The “Communities at Work” project aims to reflect on the meeting between architectural know-how and the inhabitants’ own experiences of their living spaces. This transversal approach to the profession is an attempt to shed light on the implications of architecture in a contemporary world subject to massive changes.
The exhibition presents a journey of the spirit through architecture, by means of five specific case studies on different continents: in Europe, Asia, America and Africa. The aim is to offer an optimistic vision of a world where communities act directly on their living spaces and daily lives.
The different approaches do not follow a formal, theoretical schema designed by an architect, choosing instead to bear witness to the slow and multiple transformations of living spaces by their inhabitants. Communities appear to be the most relevant resources to transform lived environments, thereby producing new ways of considering “spatial” contracts using a bottom-up approach.
The performative aspect of the residents, of uses, of life in all its forms, is taken into account in the process of the project by a precise and indeterminate architecture. Improvisation is used as a possibility to transform living environments, considered here as “Works in Progress”. Through their actions, the communities at work appropriate their environments, thereby creating common spaces where the management of their living spaces is open to debate.
Faced with human and material waste, we propose a change of perspective on life that already exists everywhere, and the means for a discerning, precise and delicate strategy to enhance it. We present documentaries on communities at work in the transformation of their daily environments, in France, but also throughout the world: in Johannesburg, Bordeaux, Detroit, Mérignac, Hanoi… and other cases to be identified as so many nuggets that enlighten us about the world’s capacity for reinvention.
Through a kind of mirror-image, analogous situations inform us about the phenomena at work, by means of their deviation from the norms and standardisations of the world. How do they live together, and which spatial contracts do they imply? The lessons drawn from these different case studies should help us to develop a critical point of view on the ways in which we live together.
Christophe Hutin, curator