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Constructing Community: Synthesizing Lay and Professional Knowledge in Architecture

Gillick, Ambrose and Ivett, Lee (2017) Constructing Community: Synthesizing Lay and Professional Knowledge in Architecture. In: Wroot, Ian, ed. AMPS Publication Series 8: Government and Housing in a Time of Crisis: Policy, Planning, Design and Delivery. Libri Publishing, pp. 75-86. (doi:ISSN 2398-9467) (KAR id:71691)


The synthesis of lay and professional knowledge in building and urban renewal works can operate to ‘construct community’, and make strong, vibrant, integrated urban space, by establishing reciprocal bonds within communities and between institutional, enterprise, community and individual actors and actor groups. In this paper I’ll describe how architectural interventions and buildings can do this, through the work of Baxendale, a practice that explores an interdisciplinary approach to regeneration through the simultaneous development of both programme and place. Baxendale’s practice is concerned with the intersection of agency and design - work is orientated towards enhancing communities by building capacity, utilising active making as a tool for developing local empowerment and transferring knowledge and skills. Principally working in marginal communities, on interventions, buildings and processes, the work relates closely to, and builds on the long-standing discourse on participatory and marginal design practices, as found in the writing of Henry Sanoff, Colin Ward, John Turner and Nabeel Hamdi amongst many others, and latterly in the building work of practices like Peter Hübner, Ralph Erskine and Lucien Kroll and to a certain extent, self-build pioneers such as Walter Segal and activist organisations like Habitat for Humanity. Baxendale’s engagement, however, challenges aspects of such prominent participatory work by focusing on the processes of spatial practice, presuming collaborative learning between institutional, private and community actors towards synergistic outcomes. Work of the kind described is an important component of a thoughtful approach to urban renewal relevant to contemporary conditions, particularly renewal orientated towards making more just urban environments, which is of particular importance to the debate on housing provision. A community that is empowered in the public realm will generate for itself urban space which is creative, delightful and secure. This can only be beneficial for those tasked with providing sustainable housing in the future.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: ISSN 2398-9467
Uncontrolled keywords: architecture, coproduction, participation, practice, building
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Ambrose Gillick
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2019 12:32 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:01 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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