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Graeme Bristol

THE CITIZEN ARCHITECT

MAY 2002

symbol? What was their sense of home? This question seemed particularly important to me considering the context of their current circumstances. I began to relate these abstractions – human rights, the concept of home more directly to their own space and their own lives. Why bring in drawings of anonymous buildings? Why not make a plan of this very room and start talking about it? Why couldn‟t this space of theirs be better? We were in this L-shaped room with institutional green walls. This space served as their play area, eating area, living room, and study area (see Figure 19) Why couldn‟t they be involved more directly in the formation of their built environment? Further, did they not, in fact, have the right to be more directly involved?

Figure 19 - The dining room where most of the activities took place in the Girls' Home.

Roger Hart pointed out, “Only through direct participation can children develop a genuine appreciation of democracy and a sense of their own competence and responsibility to participate.” (Hart, 1997:3) I felt this applied even more emphatically to my architecture students. They were being „professionalised‟ in the pejorative sense that concerned Illich in many of his books.2 As such they were moving away from those principles of the democratisation of knowledge and moving more towards becoming gate-keepers of it. This shift could only be reversed by example, by action. If we believe in the principle of democracy, we must act upon it in some way. The words of these constitutions and declarations and covenants were only as good as the actions that made them real.

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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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