Jan 28, 2014

Sensibility and interventions.

Shrip Restaurant, ANAPRA, Mexico.

I tend to take many pictures that serve as example of buildings that where self made by the owner. Of course, I do try to investigate if, indeed, what I am looking at was self-built.

For what I have gathered, people who don't seek the aid of a professional to build, are people who have smaller incomes and thus a reduced quality of life in many other senses. Architecture can be quite elitist in that regard, and I find myself wondering about professionals intervening in a self build culture. 
As important it is to understand what people do and why they do it, I find that architects and designers usually turn a blind side to the non professionally done constructions. But it is a very useful resource to at least get sensible about DIY building.

 In my final year of architecture school, while doing my thesis project, (calling it a thesis is technically wrong, it was more like a 'final school project that will be evaluated in the most rigorous and painful strict fashion'; but we called it a 'thesis project' at my school just to shorten it a bit) I spent a lot of time investigating the area where my project would be in.
The area in concrete is a very interesting case study called ANAPRA, way up in the north of Mexico. I most certainty will get into detail about this area in future posts; any way, the thing is, that about 98% of the buildings in that small community where built by the locals.
Aside from some schools and small government health centers almost all was self built; from the parks to the stores, and even the street grid had been figured out (for better or worst) by the residents.

Shrip Restaurant, ANAPRA, Mexico

To try to introduce your own notions into an urban landscape that, not only is almost untouched by someone who approaches construction with an academic background, but that belongs so much to the people that inhabit it, is one of the most daunting and fascinating thins.

 During the development of my thesis project I kept referring to amazing and ambitious urban projects that concentrate on the Colombian city of Medellin:  Street integration interventions, as well as incorporating libaries and schools to the most fringe parts of the city.
I provide links that talk more in depth about this projects.

It is important to realize that non professionally done buildings can teach professionals a lot of things, we can understand urban environments and be more effective and sensitive in our projects at the same time.
DIY buildings say a lot to architects but are we interested in listening?

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