CRISIS > a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, environmental, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change

Sunday, October 15, 2006

In action>> Design for Africa

Industrial designers Frank Hofmann and Staffan Weigel took on the mega-slum of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya for a design initiative to tackle the problem of trash disposal and accumulation with their field project, Design for Africa [DFA]. Kibera is thought to be one of Africa’s largest slums and does not have an official municipality or local government, leaving it with dire public amenities. Some estimates project more 250,000 people per square kilometer in the settlement.

Setting up with some of Kibera’s organized community groups, they began to instruct community members in the basics of design and pushed it into design solutions for alleviating garbage and potentially making it a profitable venture of some sort. Different groups varied in their initiatives ranging from awareness through entertainment, a garbage collection and salvaging program, the design and production of collection bags, and bone jewelry production.


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In theory>> Lebbeus Woods

Radical Reconstruction-

None can deny the imaginative processes and drawings of Lebbeus Woods, but what is the reason and thinking behind the forms he creates? What is this ‘architecture’ a response to? Radical Reconstruction is a published book by Woods exhibiting projects from three cities--Sarajevo, Havana, and San Francisco—that all pertain to the notion of addressing a crisis at the periphery conditions of the urban forms.

These iterations of “walls” are meant to draw both attention as well as a correlation to contemporary society’s condition of crisis recognition and consciousness. The notion is put forth that the unavoidable realities of modern day crisis, be it man-made or natural, are seemingly brought to our attention while only at the outer limits and edges of what we would perceivably control in our minds or media perception. This is found to be especially true within the realm of the “crisis of consumer culture . . . [pretending] there is no crisis . . . .”

Although the projects and their fantastic forms and suggestions are beyond the reaches of viable construction and implementation, they should at least be considered valuable to concerned designers for the attention they call to the condition of how a majority of First World society thinks about crisis.


Radical Reconstruction [Woods 1997]

[Image provided by Radical Reconstruction]

In action>> Archeworks

Archeworks is a post-graduate academic+professional environment founded on the purpose of addressing areas of need and neglect in society through the use of interdisciplinary design. The program pulls from the creative arts disciplines such as graphic design, product design, architecture, film, and exploratory writing as well as other disciplines such as law, medicine, engineering, and sociology.

Archworks’ projects range from the merely theoretical to the realized execution, including education & awareness programs to advocacy plans to built designs. Most often, the projects involve real clients and target groups with real interaction and input from their perspectives and needs. In the end the group “believes . . . in the value of design, the poetics of design, and their meaning in society.”

The organization qualifies as a 501(c)3 group and was founded in Chicago by architect Stanley Tigerman and designer Eva Maddox in 1993 in Chicago.


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