‘architecture and MOVIES’

september – december 2016 / invited lecturer, 5th year architecture students.


‘foodscape phu nhuan’

february – may 2016 / invited lecturer – 3rd year architecture students.

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‘Foodscape Phu Nhuan’ was a 3-month workshop organised to challenge students to imagine resilient and lively streets. it was co-organised with Soumia Masmoudi from ellearchitecture and Pham Duc Thang lecturer at bac khoa university who supervised the workshop.

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aims of workshop.

Soumia and i have quite complementary visions on urban design and we decided to team up to offer students an original course aimed at seeing the urban design process at a small and resilient scale.

Soumia, an architect with a focus on edible architecture and permaculture, is particularly incline to dig into subjects such as the productive city. she develops architectural patterns that both consume low resources product limited wastes. she wanted the students to see the street as a food production unit and consider how we can create holistic plans to address food self-sufficiency and waste-production on a small scale.

As for myself, with a growing interest in ethnography and after a year spent in ho chi minh city, i felt the lack of awareness towards social sciences was particularly prejudicial to the transformation of the urban fabric. i introduced students to urban ethnography for them to explore the social and cultural properties of places and renew their perspective on public spaces and streets.

The workshop was designed as a continuing process where students had to take from both sets of knowledge to analyse the site and transition to propose design improvements in a comprehensive manner.

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thinking resilience.

We based our approach on three intellectual elements.

First, Ho Chi Minh City’s vernacular urban fabric is known to to lack of parks and piazzas. streets are the most widespread form of public spaces, offering an experience of vibrant and varied urban rhythms to the citizens. yet, these spaces tend to be overlooked because they do not fit in the image of a « modern city » with large boulevards and high-rise buildings. as a consequence, their renewal is often tackled in a neo-functionalist perspective. while they were tools of social inclusion, public spaces are now dedicated to circulation purposes solely. people however tend to resist this approach with their daily urban practices and still use streets for fun, eating, drinking, relaxing (Marie Gibert, 2014) bringing more life to these spaces.

Second, TP. HCM is on the front-line in terms of vulnerability to climate change. floods are more and more frequent during the rainy season, damaging people’s houses and means of subsistence. meanwhile, the blooming of high-rises blocks wind corridors, increasing the inner-city temperatures and exacerbating the poisonous feeling of the extremely polluted air.

Eventually, there is a greater worldwide-spread concern over our food consumption. the conditions of production of our daily alimentation can be questioned. likewise, regular food-poisoning scandals erupting in vietnam hinder people’s trust in standard food production systems. both the model of unsustainable exchanges and the generalised use of pesticides and other substances that kill our aliments’ nutritional properties and cause lethal diseases are to be challenged. there is a need to reconsider the whole food production cycle: what we produce, where, how and at which scale.

We believe these issues can be tackled by a comprehensive solution, not only on the large (governmental) scale, but also at the small, citizens’ arm length. it is also to us, everyday designers and architects to take a step back and rethink our profession. and take action.

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outcomes.

Getting involved with the students was indeed an interesting experience. both subjects – ethnography and permaculture – being were new to them as much as teaching was to us.

They were really curious and motivated about learning new methodologies. yet, it seemed a bit too overwhelming to jump into these two at the same time. students struggled in linking the analysis and design parts. final proposals generally featured interesting ideas and proved a good understanding of taught concepts – although they were sometimes a bit feeble when it came to presenting a comprehensive strategy.

The workshop’s added-value was truly revealed when student realised they could express their sensitivity and sense of observation. this led to a few discreet yet subtle remarks and ideas formulated by students and we tried to motivate them to go further in exploring the urban fabric differently than is usually taught.

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