Description of the action
The participatory action will start with implementation from 15 October 2015 until 17 October 2015, led by the Faculty of Architecture in Skopje. The purpose of this activity will be to create a practical tool set and methodology consisting of possible and doable concepts for building according to the perception of reality and needs of the dwellers.
The previous workshop held in the Municipality of Ilinden was meant for architecture students to learn about vernacular approach in architecture and for the local inhabitants a chance to recreate their perception of dwelling.
Urban fragment from the neighborhood, Ilinden
The Municipality of Ilinden evolved from a village and was rapidly inhabited during the 1960s. It has almost orthogonal street pattern and regular shaped lots. Despite this urban characteristic, in some fragments of the neighborhood, rural activities are still noticeable.
Neighborhood of Ilinden
As a response to the specifies of this particular context, where a lack of community space is noticeable as well as a particular need for additional private facilities, the concepts are expected to explore new possibilities that will complement the missing architectural elements. The semiprivate spaces, houses front yard that are meeting the public zone of the street, will be in the focus for reprogramming and restructuring of the neighborhood landscape. Architectural concepts will be created by leading the following steps as a methodological strategy of the workshop.
STEP 1 – Educative and informative meeting with residents where the mentors and students will present and introduce the importance of the semiprivate spaces.
STEP 2 – Interactive meeting with residents where they will identify their spatial needs and will map the required facilities.
STEP 3 – Architectural conceptualization of the resident’s requirements (working on development of the new spatial concepts that will redefine the semiprivate threshold between private/home and public/street space.
STEP 4 – Presentation of the new developed concepts to the local authorities of the Municipality of Ilinden.
The main goal of this participatory action is the engagement between the dwellers and students of architecture to collaborate in order to identify the needs of the inhabitants. Accordingly, there is a pedagogical purpose behind the action, regarding the students and the dwellers, who will be taking part of a social design process.
The pedagogical objectives for each type of participants in this joint initiative are the following:
For the students of architecture:
· Students will create a practical tool set and methodology consists of possible and doable concepts for building according the needs of dwellers, to experience the process where dwellers make their own decisions based on their perception of reality.
· This experience will foster students to approach their future professional work as negotiators between dwellers and local authorities.
· Students will learn about cohesion through planning/thinking – design by research, which can be adapted according to the needs of the dwellers.
· To learn how to live and build/design in corelation with the surrounding.
· To understand how the use of proper materials can complement the existing building without interfering with the environment.
· To understand architecture, not as distinct elements, but as integrated components which function as a whole and observed as a coherent picture.
This interaction is expected to result with dwellers learning about thinking architecture as a part of whole, not just as separate components that do not communicate among each other and the surrounding and they should also learn to think critical about their living environment based on guidelines learnt by the students.
On the other hand, the students should help dwellers to learn about architecture, space and aesthetic. Students will learn how to analyze and make use of the inhabitants needs and create practical tool sets.
- Students from 9th semester, 5th year from the Faculty of Architecture in Skopje and students from Belgrade will participate in the activities. The meetings will take place at the Faculty of Architecture in Skopje.
- The inhabitants of the Municipality of Ilinden will also have a role as participants in the workshop.
The activities planned for this action will be grouped in the following sequential phases:
1. Learning design: A working plan and timetable will be prepared by the partners involved in the participatory action.
2. Theoretical background: Students will attend lectures from Dorina Papa (Faculty of Architecture, University of POLIS, Tirana), Mirjana Devetakovic and Tatjana Mrdjenovic (Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade). A workshop will be described and organized by the mentors Mihajlo Zinoski and Ognen Marina and assistants Olgica Nelkovska, Stefani Solarska and Igor Medarski from Faculty of Architecture, Skopje, attended by the students.
3. Design of participatory session: Architecture students will create a practical tool set and methodology which will be consisted of possible and doable concepts for building.
4. Implementation of the participatory session: The participants will propose plans, structures or concepts which they will create after the time spent with the local dwellers and after hearing their opinions about the particular problems. Accordingly, this workshop will be collaboration between students and local dwellers.
5. Eliciting knowledge: Inhabitants and students will learn how to approach collaborative design with assistance from the mentors.
6. Dissemination: A video will be produced to document the process and the outcomes obtained in the participatory action.
Table 1. Work plan of the participatory action in Skopje
The summary of the 1st session will represent the starting point of the 2nd session and it will be implemented in the final outcome which will be shaped as a tool set and methodology consisting of possible and doable concepts for building.
The idea at the end is the participants to come up with a universal language which should be both practical and conceptual. Practical – learning how to construct or assemble. Conceptual- how to organize a certain missing problem in particular configuration. This solution should be adjustable and modular (prototype) to fit in each dweller personal needs and to act as a consistent part with the environment and the existing neighborhood. The aspect of coherence will be achieved through similar ways of constructing, regarding materials, shapes, techniques.