The following text is the transcript of a presentation prepared for the first day of a workshop at Matadero. In collaboration with PKMN, we developed a series of activities during 5 working days (2 hours per day) to end up doing a theatre performance about telecommuting:
I am going to try to put a framework on which to develop this collective creative process; in order to do it in a correct way, it is necessary to establish a common set of principles. It is like the attitude with which to face the process.
We will all participate in the process. Creativity is not a gift but the ability to listen to ideas and articulate them through our experience. We do not have to give importance to the authorship of ideas; the good point is when we reach the moment in which we are incapable of knowing about it. We must build on the ideas of others, what is important is not the ideas themselves but what we develop through them.
FUN. In order for this to work, it must be fun. The key is to live the moment, working on each activity without thinking about the final result. Everything is good enough and you have to let it go, the more irrelevant and stupid what we propose or write on a post it, will be better. We must have an experimental attitude and take risks constantly.
DIVERGENCE / CONVERGENCE.
This outline is the simplification of a creative process. It never happens in this linear way but it is useful to express what we want to focus on. The standard processes of problem solving are based on choosing a series of inputs, analysing them and then converging to find a single solution. We will focus on the divergent phase, in the moment when the ideas are generated. As Peter Cook said in his lecture about education for architecture in the IE in Segovia: The really valuable thing is to educate in the lateral thinking. It is the phase where quantity is more important than quality, we are interested in experimenting the process for this phase to work almost unconsciously. Quantity. When we approach the end, we will try converge and value what can work. In order to do that, we are creating this slate and a tumbler to save what we can use in the final phase, which will be better explained in the operation.
USER / PARTICIPANT.
Focusing the project’s strategy on the user is the best way to have a common approach to the process. It is like a language for the process. In this case, the participant is the one who turns up on Friday to take part in the end of year’s performance; we must walk in someone else’s shoes and focus on this person’s fun. We are creating a live topological diagram about teleworking, we need them to have fun and turn from spectator into participant. At midweek, we can even propose an activity about defining specifically 2 or 3 users and try to see, from their own perspective, if what we have done is working properly.
LEARNING BY DOING.
In my opinion, it is the only way. As it is stated in the constructivist pedagogy: people learn through the interactions between the subject and the object. Knowledge is connected to the structure of the action, to the doing. It is the way to activate an actual process of collective creation, the fact of having something on your hands constantly allows you to interact. That is why we established a series of activities along the workshop, which will be better explained while analyzing in the next phase.
PROTOTYPES AND THINKING VISUALLY.
Build in order to think. We will bring material so as to make rapid prototypes of the ideas as they arise, they must be seedy and have failures to make people stimulate creativity. It is the best way to communicate and get others participate in the ideas. The same happens with visualizations, use every situation to draw anywhere and tell the ideas you are working on to the others.
All this process is not to implement a performance like the one we showed you in the video, but to create an actual innovation from this starting point. We have to develop it and try to do something better and more fun. Think in innovative aspects and leave the logistics at the end.
And, of course, you can question anything about all this process, since it is completely open to you and we must be actively creative with it.
El texto que viene a continuación es la transcripción de una presentación que preparé para el primer día de un taller en el Matadero. En colaboración con PKMN desarrollamos una serie de actividades durante los 5 días de trabajo (2 horas por día), para acabar realizando una función de teatro sobre el teletrabajo:
Voy a tratar de poner un marco sobre el que desarrollar este proceso creativo colectivo, para que salga bien es necesario establecer una serie de principios en común. Es algo así como la actitud con la que afrontar el proceso.
As I mentioned in a previous post, in architecture, theory should come near the process (practice) to set the theory as a legitimacy of the architectural object aside. I deeply believe that the architect’s role is moving from the design of spaces to the design of processes.
The first important repercussion to understand better how we (the architects) think and do is the possibility to apply these creative processes to situations beyond what is normally understood as architecture. One example is what has happened with the product design, evolving to design thinking and being applied to business, science and politics. From this point of view I think that specific architecture thinking exists, which is probably a variant of the design thinking that allows us to cover many complex situations from different angles than the usual.
Lately I repeat constantly the idea of transcending the discipline in one way or another, but I want to emphasize in this post, how the knowledge of certain processes of collective creation can help to improve the participation in architecture.
