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Participatory Architecture: Community Involvement in Project Development

Participatory Architecture: Community Involvement in Project Development

Naidi Community Hall / CAUKIN Studio. Photo: © Katie EdwardsKindergarten Zimbabwe / Studio Anna Heringer. Photo: © Margarethe HolzerMultiprogram Ship, Vertical System of Sports and Cultural Platforms / Alejandro Haiek / LAB PRO FAB. Photo: © Julio Cesar MesaUVA El Paraiso / EDU - Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín. Photo: © Alejandro Arango+ 39

When designing community spaces, the architectural concept can easily clash with the user's experience. Therefore, engaging the community and future users in the project development and design process is a way of adding different perspectives to the architect's vision towards a more intelligent architecture.

By combining the knowledge of many individuals, a building becomes more efficient, with solutions that are more compatible with the context in which it is located. Moreover, working with the community is an opportunity to exchange techniques and vernacular skills, also providing opportunities for the people who are involved in the construction from the very beginning.

Espacios de Paz (Spaces for Peace) in Cumaná. Photo: © José Tomás Franco
Espacios de Paz (Spaces for Peace) in Cumaná. Photo: © José Tomás Franco

The physical construction of a building or a public space is only an excuse. In the end, what we want is to create citizens. The community is not only a protagonist because it engages volunteers, young misfits, or people with no opportunities in the construction, (but also because) they become involved in the design and building development. They start to debate, to think, and to visualize these spaces, the scale, and the colors. This is the beginning of a fundamental process: understanding that they are responsible for changing their own reality.

This quote by Venezuelan architect José Naza Rodríguez from PGRC captures in a nutshell how architecture with community participation can transform the everyday lives of the people involved and provide valuable insights for architects. Therefore, we have gathered ten projects from around the world that use participatory design and engage the community as their main collaborators.

Multiprogram Ship, Vertical System of Sports and Cultural Platforms / Alejandro Haiek / LAB PRO FAB. Photo: © Julio Cesar Mesa
Multiprogram Ship, Vertical System of Sports and Cultural Platforms / Alejandro Haiek / LAB PRO FAB. Photo: © Julio Cesar Mesa
Section - Multiprogram Ship, Vertical System of Sports and Cultural Platforms / Alejandro Haiek / LAB PRO FAB
Section - Multiprogram Ship, Vertical System of Sports and Cultural Platforms / Alejandro Haiek / LAB PRO FAB

Based on concepts of urban acupuncture and self-sustainability, the Multiprogram Ship - a participatory urban development initiative consisting of a series of interventions in the public areas of Caracas, capital of Venezuela - is an urban device that connects the main mobility systems of the neighborhood, a building capable of creating new relationships with the public space through its different vertical platforms.

Kindergarten Zimbabwe / Studio Anna Heringer. Photo: © Stefano Mori
Kindergarten Zimbabwe / Studio Anna Heringer. Photo: © Stefano Mori
Sketch - Kindergarten Zimbabwe / Studio Anna Heringer
Sketch - Kindergarten Zimbabwe / Studio Anna Heringer

The permaculture community PORET in Zimbabwe follows the philosophy of holistic sustainability since 1996. The PORET-kindergarten is a pilot project, within their principles, (re)generating local craftsmanship and building know-how.

Käpäcläjui Indigenous Training Center / Entre Nos Atelier. Photo: © Ingrid Johanning
Käpäcläjui Indigenous Training Center / Entre Nos Atelier. Photo: © Ingrid Johanning
Axonometric projection - Käpäcläjui Indigenous Training Center / Entre Nos Atelier
Axonometric projection - Käpäcläjui Indigenous Training Center / Entre Nos Atelier

The project for the Käpäcläjui Indigenous Training Center in Costa Rica emerged from a series of proposals following participatory design workshops. These activities were key in fostering a sense of belonging in the community when it came to visualizing and making decisions. It was an opportunity to understand and co-create spaces that were more coherent with their surroundings and centered on the user's needs.

Community Center Camburi / CRU! Architects. Photo: © Nelson Kon
Community Center Camburi / CRU! Architects. Photo: © Nelson Kon
Axonometric projection - Community Center Camburi / CRU! Architects
Axonometric projection - Community Center Camburi / CRU! Architects

The Community Center of Camburi in Brazil is a building by and for the local low-income community of quilombolas, descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves who escaped from plantations. It was built as a social development project and, while CRU! offered technical assistance and finances, the community decided all of the content and program of the building over the last 10 years.

