On August 18 Al Jazeera will launch “Rebel Architecture,” a new series featuring architects who use design as a form of resistance and activism. By designing for the majority rather than the elite, the architects in “Rebel Architecture” are tackling the world’s urban, environmental and social problems. Through six, half-hour documentaries the series will highlight architects working in Vietnam, Nigeria, Spain, Pakistan, the Occupied West Bank and Brazil.
“In contemporary architecture, people are always concerned with ‘what a beautiful building’; or ‘what a pretty project’ – architecture should be about something more,” said Spanish architect Santi Cirugeda, who will be featured in the series’ first episode. Cirugeda works in Seville reclaiming abandoned urban spaces for the public, despite the fact that self-building is illegal in Spain.
Episodes will also feature Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect and an expert in providing disaster relief shelters, Eyal Weizman, an Israeli architecture who studies architecture’s role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the evolution of urban warfare, and Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia who seeks to design environmentally sustainable buildings as well as low-cost housing solutions for Vietnam’s poorest communities. Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi will also be featured as he seeks to implement floating buildings to solve flooding and overcrowding in Nigeria’s waterside slums, as will Brazil’s Ricardo de Olivera who despite not having any formal training has built over one hundred houses in his local community of Rocinha, Brazil’s largest favela.
“This series challenges our conceptions of architecture and design, and the way we cover them in the media”, said Giles Trendle, Director of Programmes at Al Jazeera English, in a press release.
Stay tuned as we bring you the episodes each week, and for more information follow @RebelArchitects on Twitter.