Society Magazine - page 33

Elevating a static space of limiting answers to a dynamic space of liberating questions.
Illustration: Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes
By Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes
If I had only one hour to save theworld,
I would spend 55minutes defining the problemand only 5minutes finding the solution” -
Albert Einstein.
Exploringhowarchitecturecanbecomea tool toovercomepoverty
The value of a
he truth lies indeed not in the answer, but in the question. In last month’s article,
I explored AKKA’s creative processmade of four phases that my teamand I
employ in architectural and other projects. What I highlightedwas the fact that it
is an intrinsically collaborative process based on the communal creation of knowledge.
Although ‘creation of knowledge’ sounds like finding answers, it all starts with finding
the right questions. As architect Alejandro Aravena puts it, “What we’re trying to do by
asking people to participate is envisionwhat is the question, not what is the answer.
There’s nothingworse than answering thewrong questions well.”
“He practices architecture as an artful
endeavour in private commissions
and in designs for the public realm
and epitomizes the revival of a more
socially engaged architect”. Such was
the statement of the Pritzker Architec-
ture Price jury when they announced
this year’s laureate, Alejandro Aravena.
The Pritzker Architecture Price is the
most prestigious price in the profession.
Founded in 1979 by Jay and Cindy Pritz-
ker through their Hyatt Foundation, the
prize is meant to “honour a living archi-
tect whose built work demonstrates a
combination of those qualities of talent,
vision, and commitment, which has
produced consistent and significant
contributions to humanity and the
built environment through the art of
48-year-old Chilean architect Aravena is
best known for his residential projects
and the participatory design processes
he engages in. “There’s a lot of misunder-
standing of participatory design”, says
Aravena, “We’re not asking people for
the answers. What we’re trying to do is
identifywhat is the problem. The [other]
thing that people know, particularlywhen
you don’t have enough resources to do
everything, is what are the priorities.
Establishing the priorities come forward
in the process of participation, particular-
ly in poor environments”. Participatory
processes create an emerging value from
the synthesis of all gathered insights. His
art &
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