BUILD OUR NATION INTERNATIONAL PROJECT: AN INNOVATIVE EDUCATIONAL MODEL FOR SYSTEMS THINKING IN DESIGN
1 Robert Gordon University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Universitat Rovira i Virgili (SPAIN)
3 Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (SPAIN)
4 Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Ethical decision-making models comprehend elements of systems thinking such as holistic language and value-guided systems. This abstract proposes an innovative educational model for systems thinking in architectural design.
Build our Nation is an ongoing international experience of innovative education in Design Studio. A panel of international academic members currently working in different institutions has established a program of co-operation: workshops, exchanges and live events are led by students working together internationally on projects devised in connection to a real-world situation.
The model of Build our Nation aims to promote cross-cultural problem solving through value-guided architecture. The highly sensitive social context of the proposed projects challenges the field of Design Studio teaching. Two main trajectories are under investigation, both strongly linked to the extra-curricular nature of the framework: on the one hand the educational context, with the aim to rethinking design; on the other hand the environmental-oriented context, with the aim to rethinking construction. A balanced achievement of ethical-oriented education, holistic thinking and up to date connectivity informs the long-term progress of the model:
1. Ethical standards and social equity. The project must adhere to the highest ethical standards and sense of responsibility by supporting social equity at all stages, from the design process to the construction.
2. Contextual impact and holistic thinking. The project must convey a high standard of architectural quality. The aesthetic impact must `interfere` with the cultural and physical surrounding environment.
3. Innovation and transferability of knowledge. The project must demonstrate breakthroughs and trend-setting educational approaches and must be transferable to a range of other applications.
Taifa letu Tujenge constitutes the first project in the framework of this innovative educational model. It means `build our nation` in Swahili and represents an important test. The aim is to develop a design for a women's community centre in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. The creation of the centre is to help improve the socioeconomic conditions of women by promoting interaction and activities, as well as reducing the difficulty of inequalities in income and employment opportunities. This self-built centre will be a catalyst for social change through a participatory and innovative action involving around 1,000 women from the province.
Rethinking design. Taifa letu Tujenge involves multitudes of students spanning four Architecture schools across Europe (Aberdeen, Barcelona, Milan, and Reus). It was set in April 2011 by S. Bassanese and Dr P. N. Kataraka with the help of Tesseract, a collective of architecture students. After the first stage of live-linked initial concept development between 250 students, the project culminated in around 50 students coming together in a two day workshop in Milan.
Rethinking construction. The project is now approaching the first executive stage of the construction which will culminate with the building of one prototype in Bukavu.
Keywords: International cooperation, open source, humanitarian design, students to students.