The aim is to develop processes that involve the participants: customers, neighbors, associations, companies, politicians, etc in the creative part of the projects and not only in the final steps just voting between few options designed by architects or designers. This paradigm shift and the use of the network capabilities could allow participation to be a real tool with great potential. And the architects, at the same time, are going to become mediators, mixers. We would give comprehensive formats to the ideas, and constantly think about how to modify the process and the tools to make the outcome interesting. This approach is closely related with education and the experience may become similar to a studio class in the university. I am convinced that the result of an architecture project worked out in this way would be very interesting. Besides, it would help the community, customers, etc. to feel more close with the outcome. This feeling implies the ability to transform and maintain the architecture that results in constantly change.
According to the participation and the investigation about the architectural processes, I want to share 5 projects, websites and tools. Although some of them have already appeared in this blog, I still find them very interesting:
1. Dott 07. Designs of the time 2007. It is an initiative about participative projects, events and exhibitions situated in the northwest of England. Exploring sustainable life in the region and how design can help to achieve this. It is a municipal initiative to be developed in 10 years and its objectives are focused on these five aspects of daily life: movement, health, food, education and energy. Initiatives such as the eco design challenge, urban farms or the design of a school with the help of his students are some of the most interesting projects.
Wouldn’t it be great if … the whole community decided how its new school would be designed?
2. Communityplanning.net.. “The community planning website helping people shape their cities, towns and villages in any part of the world” It’s amazing the amount of information we can find on this page about participative projects, from study cases and tools, to several methods with specific examples.
Mobile design studio: custom converted 38-foot recreation vehicle used as a design studio for community planning workshops in rural areas.
3. Brainstore. A team of designers who have systematized an industrial process of production of ideas. They are Swiss and talk about this system like a Swiss watch. With the participation of neighbors , teenagers, businessmen, customers, etc. they carry out a very interesting collaborative creative process. And it could be applied to participation in architecture.
4. Foam thinking. It’s a post on the blog Action! (referred to Albena Yaneva’s book “Made by OMA: An ethnography of design”) about a method or tool widely used in OMA, the foam. It talks of the foam as a way of making non-graphic diagrams and the material capacity to think with your hands quickly and effectively.
5. One thousand square. A participative project by Ecosistema Urbano for a square in Hamar, Norway.
Como comentaba en un post anterior la teoría en arquitectura debe acercarse a los procesos, a la práctica, para dejar de lado la teoría como legitimación del objeto arquitectónico. En el fondo creo firmemente en que el papel del arquitecto se traslada del diseño de espacios y forma al diseño de procesos.
La primera repercusión importante de comprender mejor como pensamos y hacemos los arquitectos es la posibilidad de aplicar estos procesos creativos a situaciones ajenas a lo que normalmente se entiende por arquitectura. Como ejemplo, lo que ha ocurrido con el diseño y el pensamiento de diseño aplicado a los negocios, a la ciencia, a la política. Y creo que hay un pensamiento de arquitectura, que probablemente es una variante del design thinking pero que puede permitirnos abarcar muchas situaciones complejas desde ángulos distintos a los habituales.
Últimamente repito constantemente la idea de trascender la disciplina de una u otra manera, pero quiero hacer hincapie en este post, de como el conocimiento de ciertos procesos de creación colectiva pueden permitir mejorar la participación en la arquitectura.
El objetivo es desarrollar procesos en los que involucrar a los participantes, véase, clientes, vecinos, asociaciones, empresas, políticos, etc en la fase creativa de los proyectos y no únicamente en la parte final votando entre unas cuantas opciones diseñadas por arquitectos. Este cambio de paradigma y la utilización de las capacidades de la tecnología podría permitir a la participación avanzar como una posibilidad real y con mucho potencial. Los arquitectos a su vez nos convertiríamos en mediadores, mezcladores, daríamos formatos comprensibles a las ideas, y pensaríamos constantemente en como modificar el proceso y las herramientas para que el resultado fuera interesante. Sin duda esto tiene mucho que ver con la docencia y la experiencia podría ser similar a una clase de proyectos. Estoy convencido de que el resultado de una arquitectura llevada a cabo de esta manera sería muy interesante además de hacer a la comunidad, clientes,… absolutamente partícipes del resultado con lo que esto conlleva en cuanto la capacidad para transformar y mantener la arquitectura que resulte en constante cambio.