expand the conversation and the engagement into something meaningful. It was our hope that people felt the emotion and impact from the story in our film, but then later, after the screening, reflected on the premise of the film when they used the lantern in their own weather emergency or perhaps a camping trip.
By gifting an item that meant something more and connected to their mission, the AIA was able to extend the conversation of their event well beyond the screening itself. The LuminAID solar lanterns allowed the organization to stand out at crowded festivals and gave their viewers a way to engage with their story on a deeper level.
If you’re interested in learning more about the AIA’s Blueprint for Better campaign, please visit blueprintforbetter.org.