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Social Design: The Latest Architecture and News

Words on the Street: Art, Architecture, and the Public Protest

This article was originally published as "What Marchers Today Can Learn from the May 1968 Protests in Paris" on CommonEdge in May 2018. In the 50 years since the historic and worldwide protests of 1968, much has changed. But today's political climate seems equally volatile, with seismic changes threatening social and political establishments across the globe. Lessons from the past are, to borrow the phrase of the moment, more relevant than ever.

American friends recently sent an email: “What’s going on with the French political system? Why all the strikes? What about the endless protest marches? We’d like to visit you in Paris, but we’re a little wary.”

Social Design Work in Mexico Brings Community, Solidarity and Local Materials Together

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.

How Earthbags and Glass Bottles Can 'Build' a Community

A design by C-re-a.i.d. for a Maasai village in northern Tanzania, is a morphological response to the imposed need to settle, using sustainable, local and accessible materials to redefine its construction culture.

The project is built by a series of earthbags and glass bottles that in addition to generating private and comfortable spaces, allow a quick and easy construction.

The Construction Details of ELEMENTAL's Incremental Housing

Good location, harmonious growth over time, concern for urban design, and the delivery of a structure that has "middle-class DNA" are the key points of the ABC of incremental housing, developed in detail by the Chilean architects ELEMENTAL. It's a question of ensuring a balance between "low-rise high-density, without overcrowding, with the possibility of expansion (from social housing to middle-class dwelling)."

Following this line of action, the office has released the drawings of four of the projects carried out under these principles, to serve as good examples of design which have already been implemented and proven in reality. However, despite making them available for free consultation and download, the architects emphasize that these designs must be adjusted to comply with the regulations and structural codes of each locality, using relevant building materials.

Easily Reproducible Disaster Relief Constructions in Bamboo

In 2015, after the catastrophic earthquake in Nepal, Maria da Paz invited Joao Boto Caeiro from RootStudio to design and build a model house in Nepal. Using local and accessible materials, they built two prototype houses out of bamboo and partitions, via a collaboration between locals and volunteers that came to the region.

The prototypes respond to the need for housing that is able to be built quickly with the goal of providing independence and immediate shelter, while at the same time introducing basic building techniques using bamboo and bricks. In doing so, they're able to create a set of tools that allow for future construction that the community can make themselves.

Cortesía de rOOtstudioCortesía de rOOtstudioCortesía de rOOtstudioCortesía de rOOtstudio+ 20

2nd National Architecture Jamboree

The University of Santo Tomas’ Architecture Network (ARCHINET), a recognized student organization, is hosting the 2nd National Architecture Jamboree in the Philippines in order to connect students and professionals from around the country to those around the globe. The National Architecture Jamboree is a four-day event, with the Dynamic Solutions: 9th National Architecture Symposium as its main event to be held on April 21, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Philippines.

Adaptable Bamboo Geodesic Domes Win the Buckminster Fuller Challenge Student Category 2016

Launched in 2007, The Buckminster Fuller Challenge has quickly gained a reputation for being what Metropolis Magazine once called “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award.” This year, for the first time, a Student Category was reviewed separately from the general applications, however still based upon the same criteria: comprehensiveness, feasibility, replicability, ecological responsibility, and how verifiable and anticipatory the project is. Students from the Centre for Human Habitat and Alternative Technology (CHHAT) claimed the prize with their adaptable and lightweight modular domes, made from natural, local or recycled materials.

Courtesy of CHHATCourtesy of CHHATCourtesy of CHHATCourtesy of CHHAT+ 12

Buildify: Unlock the Potential of Bottom-Up Architecture

Buildify connects global professionals with local, community-driven architecture initiatives in need of support. Submit your project today!

Buildify - Architecture in Development’s new initiative is seeking new projects that aspire to improve the lives of rural or urban communities. Buildify supports community-driven architecture projects, helping them connect to the expertise and resources needed to upscale their impact.

Call for Applications: Dutch Design Summer School

Open Set is a two-week thematic program consisting of a series of intensive one or three day workshops, symposiums and film screenings, led by Dutch and international designers, artists and researchers. Our goal is to promote and enhance the social value of design by facilitating debates around the chosen theme from a rich diversity of perspectives, design trends, traditions, and cross-disciplinary cultural practices. The event aims to offer international participants a studio environment where they are inspired to step out of their comfort zone and question the conventional ways of working, experiment with different strategies, techniques, ideas and cross-sector collaborations in order to develop their own practices with confidence.

CatalyticAction Designs Playgrounds for Refugee Children in Bar Elias, Lebanon

"Within humanitarian responses, programmatically, children often become invisible." (Marc Sommers)

The Syrian crisis has forced thousands of families to leave their homes in search of safe places to continue with their lives. Many families have moved to Lebanon, where the UN has raised a series of informal settlements. While effective in providing shelter, they don't provide specific solutions for children, many of whom have had their studies interrupted and don't have public spaces equipped to play sports and interact with other kids.

In response to this situation, the architects of CatalyticAction have designed and built a playground in one of the schools developed by The Kayany Foundation and American University of Beirut's Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service, involving children throughout the entire process and allowing the structure to be easily disassembled, transported and either reassembled or repurposed.

