This year’s Design Studio 1 is fosussed on designing for communities in various places around the world- from villagers living in Polish ex-state-owned farms (PGRs) to inhabitants of Makoko, a floating district in Lagos, Nigeria. Yet, instead of just providing architectural solutions we are working on a holistic approach starting with mechanisms of creating community empowerment, motivation for participatory projects and a need for agency in which people are developing their own relity within a set of boundaries referring to games and urban development plans. This way every student or student team (since I strongly encourage teamwork!) become „grand masters” of visions that have to enable hypothetic future users to subsequently overtake the vision from them in order to identify with their own environments.
I put a strong accent on time and evolution of space and human interactions encouraging students, a mixed group from various countries, to deeply research local context in different facets, but also to study exemples of good and bad practices fro the same geographical location and referential exemples abroad before launching themselves into designing mechanisms, rules, processes, urban organisations and finally architecture. At the same time the complexity of the task makes me suggest the students to consciously choose their own design methodology and the most adequate set of tools, inluding the ones serving for the best representation of the entire project.
These principles come as conclusions drawn from the last decade of my own practice as an architect working with very different community-related tasks, from Western Australia’s town of Narrogin, through Kazach capital of Astana-Nursultan, to Zuesedom village in Eastern Germany.
Jakub Szczęsny, PhD, tutor of DS1 at ASK