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Architecture with the Community is an articulation program of Teaching, Research and Community Outreach, proposed by Architecture School of Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. This articulation seeks to revalue participatory processes and raise awareness about the importance of learning architecture and quality habitat in the cooperative societies construction.
The program is an umbrella that covers the community engagement projects of the Architecture career, the Living Landscapes Laboratory (Borja, 2012), which has a strong research component, being the engine for the methodological proposal; and to the subject of Community Management, which reflects on the role of the architect, community projects and the importance of monitoring processes on communities. The three components revalue the work of the others by promoting interdisciplinary actions. With these three edges, the sense of Social Responsibility in students is reinforced, emphasizing the importance of the profession and its impact on people. Likewise, it seeks to empower the social actors of their own development processes, the responses constructed jointly are never imposed or assistance. They are based on the co-responsibility and management capacity of community partners.
The methodological proposal is called “Interpreter Architect”, which seeks to revalue cultural aspects and raise awareness about the architecture, habitat and landscape importance from 7 intervention strategies: make architecture with the community, respect the knowledge of the other, assume the reality of the community as their own, give importance to the design process, constantly feedback the process, empower the community, and symbolically celebrate the process outcome (Ríos et al., 2016)
The community partners of the program are communities and civil society organizations in vulnerability situations that need transformation and support for their development. With them, medium and long-term projects are carried out, strengthening their identity through products such as architectural projects, workshops or space installations, as well as monitoring the processes that are necessary to achieve the projects.
During 2018, 12 preliminary projects, 7 workshops and 4 follow-ups were carried out, each with their respective diagnoses and products delivered. It has worked in 4 territories of Quito: La Merced, Cotogchoa, La Loma Grande and Chugchilán reaching an approximate population of 18,000 people.
The experience has shown the importance of recovering the cultural dimension, reinforcing the identification processes, recognizing and valuing traditions and rituals of their own, which strengthen the links with the place. The projects carried out acquire a public character that reinforces the belonging and appropriation sense in the sector. It is important to identify the groups and social organizations of the sector to work together and empower them of processes, since only they will be responsible for specifying the actions carried out.
From the Academy, it is important to implement these practices since they demonstrate the role of the profession, support to improve the quality of life of civil society, observe the importance of the participation of the different actors in the process, and become tools that consolidate desires and cooperative building community way.