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dreamhamar at Re-Architecture exhibition | Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris

Category: ⚐ EN+news

The Pavillon de l’Arsenal has invited fifteen European agencies —including Ecosistema Urbano— that question the way that modern-day cities are built to participate in an exhibition that will be opening this wednesday in Paris under the motto “RE-cycle, RE-use, RE-invest, RE-build”.

Re-architecture

We are very glad to be there among such a great selection of agencies and collectives (some of them featured in our recent series about placemaking) that share the same interests and explore similar approaches while working in quite different contexts.

Our contribution to the exhibition will be focused on dreamhamar, our most recent participatory project in Hamar (Norway), in which we have applied our ideas about network design.

dreamhamar

dreamhamar

A quote from the exhibition follows:

In Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, London, Madrid, Paris or Rotterdam,… these extraordinary teams have taken up a critical stance. They admit to exploring the role of architecture in societal changes. They are pro-action and produce and often even build their projects themselves. The practices are promises which revive long-forgotten utopian ideals.
They all invent wonderful standards and approach the complexities of modern life with the ability to transform into reality the potential that lies at the crossroads between experience and the built-up world. They are pragmatic, good at conveying their message and tend to work with the existing residents and for the inhabitants of the future.
The thirty exhibited proposals, shown at the various stages of development, describe the conditions in which the orders were placed, the study behind the projects, participative action as well as the conditions in which studies were carried out and the projects completed. Each proposal is thus presented through videos, drawings, interviews, plans and photographs to provide the public with an idea of the innovative and experimental nature of their research. Whether temporary or permanent, these projects are perfectly in line with the times and do not create extra constraints which could limit future choices.

We highly recommend you to visit the exhibition if you can, and to have a closer look at the work of the rest of the participants:

AAA – Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (Paris), Andrés Jaque Architects (Madrid), Assemble (London), Bruit du frigo (Bordeaux), Collectif Etc (France), Coloco (Paris), DUS Architects (Amsterdam), Exyzt (Paris), MUF architecture/art (London), Practice Architecture (London), Raumlabor (Berlin), Rotor (Brussels), ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] (Rotterdam), 1024 architecture (Paris)

Pavillon Arsenal

More info: official website
Place: Pavillon de l’Arsenal
Open: Tue-Sat 10.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m | Sun 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Entrance: Free, 12th april – 2th september 2012

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placemaking | Collectif etc

Category: ⚐ EN+placemaking+urban social design+video

“Our projects are optimistic, open and focused on the spontaneous population of the city”
– Collectif etc

Following our last week’s post on Place au Changement, and still in the frame of our placemaking series, we were curious to meet with collectif etc. From the other side of the Pyrenees, we managed to contact them on their Détour de France, so they could share some impressions about their experience in Saint-Etienne, and ideas about placemaking.

placemaking | Collectif etc from ecosistemaurbano on Vimeo.

The Détour de France

Since October 2011, collectif etc has started a Détour de France, a trip around France to meet different makers of the city – inhabitants, associations, professionals, institutions – who seek for alternative ways and models of generating the urban fabric.

“The making of the city formerly follows complex and vertical processes, according to a hierarchy often excluding the population concerned. Public urban projects tend to remain in the professional field of architects, consultants and clients (often local or national administrations) and to generate isolated solutions from the community’s real needs.
In response to this gap, new participatory processes are emerging in various cities in France, aiming to involve the population in building their own living environment. We are off to meet the actors behind these initiatives, and work with them in the social making of the city.”

The itinerary was initially based on the collective’s established contacts, yet it remains flexible to any potential opportunity along the way. Until august 2012, Collectif etc will be pedaling, meeting, sharing, creating, building, tinkering and designing, adding the preferred co- prefix according to the different people they encounter on the way.

Two objectives in mind:
1. make a census and build a network of the different actors involved in a social making of the city
2. collaborate with them along the trip on interventions in public space

For french speaking readers, you can follow their progression on their blog, and we recommend you read the full description of the project here.

Active since September 2009, Collectif etc is a combination of sparking energy, innovative dynamics, social engagement, creative experimentation and human interactions. Their practice materialises in various forms – built structures, ephemeral interventions, urban furniture, workshops and debates –  where the common key is about generating a process, and building a community. Their projects take root in the existing climates of exchange and creation, grow from collective action and intelligence, and catalyse the existing dynamics of the community into the design of their living environment.

In short, a breath of fresh air in the scope of city related professionals. You can be sure to here from them again.

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placemaking | Place au changement

Category: ⚐ EN+placemaking+urban social design

Place au Changement is a co-constructed square and a placemaking process conducted by collectif etc, to create the Giant’s square, a self-managed temporary public space in Saint-Etienne.

