Participatory approaches to architectural design are the main key when planning a school in a foreign country or social context. Through mutual education and information about the local conditions and experiences with other projects in the region and with similar cultural backgrounds, accurate decisions can be formulated.
Today many different strategies were already developed by architects for the participation and planning techniques, which are integrated into the design process and adapted to the given task. For our work, we have set three key points that serve as tools for the design Phase.
GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
One of the most important aspects will be to meet local people and understand their daily life and customs. For us as designers this part of the process is the main key, because we get the opportunity to get closer to the community and the "users" and will then be in a position to develop a contextual design. In this process, we can understand the needs and wishes of local People.
MATERIAL SAMPLES AND TOOL BOX
By instruction-, material- and component catalogs, which are used as a common method to designing and building, a participative school design can be developed, which corresponds to the actual needs and desires. Another component of the participation process will be the participation through learning. To complete the project, locals will need to build and understand the rest of the building complex independently, thereby another aspect of the integration is carried out in the community. During the construction process innovative building techniques can occur through knowledge sharing.
EVERYONE IS AN ARCHITECT
The material and design catalog is needed to show the potential of what can be built in differnt ways. By developing new alternatives for building components and atmospheric purposes together with the local community, the school will be a community product, which will be characterized by both diversity and sophistication as well as cultural exchange. The goal is to keep the design catalog as flexible as possible. The project will result in a design manual, which will allow to complete and expand the building. This will allow people to multiply the project and to ensure adequate training.
Everyone is a designer and architect of his own environment!
Participation has a quite different intensity and effectiveness. It is about the question how a close cooperation between user and architect can be reached under the effective usage of different expertise and capacities and the role architects finally should occupy or take.
Beacause of the Hermann-Nohl-Schule in Berlin, Britz it was possible for us to try out our "molecule game" with a elementary class already in Germany to test and improve it for Cameroon. We reached some remarkable results. Thanks for the great day!