From Biennale to Orchard – A structure for Parcc Oasis


lesarchiminots archiminots association architecture participation youth childrenAt the end of September 2016 we participated with the association Lesarchiminots (LAM) in the open house days of the Rue Consolat organized by the Asso POC in Marseille, having the luck to collaborate with LAM in the construction of a small equipment at Place Labadié with the children of the association.
Following that fortunate encounter, or rather re-encounter, we kept in contact and at the end of the year the opportunity to participate in the I Biennale d’Architecture of Lyon appeared and we decided to embark together on this new adventure.

Approach / Mental space
The collaboration was possible because we all agree to conceive from the very beginning the exhibition as a starting point and not an arrival. An opportunity to make ourselves and ask questions, to interrogate, to experiment, to imagine… not just to expose.
All of that was transformed over time into an introspective, but at the same time of confrontation, process to understand and choose the message and the topics we wanted to propose. The theme of the role that children can develop in construction of the city, of its public spaces and of its dynamics of use was finally chosen.

Our proposal “Children are dangerous” wanted to highlight children’s potential to positively influence intervention project architecture ephemeral temporal light public space participatory mobile urban nomadurban dynamics, being still able to dream more green and habitable cities… cities that would finally be better for everyone!
Their lack of prejudice and their curiosity, their awkward questions and their ability to introduce new narratives in speeches sometimes too rigid could reduce the gap between those who manage and plan the city and the common citizen.

Finally all of that led us to formulate a question: “We the architects, planners, political powers and society in general, would be willing to listen to children to plan together happier cities or ARE WE AFRAID OF CHILDREN?”

A 8-meter-long sign with the text “children are dangerous” was installed in the square in front of the entrance of the Sucrerie, the building that hosted the exhibition, a place very crowded by the public in general and forced passage for the visitors of the exposition, to encourage the exchange and intensify the public debate on this subject.

In fact we decided to install the our entire proposal in the outdoor spaces of the biennale to reach a wider audience than the directly interested in its proposals and willing to purchase the ticket for access.

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Realization / Physical space
All of that materialized in a double agora to sit and talk. One of the spaces was covered by a dome made of shutters installed on a vertical pallets base, to give it more height and to visitable, while the other, with its level changes, invited to play and stop by, as both children and adults could sit comfortably thanks to its different heights.

From the beginning the structure was designed so that, once the event was finished, it would be donated free of charge and could be permanently installed in an urban garden.
The members of the PARCC Oasis of Clermont-Ferrand, even before being able to see an image, showed enthusiasm for the possibility and accepted the challenge of participating in the production and assembly of the structure at the biennale, to which also contributed volunteers from AFS France and of course the members of LAM.

The objective of the participation of the friends of PARCC Oasis in this first phase was their empowerment. The trained people were able to correctly manage the disassembly, transport and assembly in the new location with minimal or zero incidences, demonstrating the effectiveness of a design and technology transfer schemes designed and specifically conceived for community’s empowerment.

Technically we, once again, weaved different geodetic domes over the same spherical surface, to set up a rigid structure however the flimsy nature of its component elements. At the same time we wanted to continue our experimentation and set up an aesthetically attractive set, which could show how the geometric configuration of simple pieces can create ensembles with very different characteristics from those of its basic elements. We have no record of any dome built by other people with this system, so that this would be the second “Z-desic™” structure of the world!

Development of the biennale
During the inauguration days, LAM’s children were responsible for presenting our proposal to the public and chatting with the assistant to explain the proposal and confront with them.
participatory planning public space intervention course workshopThe children were also responsible for the official presentation of the proposal, around a table and in front of the microphones, despite their short age, shared with lucidity, clarity and precision their vision of the city and their reasons for claiming that their voice should be heard when urban issues are debated, without giving up their joy and spontaneity. They carried out this task as citizens and professionals in front of the public.

On June 10 we also had the opportunity to carry out our workshop “Geodetic Geometries” in its children’s version. The children developed the task of preparing the pieces, assembling the modules and built by themselves the sphere under the supervision of the tutors.

The result of the workshop was exposed in the interior spaces of the exhibition demonstrating the excellent work and what can be achieved by giving space and relying on the younger members of society.
Learn more about the children’s workshops of “Geodetic Geometries” here.

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leftover spaces vacant empty lots light temporary architecture projectThe Bienniale are places, where under the same labels, proposals generated under a wide range of different working patterns are collected. Seemingly similar initiatives can be articulated with opposing economic, social and empowerment cycles and those in the same way they will also have very different effects on the communities in which they develop.

One of our objective was to close a cycle in which the community was not used to build together an element to later extract it and expose it once enriched by its work and by the values derived from being generated in its interior. Depriving a community of results means making it more impoverished from the initial situation, having spent many social energies, much commitment, many hopes during the processes involved in creation of the proposed element.

We wanted, in change, that our participation in this event could be an opportunity to provide support to a community and that the added value of what was built could remain in it. To do so, we set up a clear cycle, in which, a part our exhibition message, thanks to the participation in the biennale it would be possible to recover the needed resources and to gather the necessary energies for the construction of a equipment that once finished could be donated to a social initiative.participatory planning self-build self-construction participation community empowerment architecture

Under this scheme the added value of the experience, the working hours of the volunteers, the produced architecture is not kept in the hands of the promoter but in the community ones, in a cycle in which it benefits from institutional dynamics in contrast to the diffuse scheme in which institutions benefit from the social initiatives that the communities have developed independently and even in spite of them.

We are convinced that the physical and mental spaces in which the added value is created and in which remains are key indicators for the coherent evaluation of experiences that are defined as social, participatory, sustainable, cooperative, ect…

This value does not belong to Ctrl+Z which has given up, as in previous occasions, the property of the structure, but is now in the hands of the PARCC Oasis Association, which legitimate the donation through commitment and work invested. We hope that our initiative can be of support and help to respond to the real situations in its territory and on which they were already working before our collaboration.

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The Z-desic™ structure is an original design by Gianluca Stasi (Ctrl+Z). Its construction has been organized and managed in a joint initiative between Lesarchiminots (Marseille) and Ctrl+Z (Seville) during the I Biennale d’Architecture of Lyon, and donated to PARCC Oasis Association at the end of the exhibition.

Lesarchiminots team: Bouiller Valere, Bouiller Violette, Giancatarina Rosa, Lansiaux Youri, Medelin Daphné, Prisset Celeste, Prisset Paule, Sambuco Valeria, Sambuco Gabriel, Vittorio Leone, Marie-Christine Meyer, Camille Sambuco, Valeria Cappellini, Nikola Watté, Isabelle Hervouet, Lucien Sambuco, Jenny Millot, Nuno Vaz Silva, Nicoletta Perlo, Claire Freour, Elandre Dedrick, Gregory David, Imogen Price

PARCC Oasis Association team Sofiane سفٻان Batnini, Rui Magro, Mouilid Mounir, Serge Bièvre.

Volunteers: Mathilde Malan, Sophie y Candice de ASF France.

Support and help for the implementation of the iniciative: MAP Marseille, EnvirobatBDM, Francesco Tonucci, D’Addario woodwinds, Tangram, Groupe A&A – Novelis, Provelis

A special thanks to the IES Joaquín Romero Murube (Seville), which has provided us with the spaces to carry out the prototypes and testing necessary for the realization of this project.

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