Renacer de Chamanga Community House / Actuemos Ecuador. Photo: © Kliwadenkonovas
Renacer de Chamanga Community House / Actuemos Ecuador. Photo: © Kliwadenkonovas
Renacer de Chamanga Community House / Actuemos Ecuador. Photo: © Kliwadenkonovas
Renacer de Chamanga Community House / Actuemos Ecuador. Photo: © Kliwadenkonovas

The project for the Renacer de Chamanga Community Center in Ecuador started with community workshops to understand and prioritize people's needs. This also allowed us to understand the local resources and the workforce existing in the shelter. In other words, this first stage was vital for the community to practice everything they learned and to complete their communal space in later stages.

Naidi Community Hall / CAUKIN Studio. Photo: © Katie Edwards
Naidi Community Hall / CAUKIN Studio. Photo: © Katie Edwards
Section - Naidi Community Hall / CAUKIN Studio
Section - Naidi Community Hall / CAUKIN Studio

The design of the Naidi Community Hall in Fiji was the result of a collaborative process that began 6 months prior to the project start date and included input from the community at every stage of the design development. Much of the detailing and ongoing research happened concurrently with the project construction, with all foreign participants living with the families of Naidi Village and gaining experience and knowledge through cultural immersion.

Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten / Sarquella + Torres Arquitectes. Photo: © Beer Singnoi
Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten / Sarquella + Torres Arquitectes. Photo: © Beer Singnoi
Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten / Sarquella + Torres Arquitectes. Photo: © Beer Singnoi
Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten / Sarquella + Torres Arquitectes. Photo: © Beer Singnoi

The Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten in Thailand also fostered this intimate creative environment with local and foreign workers and students living together during the construction. Using local resources and techniques, they were able to define educational and recreational needs, redefine the spatial requirements, and create a socially rewarding project.

Social Housing in Pinotepa Nacional / HDA: Hector Delmar Arquitectura + M+N Diseño. Photo: © Jaime Navarro Soto
Social Housing in Pinotepa Nacional / HDA: Hector Delmar Arquitectura + M+N Diseño. Photo: © Jaime Navarro Soto
Scheme - Social Housing in Pinotepa Nacional / HDA: Hector Delmar Arquitectura + M+N Diseño
Scheme - Social Housing in Pinotepa Nacional / HDA: Hector Delmar Arquitectura + M+N Diseño

This project for Social Housing in Pinotepa Nacional, Mexico, is a prime example of participatory and community architecture, in which residents were interviewed and asked to draw their ideal home, providing great insight into their lifestyle and traditions. From there, the project focused on designing each house according to the needs of each family, the local climate, and the characteristics of the terrain.

UVA Sol De Oriente / EDU. Photo: © Alejandro Arango
UVA Sol De Oriente / EDU. Photo: © Alejandro Arango
Exploded axonometric - UVA Sol De Oriente / EDU
Exploded axonometric - UVA Sol De Oriente / EDU

Finally, we have two projects of the UVA - Unidades de Vida Articulada (units of articulated life) program in Colombia, Sol de Oriente and El Paraiso, which are urban interventions in neighborhoods, intended for public gatherings, and to encourage and foster sports, recreation, culture, and community participation.

UVA El Paraiso / EDU - Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín. Photo: © Alejandro Arango
UVA El Paraiso / EDU - Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín. Photo: © Alejandro Arango
Sketch - UVA El Paraiso / EDU - Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín
Sketch - UVA El Paraiso / EDU - Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano de Medellín

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Collective Design. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.

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About this author
Cite: Delaqua, Victor. "Participatory Architecture: Community Involvement in Project Development " [Arquitetura participativa: quando a comunidade se faz presente no processo projetual] 04 Jun 2021. ArchDaily. (Trans. Duduch, Tarsila) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/962519/participatory-architecture-community-involvement-in-project-development> ISSN 0719-8884
Bang Nong Saeng Kindergarten / Sarquella + Torres Arquitectes. Photo: © Beer Singnoi

参与性建筑:项目开发中的社区参与

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