Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Small Scale, Big Change

Primary School
Architect: Diebedo Francis Kere
Place: Gando, Burkina Faso

New Architecture of Social Engagement


The organizers of this show Andres Lepik and Margot Weller used about two years of research to come up with 11 projects from all over the world. Projects that can give us an insight to what can be done and are done architecturally as a "Social Engagement". The show represents the change of focus in architecture as a help in changing the mindset of people and society. The need to use what we have, materials and space for a more environmental and a better public outcome. Teaching the inhabitants to better take care of themselves, and brick by brick building their own school like the project above in Burkina Faso, where 80% are illiterate.

"... We have to help come up with innovative ideas and help conserve resources and therefore help nurture a future free of crisis."
                       - Diabedo Francis Kere

Meti - Handmade School
Architect: Anna Herringer
Place: Village of Rudrapur, Bangladesh

Or in Bangladesh a school made of earth, clay, sand and straw.

"Imagine then the human ability to build with nothing but the natural material just under our feet - and with our hands..."
                       - Anna Heringer

Inner City Arts
Architec: Michael Maltzan
Place: Los Angeles California.

The Inner-City Arts complex in L.A. was first an unused garage in the Skid Row neighborhood. It was built in three phases and can be seen as an answer to the cuts that was made against Arts in School. In California 29% of public schools do not offer arts education. Now 10,600 kids takes classes at the Inner-City Arts center every year. What a bright light in a an otherwise unsafe environment. 

Housing for the Fishermen of Tyre
Architect: Hashim Sarkis Alud
Place: Tyre, Lebanon

This beautiful project with 93, 2-bedroom apartments is made for the Fishermen of Tyre who earns about 15$ a day. The Greek Orthodox church agreed to donate a parcel outside of the historic city center (the ancient city is on the UNESCO world heritage list) to the fishermen´s Al Baqaa housing cooperative.
With the help of the architect Hashim Sarkis they manage to build a home with their small budget that represents their lifestyle. 

Casa Familiar
Architect: Estudio Teddy Cruz
Place: San Ysidro, California

At the border of the United States and Mexico, between San Diego and Tijuana they are building; "Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Childcare". What? Senior Housing with Childcare? Is this for real? What a wonderful idea I thought. What better than to age and still have the youngest ones to look at for life and laughter?
This should be an inspiration to many more projects I hope. A great integration in a place where most of us would not even dare to stop our cars. Here they will integrate immigration services, education and job placements as well. 

If there were only more of these projects happening, they found about 12 others that could have been represented.. far from what we can wish for. But, seeing this actually happening makes me so incredibly happy and inspired.

With Love


  1. This is beautiful Kristin! I truly love your posts!

  2. That is fascinating...What an amazing concept. I love that something like that is taking place and its so cool to see how different resources each project used:)
    Thanks for the inspiring post,sweetie

    Ps: I am hosting a $50 gift certificate GIVEAWAY today, so please join in :) ...I bet you will love it!!!

  3. I just saw a write-up of this show, it sounds fantastic! I love exhibits like this because it sheds so much light on the importance of art (I think of architecture as a kind of art :)) in society. Thanks for this great peek!

    P.S. The Honolulu photo was from back in the summer (part of a Flickr August project I joined, posting photos of home:)). I'm kinda (dreading) gearing up for another loong winter in London...but keeping my fingers crossed for job changes that would keep me Stateside until the darker months end! (3pm London winter sunsets are no fun!)

  4. What a great project and so well done- I really like how they include so many different parts of the world with a unifying theme. When I was in high school I was part of a group that went to Venezuela and built sections of an elementary school out of Adobe bricks-

  5. Excellent exhibition.

    It is not rocket science, but it IS very smart to change of focus in architecture in helping a society (or part of a society).

    I think most thinking people will understand that architecture needs to use environmentally sound materials and designs. The big leap is to create clever facilities that actually meet the needs of the population who will be using those facilities.

  6. Very inspiring projects- thanks for sharing!

  7. This is amazing, art with a purpose (though I guess it all has purpose, right?). Love! XX!

  8. Kristin, this one's absolutely awe inspiring and thought provoking!

  9. a church that i go to sometimes just raised funds to build a school/orphanage in an african community...i can't believe how cheap it was to build from our perspective...was so cool to see it finished!!! one of the ladies was involved with building so got to report back -it was pretty cool.
    p.s. tiles are my new favorite thing, i think!

  10. Very cool project!
    Thanks for sharing these pics!


  11. Thank you Kristin! Nice to get all these compliments. I hope many people will come and see the show. Best, Andres

  12. Great pictures and i agree, this looks like a wonderful project. :)SarahD

  13. This is such an awesome project! That senior center with childcare and your view on it kinda choked me up! It's brilliant, really... and certainly inspiring.

  14. I deeply appreciate all your wonderful comments! Thank you:)