Today we were part of the role playing team at London Met working with students studying for an MA in Architecture for Rapid Change and Scarce Resources to explore participatory design. We were looking at the reuse of the school building on Holloway Road as a Sure Start Children's Centre and there was lots of discussion about play, flexible spaces and security vs creating a welcoming presence on the high street. Pleasantly surprised that there wasn't a post it note explosion and instead lots of thoughtful bubble diagrams and models for helping to define 'fun' for children, parents and their teachers.
In addition to the brain work out from the students we also had a presentation from Nabeel Hamdi who is a guru in this field and one of those people who draws you in with his knowledge and reverence for the informal. His work taps into the opportunities from small-scale grass roots interventions and here at mend we are inspired by his approach not only to design but in acting as a catalyst for change.
The workshop today was part of Women in Architecture's Creating Change programme in partnership with RIBA 'Architects for Change', the RIBA Trust, London Metropolitan University, the Building Centre and the 'DiverseCity-Architects' international exhibition network. The programme concludes tomorrow night with a lecture at RIBA in Portland Place from Ashu Sharma of SEEDS India and Nabeel.