This project emerged during the summer of 2015, when CHOPEkE Collective, together with Paúl Pérez, a seminarian and active member of the group, visited the community of Santa Luisa de Marillac, located in the central periphery of Ciudad Juárez. At the time, members of the community had an "unworthy" space -as they called it- for their meetings and spiritual activities.
The role of the architect—and even architecture itself—in society today is changing. A lack of interest in critical social issues from a profession that holds such high responsibility within a community is a problem that should no longer be avoided.
In an exhibit currently on show at the Center for Architecture and Design in Seattle titled "In the Public Interest," Garrett Nelli Assoc. AIA challenges the profession of architecture to establish a focus on more community-engaged design. With the help of the 2017 AIA Seattle Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship, Nelli traveled to Los Angeles, rural Alabama, Haiti, Italy and New Orleans, all the while analyzing how the built environment has the ability to influence social change.
Read on for an edited interview with Nelli about his research and how you can begin to implement elements into your design practice to help promote social change in your own communities.
Plan Selva (Jungle Plan) -- a project to build modular schools in Amazonian villages -- was selected as the focal point of the Peruvian pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. In light of this, we take a look at the work of two other organizations that have been carrying out major projects in the country's largest natural region: ConstruyeIdentidad, which creates innovative projects using traditional materials and techniques and an exchange of ideas between students, professionals and the community; and Semillas, an organization that designs educational spaces used as areas of communication between indigenous communities, promoting the development of these relationships and exchanges through participatory processes.
At this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial the directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda asked participating architects to demonstrate the “State of the Art of Architecture" by submitting projects that they felt told a story about architecture’s importance in society. As explained in this video by Politico Magazine, native Chicagoan Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects responded to this call by looking at an issue that has plagued American cities in startling ways in recent years: the troubled relationships between communities and their police forces. Often hidden behind fortress-like buildings, police stations in their current form tend to project an image closer to hostile than welcoming. But Gang believes it doesn’t have to be that way.
After the fire this past April in Valparaíso, Chile, a group of young architects went to the port city to develop a reconstruction project based on energy efficiency, recycled materials, and adaptability to Valparaíso's topographic context. The Minga Valpo project has not only achieved these objectives, but it has also allowed families to help build their own houses. In a mere three months, Minga Valpo has already built three houses.
Take a look at photographs of the project and read the architects' description after the break.