Do-It-Yourself Architecture

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9

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What is do-it-yourself architecture?
Self-building is a challenge not only in terms of material, economic, regulatory and bureaucratic difficulties, it is a challenge to oneself. It requires the desire and the ability to recognize one's own limits, to overcome one's own prejudices, to put aside one's own ego in favour of the ability to listen to the needs of others.

English edition.

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Does architecture have to obey, deny, or subvert the logic of the housing market? 
Countless architects and architectural theorists have tried to answer this question since soon after the Second World War. A seemingly simple question, but one that goes beyond the boundaries of the professional role of architects – challenging practices, habits and the establishment.

What is do-it-yourself architecture? Is it an isolated phenomenon, autonomous and disconnected from the usual practice of the profession? Is it mainly related to experiments and research, or to developing countries and to small buildings? Is the recent proliferation of examples of self-building in the international scene a phenomenon related to the economic crisis, to the difficulties of youth in entering the job market, or to the desire for autonomy and freedom of many professionals?

From do-it-yourself to do-it-together architectures, self-building has widely developed theoretical basis and constitutes a very common practice. Self-building is the field of research which was founded, in the Fifties and Sixties, the modern theories concerning collective habitat, participatory design approaches and co-housing.

Every year more than 200,000 people around the world construct their homes with self-building strategies. In 2014 the UK Government announced that it would invest over 150 million pounds “to promote self-building in the private housing sector in 2014 as a part of plans to help solve the housing crisis”.
Do-it-yourself architecture covers different disciplines that are very diverse from one another: from assisted self-building, to that which is spontaneous and self-managed, to the use of local construction techniques – traditional or vernacular –, from contemporary and cutting-edge technologies, or from the completion of a house or a shelter to a school or a community building, or even to collective forms of co-housing. 

With projects and researches by: Al Borde, Alan Willett and Steve Gaarder, Archintorno, BC Architects, Beyond Architecture Group, Collettivo Ark, Cristina Cerulli, FAREstudio_Riccardo Vannucci, Fundación Escuela para la Vida, Giovanni Jalla, Ian Hall, Karine Labrousse, Jorge Dantas, Kikuma Watanabe, Luca Sampò, Marco Aresta, Giulia Scialpi, Ecohacer, Nathaniel Corum, Paolo Mestriner, Paolo Robazza, Paulo Alfonso, Marta Maccaglia, Rural Studio, Elena Barthel, Sara Capurro, VIVIAMOLAq

Boundaries is a quarterly magazine on sustainable, socially engaged and humanitarian architecture. Each issue is monographic, with full texts in English and Italian (facing), and all articles are accompanied by notes and a bibliography for further reading. ISSN 2239-0332.

Grade 
12/05/2014

a quality publication worth following

Boundaries’ issue n. 9 reveals topic of do-it-yourself architecture through different projects and researches from around the world. The topic today is particularly important not only in developing countries but also in the “western society”, where rich are becoming richer and poor are becoming poorer, were young and not-so-young-anymore struggle to get opportunities to start a decent independent life.
In such times we have to rethink architecture/urbanism we do, overcome bureaucratic dinosaur and provide better, healthier spatial solutions we can afford.
In the process we should not forget about power of people, their knowledge and skills; together we could do it.
Other Issues of Boundaries covers also problematic topics intertwined with today's spatial/social/living problems worldwide, such as emergencies relief architecture, cities, affordable building techniques and materials.
Therefore a quality publication worth following.
The shipping was supper fast, only two days and safely packed. Thank you.

Grade 
06/05/2014

Boundaries goes strong!

As more and more magazines of various kinds cease publication each year (87 in 2013 according to one source, though over 100 started in the same period) or fold into all-digital versions, it's always good to see titles going strong, despite the difficulties in running print media, particularly in the realms of architecture and urbanism.

The photograph accompanying Luca Sampo's editorial to issue 9 of Boundaries shows two men in Burundi sawing a large tree trunk long-wise down the middle, a seemingly insurmountable task aided by leaning it at an angle upon an armature of smaller timber and by one pretty impressive saw. The photo is very telling relative to the issue's theme, not just because the two men are "doing it themselves," but because the enormous expenditure of labor is front and center. And while the idea of D.I.Y. (even in the sense of weekend projects in American suburbs) is importantly based on the end user doing what the end user wants, as opposed to it being done by somebody else, I'd argue that labor is key in the endeavor.

The investment of labor in constructing a building – be it sawing tree trunks, ramming earth, stacking stones, filling sandbags, or one of the many other acts depicted in the issue – is a source of pride, but it is also the best means for understanding how a building works, how it can be lived in to its best potential. That thinking applies to single houses but also community buildings like libraries and schools, and the latter thankfully predominates here in the issue great selection of projects, extending the idea of "building = experience" to the community level, further binding people together through their shared labor.

  • 1 out of 1 people found this review useful.
Grade 
05/19/2014

Super !

GREAT seller.
FAST shipper even though it came all the way from Italy.
Super cool "magazine".

Grade 
05/03/2014

Amazing !

Architecture in Africa is NOT all mud huts or something cool looking designed by a well-intentioned westerner. There are Africans designing from their own perspective, using their own skills, and the existing skills of their fellows. And their results are AMAZING. And, yes, as you dig deeper into this subject, you will find many westerners designing in an African way–and many of their results are also amazing. But this is only a MAGAZINE that feels like a book and it can only cover a small amount of the daily efforts of an entire continent. This Magazine is simply the best architectural publication currently, and I feel in the past as well, being printed. They ship fast and it is exciting to open each issue. I just bought every back issue and started my subscription. And it is not as expensive as you would imagine. Boundaries, (the magazine), is shipped from Italy.

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Do-It-Yourself Architecture

Do-It-Yourself Architecture

What is do-it-yourself architecture?
Self-building is a challenge not only in terms of material, economic, regulatory and bureaucratic difficulties, it is a challenge to oneself. It requires the desire and the ability to recognize one's own limits, to overcome one's own prejudices, to put aside one's own ego in favour of the ability to listen to the needs of others.

English edition.

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