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Graeme Bristol

THE CITIZEN ARCHITECT

MAY 2002

In taking the project on, there were a number of principles that I wanted to maintain: 1.

To maximize use of funds This concerns two issues about how we direct our resources:  The question above about how we direct financial resources – capital costs or running costs  Doing as many things as possible with the allotted funds. If you are only doing one thing at once with the money – such as building a preschool – then you have not yet explored the possibilities. Every project should consider other uses to which it can be put (could this be an after school community centre or health clinic?) and other opportunities for training and/or teaching.

2.

To maximize circulation of funds Another way of maximizing the use of funds is to have them circulate through the community first (through the purchase of labour and/or materials). This is important not only for the promotion of a local economy but also to establish ownership of the project.

3.

To maximize user involvement Direct involvement in the design and development of the project is also critical in establishing ownership. This, in turn, has direct effects on the extended care of the building.

4.

To maximize local resources Wherever possible, local labour and materials should be used. This not only supports #2 above, it also directly supports the global concept of sustainability.

5.

To maximize learning opportunities In larger projects, for example, training and apprenticeship programs are an important part of the ongoing project. In smaller projects such as this, there are still opportunities. The one that interests me here, as in another project with HDF, is the opportunity to teach children something about the environment that surrounds them. How can we connect these kids to this building – a building that, as a prototype, moves around with them? They too have to have some way to take ownership of the space, to recognize it. For example, what if we had a fabric roof – like a tent roof – and before it was put up we had all the children dip their hands in big pans of different colours of paint, and, like the movie stars in Hollywood, put their hand prints on the lightcoloured fabric, forming a pattern that at once identifies it as a school space for young children and identifies it just as surely as their own. This relates, in a more general way, to the concepts of participation and to children‟s rights (see Articles 13 [freedom of expression] and 29 [human rights education] of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on http://www.unicef.org/crc/crc.htm) 12

Citizen Architect 2002  

1. INTRODUCTION In January of 1998, I came to Bangkok to teach architecture. I came with some general intentions and with a set of ideas abo...

Citizen Architect 2002  

1. INTRODUCTION In January of 1998, I came to Bangkok to teach architecture. I came with some general intentions and with a set of ideas abo...

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