Saint Etienne, Châteaucreux. Since 2008, the district entered a long-term process of urban transformation, a process of destruction, reconstruction, renovation, a process where different mutation stages and time-spaces side and cohabit, often leaving voids pending for weeks, months, sometimes years. And why not include these urban gaps in the process? Why not take advantage of change to colonize rather than procastrinate? Such were the questions carried out by the EPASE (Etablissement Public d’Aménagement de Saint Etienne) when announcing the competition “Défrichez-la” – literally suggesting “Clear it” – to temporarily occupy plot 58, at the crossroads of Ferdinand and Cugnot streets.

Place au changement was collectif etc’s response, to design both a square and a participation process. The name itself plays on two layered meanings: the square Of change and the process to Give way to change. The first intention, to reflect the on-going mutations in the neighborhood and remind the square’s temporary condition, was to design the square as a transitional step of its future outcome: on the ground, the imaginary plan of a future apartments building meant to replace plot 58, and on the surrounding wall, its corresponding section. And second, to design a process involving the citizens both in building the proper square and its identity as a public space.

“Make yourself a square !”. The familiar DIY tag line came out as a call for participation while launching the communication warm-up strategy, first step to pave the way for the upcoming event. Following their success in March 2011, collectif etc, along with two graphists – Bérangère Magaud and Léatitia Cordier – initiated the process by making public presentations of the project in local council assemblies, organizing meetings with the concerned political actors, contacting local associations, social centers and foster cares, negotiating with different city services the maintenance of the building site and its subsequent public space, and opening a blog to keep daily track of the project’s evolution, in order to spread the news in the greatest number of circles.

On 14 July, the building site opened to public participation. To involve the local inhabitants in the construction process, the work was organised in three thematic workshops, aiming to target people according to their own field of interest, capacities and knowledge.

The wall painting workshop, to dress the painted cross-section and bordering fronts with real scale drawings of daily objects, mainly involved the children of the Soleil and Cret de Roch neighborhood houses. The nationally renown street-artists Ella & Pitr also made a punctual intervention to paint the huge Giant, which later inspired the square’s actual name, and allowed to arouse national interest and local pride, while valuing the children’s work alongside.

The gardening workshop, to design and plant the green spaces of the square, spontaneously involved neighbors in the long-term. People voluntarily brought plants and tools from their own homes, and shared their knowledge, from which the collective had usually a lot to learn. On the last day, the group built a shelter to keep the tools and a 1000L water tank which was agreed to be regularly filled by the local city service.

The carpentry workshop, to make the square’s framework and furniture, involved any handy volunteer in the construction of the preconceived designs. A member of the collective along with a neighbor who was spontaneously designated foreman by the team, were in charge of driving and supervising the workshop, and helping people with the tools at the participants’ disposal.

Place au Changement proposed to use not only the building site as a public space, but also the building period to schedule on-site events. A building site is an event as such : closed streets, constant noise, and permanent activity. Yet, whereas we tend to call it nuisance, Place au Changement’s constant occupation was other: free and collective meals, tournaments, concerts, activities, performances, meetings…

During three weeks, what was formerly a wasteland became a daily attraction. Every Fridays announced a collective dinner, prepared by the women of the Dames de Côte-Chaude ONG, which gathered up to 80 people around a couscous, tajine and paella. Saturday nights held open concerts, which drew a miscellaneous public around improvised barbecues and cheap drinks.

Sundays gave out out-door movie projections, that welcomed students of the Gobelins to release their own short films. Associations such as Feedback association, who coordinated a circus introduction workshop, and El Caminito who offered tango lessons, made punctual on-site interventions to incite more people to join the process.

Two round-table discussions around the citizen as an actor of public space were also held, as times of reflection and debate with local associations, authorities and professionals, aiming to claim for a more horizontal cooperation and direct communication between the citizens, actors and administrations in projects of urban and public nature.

On 1 August, the construction site ended in a closing event, marking a new step in the process, the opening of a public space in the neighborhood. To promote the citizens’ involvement, the most active participants had their name carved on a pole on-site, a poster was put up to explain the process, again naming all the stakeholders, and a booklet summarizing the project and three weeks of building and lucrative site was given out to the public. A public vote by show of hands, undertaken by the citizens, renamed the space Giant’s square, after Ella & Pitr‘s huge painting on the bordering wall.

The day ended by a closing concert and jam session, and a silent commitment not to lose what had been raised during the past weeks. For beyond an architectural design and a square, Place au Changement built a self-managed community, and stirred up an activity of spontaneous uses – to be continued.