Architecture for the people by the people, by Alastair Parvin

Michel Thiry, great Value(s) specialist, pointed out this Alastair Parvin’s TED talk about paradoxical trends for architecture in the 21st century :

  1. Don’t build ! Instead, focus on solving problems and creating solutions. I appreciate his example about a 20M£ project to enlarge the architecture school, because the corridors are too small for students win different classes to cross when the bell rings. A group of (architecture!) students proposed another solution : ring 1 bell for each class at a slightly different moment, so all students never have to cross all together … This would cost 200£ !
  2. Go small ! Architecture is until now about big buildings for numerous people, financed by big investors. Alastair Parvin  proposes, instead of building BIG solutions offering the same standard solution to every user in a one-size-fits-all approach, to build what fits each of them, in a customized way. This is possible and cheaper today with 3D printing and wood-cutting technologies : open-sourced blue prints allow DIY houses building !
  3. Go amateur ! Let users build their houses themselves, so they do not pay specialized manpower and adapt their design to their specific needs. Just like Wikipedia is about sharing definitions, the WikiHouse project is an « wiki for stuff », where houses, appliances and furnitures designs are shared freely so that users can adapt them to their needs and also share the result. With application around the world : in New Zealand for post seismic reconstruction, in Brazil for favelas improvement …

Our readers of course recognize the Value(s) approach :

  • A building « what for » ? leads to solve the users problem : protecting them and their belongings from agressive weather conditions, while taking advantage from what the environment provides : air, light, nature, heat, water …
  • « What is enough » to answer these needs ? The answer is different for every user ! Standardizing is known by Value(s) specialist as the 1st cause of overcast : if the solution has to answer everyone’s needs, it cannot be optimal for each user …
  • « Work with stakeholders » : user know their needs best, and could be involved with pleasure in the manufacturing to the solution ! Ikea does is for furniture, it can be done for houses.

Another architect buys in the Value(s) approach !

Our French speaking readers already know about the potential improvements to building design by the Value(s) approach :


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