‘Ripe Hairy Red Fruit’ introduces several subjects and questions that have been cropping up over the last two years:
Imbak Canyon, Maliau Basin and Danum Valley conservation areas, the ‘economic value’ of rainforest conservation and forest rehabilitation and management.
On the Arkitrek itself we had an architectural design brief to work to but in many ways this was secondary to the bigger picture that we were involved in. All of these above mentioned themes will crop up in subsequent posts but first a little background is relevant.
A year before the Arkitrek came about, I was invited to participate in a Raleigh International expedition to Sabah, Malaysia. Raleigh posted me to the fledgling Imbak Canyon Conservation Area where my role was to coach a team of young volunteers to survey the site and generate design concepts for a rainforest Field Studies Centre. Our partner in this project was Yayasan Sabah (Sabah Foundation).
Yayasan Sabah is a Malaysian Non Government Organisation (NGO) that aims to raise the standard of living of Malaysians living in Sabah. To generate income for this mission the Malaysian Government granted Yayasan Sabah a large forestry concession which is to be managed over a period of 100 years. Whilst most of this concession is designated ‘production forest’ Yayasan Sabah has voluntarily set aside over 1300 square km of primary rainforest for research and conservation. This area is divided between the three conservation areas mentioned above.
After the success of the Raleigh International Imbak project I pursuaded Yayasan Sabah to take me on directly as a volunteer architect. My intention had been to pursue the Imbak Canyon project but in reality a whole variety of projects came out of the woodwork in all three conservation areas. There was even a little side project in a tiny fourth conservation area known as Tanjung Tumonong Hullo.
Thus my second trip to Sabah came about and kept me busy from September to December 2004, during which time I wrote ‘Ripe Hairy Red Fruit’ and the following post ‘Prof Ho’.