Architecture Building Space for Empathy

Architecture and design has always influenced us. It appeals to our conscience and challenge our thinking when done with skill, emotion and substance. Therefore even with all that is going on in the world today, architects and designers around the world are coming out together to create a social impact that some people rarely associate with this profession. Contributing in their own way, architects are making way for a just, egalitarian world view.

Today, architects, builders and communities are joining hands to come together with ideas and projects to alleviate the conditions of injustice, inequality, abuse of power and crisis very much prevalent in our world. The following projects and articles are the examples of the potential of architecture and design in shaping a better world for the future.

1. Architecture’s Evolving Role and Social Change

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Focusing on building a more community-centric design, Garett Nelli challenges the existing norms in the field and attempts to give back to the community. The exhibit titled “In the Public Interest” was featured at the Centre for Architecture and Design in Seattle. Studying ways to influence social change, Nelli travelled to LA, rural Alabama, Haiti, New Orleans and countries like Italy.

2. CatalyticAction Builds Playgrounds for Refugees

Courtesy of CatalyticAction
Courtesy: CatalyticAction
 

With hundreds and thousands of families forced out of their homes and seeking refuge in countries like Lebanon, the Syrian refugee crisis is one of the worst ongoing humanitarian crisis. Efforts are being made by the UN to raise settlements by providing shelter camps and basic necessities. But the needs of growing children like sports and open public spaces weren’t et by these shelters. CatalyticAction made it possible for scores of children to lead a somewhat normal life by building playgrounds.

3. Preserving a Place for Protest in Paris

© Clement Guillaume
© Clement Guillaume
 

TVK agency, the designers of the world famous space in Paris called the Place de la République, believed in the importance of protests and dissent in a democracy. It was this idea that made them preserve this space for organised protests.

 

4. MASS Design Group’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice by MASS Design Group. Image © Alan Karchmer
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice by MASS Design Group. Image © Alan Karchmer
 

Beautifully built on six acres of land in Montgomery, Alabama, The National Memorial to Peace and Justice is the first national memorial to victims of lynching in the US. Coming from the MASS Design Group, the architecture of the memorial inspires a sense of awe, hope and victory in the visitors, challenging them to think about the world and moulding their conscience.

 

Design Needs a Social Conscience

Courtesy of ELEMENTAL
Courtesy of ELEMENTAL
 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Socially-conscious design is on the rise perhaps now more than ever. With architects and designers putting their skill to a noble cause, the quest for an egalitarian, just society persists. From environmental sustainability to housing, from disaster relief to public spaces, the fields of architecture and design are rapidly seeing a surge of public-interest design that can, hopefully, solve the biggest humanitarian challenges of our times.

 

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