There are a number of contemporary projects that collect and collate alternative approaches to the practice of architecture. These are all projects whose curatorial approach brings together diverse practices in order to elaborate different ways of thinking and acting in relation to architecture and urbanism.
onesmallproject.com is a website and a repository of constructed and propositional projects for the world's poor by architects and architectural students. The ongoing project is described as dealing with leftovers: people who are considered leftover, such as squatters, slum dwellers and the homeless; spaces that are left over and can be put to better use; and materials that are leftover. These elements are all combined by Wes Janz, the founder of onesmallproject, to articulate a call to action for architects to take their social responsibilities seriously. The project rejects mainstream architectural practice for its complicity in propagating and maintaining unequal relations, and instead advocates small-scale charitable works carried out on a scale of one-to-one, in the hope of a quiet and incremental change. The project celebrates works that are done for others and seek to empower others, and acts as a good secondary resource for further examples of spatial agency.
Adaptive Actions gives space and visibility to alternative and marginal ways of inhabiting space. The 'actions' are intended to modify and activate the existing use and character of the urban environment, testing the limits of what is tolerated in an increasingly privatised and surveilled public realm. Based in Montreal and initiated by Jean-François Prost in 2007, the project travels to different localities organising events, workshops, exhibitions and roundtables, but the main output is a website that collects and collates instances of small-scale ideas and actions from all over the world. The images and captions show residents, workers, passers-by taking control of their environment, which are framed and given value through a curatorial practice. It is an example of the artist or architect taking a step back and allowing the actions of others to take centre stage. Adaptive Actions gives value to the use and programming of spaces, suggesting other possibilities and other ways of engaging with the urban environment.
Networked Cultures is a project initiated by Helge Mooshammer and Peter Mörtenböck, carried out between 2005 and 2008, based at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Using sites of conflict as a starting point, the project focused on the social and cultural transformations of Europe through studying the networked spatial practices that occur in these locations and the response of architects, artists, urbanists, curators and activists. The format of Networked Cultures encouraged the further extending and nurturing of these networks through a series of interviews, talks, exhibitions and workshops.
Plate-forme Européenne de Pratiques et Recherches Alternatives de la Ville (PEPRAV - European Platform for Alternative Practice and Research on the City) was a collaborative project between Atelier d'Architecture Autogérée based in Paris, School of Architecture at University of Sheffield, Recyclart based in Brussels and metrozones from Berlin. Carried out between 2006-2007, the platform was formed around a mutual concern for urban research and practice based in active participation and action within local and translocal networks. Their way of working included work sessions, meetings, exhibitions and public lectures and a publication Urban/ACT brought together the extended and evolving network of practitioners and theorists involved in PEPRAV.
AAA and PEPRAV (eds.), Urban/ACT (Montrouge: Moutot Imprimeurs, 2007).
'PEPRAV', http://www.peprav.net/ [accessed 7 July 2010].
Bryan Finoki and Wes Janz, 'One Small Project: Wes Janz [Interview]', Archinect, 2006, http://www.archinect.com/features/article.php?id=35227_0_23_C [accessed 7 July 2010].
[accessed 7 July 2010].
Helge Mooshammer and Peter Mörtenböck, Networked Cultures: Parallel Architectures and the Politics of Space (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2008).
'Adaptive Actions', http://www.adaptiveactions.net/information [accessed 7 July 2010].
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