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Social Change

Architecture's Evolving Role: How Community-Engaged Design Can Encourage Social Change

09:30 - 28 March, 2018
Architecture's Evolving Role: How Community-Engaged Design Can Encourage Social Change, Gheskio Cholera Treatment Center, in Port-au- Prince, Haiti, designed by MASS Design Group – a project featured in Garrett Nelli’s upcoming exhibit, In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility, at the Center for Architecture & Design. Image © Garrett Nelli
Gheskio Cholera Treatment Center, in Port-au- Prince, Haiti, designed by MASS Design Group – a project featured in Garrett Nelli’s upcoming exhibit, In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility, at the Center for Architecture & Design. Image © Garrett Nelli

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.

Giving People Agency in Public Space: The Artwork of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

08:00 - 2 November, 2017
Giving People Agency in Public Space: The Artwork of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, © Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
© Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

In the past, cities were often constructed in the likeness the public--the built environment reflected citizens and local culture. It is questionable whether this can be said of the modern world. Much construction today is a product of capitalism, generating buildings and areas in which local people have no attachment or sense of agency over. Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer believes this to be a fundamental crisis within our cities, and he is committed to reestablishing the relationship and representation of people within urban space. His work is examined in a new short film by PLANE-SITE, titled Public Interruptions.

A building today does not represent a citizen, a building today represents capital.