Courtesy of CatalyticAction Courtesy of CatalyticAction Courtesy of CatalyticAction Courtesy of CatalyticAction + 23

Architects Team Up with Khmer Women to Build a Community Centre with Fabric and Concrete

Using an innovative method of casting concrete in lightweight fabric molds, the architects of Orkidstudio -- along with StructureMode -- teamed up with a group of Khmer women in Sihanoukville, Cambodia to rebuild a community centre in the city’s urban heart.

The construction technique was developed and tested by engineers from StructureMode using a combination of physical testing and computer analysis software, Oasys GSA Suite, to predict the stretch of a particular fabric when concrete is poured inside. Through three-dimensional sketches the seamstresses and building team could understand the construction sequence of the form, completing the entire project in just eight weeks.

Courtesy of OrkidstudioCourtesy of Orkidstudio© Lindsay Perth© Lindsay Perth+ 39

Architects Who Make Hope Visible (for the Community and for the Profession)

Continuing with our coverage of Espacios de Paz 2015 (Spaces for Peace) in Venezuela, Plataforma Arquitectura Editor José Tomás Franco reflects on the crisis of the architect who approaches his work abstractly -- without taking into consideration the unique problems and issues of the territory -- and on the strengthening of a collective architecture, that is honest and efficient, not only benefitting the affected communities but also, indirectly, revolutionizing the way we architects do our jobs.

In times of crisis, the need for progress forces us into action. While pressing issues in Latin America generate instances to improve the quality of life in the most vulnerable neighborhoods, architects, which are plentiful in the region, seem pressured to broaden their scope and search for new fertile spaces to work in. This meeting of forces not only translates into a real contribution to a particular community, but also subtly reveals a change in the way in which we practice architecture.

Faced with the highly complex task of meeting the urgent needs of people with limited resources, Latin American architects have been obliged to work based on efficiency and teamwork, recovering key skills and using them to help other human beings. Skills that are essential for showing that our work is fundamental, and not only in the cities' forgotten neighborhoods.

Why do Latin American architects seem to be returning to their roots?

Espacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo ProductoresEspacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo ProductoresEspacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo ProductoresEspacio de Paz project in Punta Arenas, Venezuela (2015). Image © Veo Productores+ 10

Vila Matilde House / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados

© Pedro Kok© Pedro Kok© Pedro Kok© Pedro Kok+ 59

São Paulo, Brazil

Rammed Earth Workshop in Tanzania



Join us at the Eastern slope of the Kilimanjaro from October 31, 2015 to January 30, 2016... See event page for more: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/building-rammed-earth-house-in-tanzania#/story / https://www.facebook.com/events/1442613409399828 Email: erimescupatricia@yahoo.com

We are going to the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania to build a Volunteers Quarter at the Kasirwa Arts Village with Nka Foundation. We are looking to put together an interdisciplinary team for the build. We will immerse in the local environment to explore their building traditions, to discover what resources the community already has and mobilize those

3 Experimental Homes Address Hyper-Urbanization in Africa

By the year 2025, the urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa is predicated to increase by almost 70% -- a rapid urbanization that will inevitably affect the construction sector.

To address this expected growth and to help lay the foundations for a sustainable urban and social development, students from the Institute of Experimental Architecture at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and EiABC (Ethiopian Institute of Architecture Building Construction and City Development) worked together to build three residential prototypes at a 1:1 scale for Addis Ababa: the capital of Ethiopia and the heart of hyper-urbanization. See all of the project details, below.

Courtesy of Bauhaus Experimental BuildingCourtesy of Bauhaus Experimental BuildingCourtesy of Bauhaus Experimental BuildingCourtesy of Bauhaus Experimental Building+ 62

These Schools for Refugee Children in Jordan are Built Using Scaffolding and Sand

Using the ground “beneath your feet,” the Pilosio Building Peace organization, along with architects Pouya Khazaeli and Cameron Sinclair, have developed RE:BUILD, an incredible constructive system for building safe and comfortable structures in refugee camps. The system allows for the construction of temporary buildings of high quality through the use of wall panels formed with scaffolding and grids, which are then assembled and filled with gravel, sand or earth, creating well insulated interiors at a low cost.

Although the structures can be used for hospitals, housing, and other functions on this occasion we present two schools constructed using this system in Jordan.

Za'atari Refugee Camp, Jordan. Image Courtesy of Pilosio Building PeaceZa'atari Refugee Camp, Jordan. Image Courtesy of Pilosio Building PeaceQueen Rania Park, Amman, Jordan. Image Courtesy of Pilosio Building PeaceQueen Rania Park, Amman, Jordan. Image Courtesy of Pilosio Building Peace+ 53

Punta Arenas Tourist Service Station / Colectivo Taller Independiente + Ruta 4 + Pico Estudio

© Rafael Barragán© Veo Productores© Veo Productores© Veo Productores+ 22

In 4 Days, 100 Volunteers Used Mud and Reeds To Build This Community Center in Mexico

Developed by architects from Colectivo bma in Barranca de Huentitán, Guadalajara, Mexico, this new building for the Mexican Institute for Community Development (IMDEC) was built in just four days with the help of 100 volunteers.

The new facility includes both housing and meeting space, and was constructed using local building techniques and materials. Built with a concrete base, the walls were made using bahareque (reed frames and mud) and woven reed lattices that cover most of the building’s exterior.

Learn more about the construction process after the break. 

Construction Process. Image © Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez© Pedro Bravo, Sofia Hernández, Francisco Martínez+ 53