Design and conversation

A great idea is very rarely one person's very first idea. Especially in the built environment good design relies on teamwork and conversation.

Conversation is a powerful tool, and something everyone is capable of. Conversations can be many things; menial, political, well-meaning, charged. Conversation is a key part of being a designer, and especially an architect.

Do we have the right conversations? I could spend hours discussing RAL 7012 vs. 7026 and the merits of brick dimensions. But a few weeks ago I spent a few hours in a very different kind of conversation; Designing for the Refugee Crisis at the Building Centre. Two hours of heated debate about the role of design and politics in a humanitarian crisis. Designers, aid workers and academics discussing designs for emergency shelters and wearable tents. Questioning if design is even necessary, why has no-one come up with a solution yet?

The number of displaced people reached 67 million in 2014; refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people. That equates to 1 human in every 122.

It’s a good thing to talk about it. Even if no conclusion is reached. Raising awareness helps conversation, and conversation sparks ideas. Conversation makes people think, and someone might just come up with the right idea.

The link below is to a short piece about the talk at the Building Centre, including information on the two main designs that were presented. The Better Shelter, a more durable emergency response than the canvas tent synonymous with refugee camps, and the Wearable Tent, a student project that from humble beginnings in conversation went viral sparking debate across the Internet.

Debate is an important tool. Sharing ideas and views, engaging different perspectives and inspiring new thoughts and directions. At KSS conversation is appreciated and encouraged, and for young designers starting out in this process that is hugely appreciated.

For more information:
www.unhcr.org
www.bettershelter.org
www.rca.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/interior-design-and-textiles-students-create-innovative-wearable-shelter-refugees
www.switxboard.net
www.rsc.ox.ac.uk

Published by
Joanna Hyland Architect
Published by
Joanna Hyland Architect

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