As head of construction of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Samuel Bonnet has established and led large-scale projects in countries affected by armed conflicts and natural disasters. Before he joined the ICRC ten years ago, Bonnet graduated from a French Grande École and was a partner at a prominent, Paris-based international firm that pioneered sustainable architecture. He has also taught Urban Planning at several schools of architecture and planning.
Bonnet has significantly contributed to the development of a meaningful humanitarian response in urban areas. He has overseen construction projects in more than 20 countries, notably in Haiti, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Myanmar. Bonnet authored the Physical Rehabilitation Centres Architectural Programming Handbook and participated in the writing of several interagency manuals on design standards in humanitarian environments.
Crises are increasingly occurring in urban settings. Led by new actors, they are more episodic and protracted. Many in the field believe that humanitarian work should be remodeled to cope with these changes. Bonnet sees the design of the built environment as a significant vehicle in this endeavor, because of its focus on urban issues and its relation to development and private sectors. Bonnet’s intention for the Loeb Fellowship year is to engage the Graduate School of Design and other Harvard programs to work collaboratively toward a new model of humanitarian action.