FEBRUARY 20, 2013
Acupuncture Architecture, Urban Villages
In acupuncture, when putting a needle in just the right place, one can drain the tension from the entire body. Acupuncture architecture serves a similar need. Putting a single school in the middle of a village may seem insignificant when compared with the greater area it exists within, but certainly helps the community it's surrounded by.
This edition of Presentation of the Day (from PKN Stockholm Vol. 21) features international architect Filipe Balestra speaking on the work he's done to alleviate the architectural stress found in the slums (or, as he suggests they be called: urban villages) of Brazil and India. Filipe's process involves gradually implementing sturdy, cheap, simply-designed housing constructs of various types.
Rather than uprooting entire communities (as is common in large-scale urban reconstruction projects) only the most poorly-constructed shacks are chosen to be replaced with a more permanent edifice. Each family has the opportunity to choose from various permutations of the 3-floor framework and participate in their current shanty's demolition as well as their new domicile's fabrication. By avoiding imposition wherever possible, and working in tandem with existing residents and local governments to legitimize these structures, Filipe's projects have done some real good.