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Graeme Bristol

THE CITIZEN ARCHITECT

MAY 2002

responsibilities as citizens first. I think this is the thrust of Mockbee‟s use of the phrase, „citizen architect‟. Our obligations are first to each other as human beings. The „architect‟ is really only a subset of that. If we are, as a profession, to engage those obligations there are some things I think we could do. When I arrived in Bangkok, I had an unfocussed idea of how we could join these basic concepts of architecture and human rights. Over the four years there, and, more recently, hearing Mockbee‟s evocative use of the term, I am beginning to draw a number of tentative conclusions about a course of action – at least in education. In architectural education, I see a continuum of skills and knowledge from kids, to lay people to the citizen architect: 5.1

Kids and Architecture

It is one thing to have such a program in an institutional setting – such as Fr. Joe‟s Girls‟ Home or in an existing school program – but quite another to try to do this in the more informal setting of existing slums. The program I see is for mid-level students in this curriculum to spend a summer teaching children about the basics of architecture. This would entail more than simply going through a well-developed 8 week program. In order to start, the students would first have to find a place and a time in the existing community for this to happen. This would mean some level of organizing within the community to find the time and place and to gather up the children to do it. The program would have to be conducted in the language of the community so it would require that the students be from that community. Further, the students would require some training in community organizing as well as some teaching skills. 5.2

Barefoot Architecture

Starting from the ESCAP/UNESCO workshop in Bangkok in 1983 5, I see a sort of outreach program from an architecture school that offers largely distance education in architecture and planning in the rural areas. My focus here would be as much on long term refugees, such as the Burmese on the border who have been there for years or the refugees in south-western Algeria that have been there for more than 20 years now. In this case the idea would be to offer some training in the rebuilding of a country once the cause of flight has been resolved - as it has now in East Timor. This would involve short courses in planning, structure, and design for lay people.

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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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