2014_Summer School 3.0_Day 1

The third edition of the ArhiPera Summer School of social participatory architecture starts on an early midsummer morning. 
Bucharest. Prof. Augustin Ioan, Arch, PhD, is telling the students about the challenges of converting ideas into projects. Strong noises can be heard coming from a construction site. Both the professor’s words and the nearby construction activity are indicative of the relation to the real world and the ambivalent nature of the conversion. Negotiation, productive communication, determination, uniqueness. The efficient influence exerted upon the communities is put into practice through integrated intervention programmes. Devoting time to the community – understanding the concept of habitation – involving architecture in the social field can all turn into a possible triad with respect to the idea of populating space with quality architecture.

Architects exert their influence not only on space, but also on time, by making creative use of the resources available at the local level. The birth of the house triggers the structure of the surrounding space and establishes models for the members of the community and for those outside it. When you relate to “poverism” you come closer to the community, rediscover basic materials, carefully observe the spirit of the place, involve the beneficiaries; these aspects can be found in the ArhiPera projects and approach. Experiments are situated between the relation to the archetype and the creation of landmarks.

Lorin Niculae shifts the accent to the importance of innovation in creating added value by underlining that this repository of concepts and ideas represents as many resources contributing to the personal development and the position of the individual within the community he belongs to. This will help him obtain better results and find more relevant architectural solutions for the community he chooses to take action in.

Public interest architecture was the topic of the first lecture held by Lorin Niculae by sketching an overview of the context of being an architect while mentioning the main aspects: the alarming level of poverty at the national and global scale, reconsidering the role of the architect with respect to social relevance, the development of slums and their inherent problems, the documents elaborated by the main institutions in the field as a reaction to the current situation. L.Niculae emphasized the importance of assuming the role of mediator and deepening the domain of social justice through a series of examples of social participatory architecture. 
Social participatory architecture is at the same time experiment, process, collective action, community consolidation, reflexive practice, the promotion of cultural identity, open building, non-formal education. SPA has three components – planning, education and advocacy – and aims at turning SIASPA into a model in higher education with a focus on planning for real beneficiaries and disadvantaged communities, the importance of research and changing the paradigm.

In a village in Călăraşi, children are dividing space in two by looking and playing hide-and-seek. They are both inside and outside. They are still reluctant to the new reality; the lines uniting them imagine an invisible triangle projected on the material rectangle of the recently-built foundation. A little further, a house developed starting from a window and became able to shelter people. Soon the house will develop even more, redefining the space again. Two new dwellings will be built and the existing one will be extended. On the site people are discussing, pointing, measuring, and calculating. They are getting ready for building.

In the afternoon, students start work on their projects. Far away, you can see a few children wearing coloured clothes. They are not aware that they are valuable beneficiaries of the houses to be built.”