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Reflecting on the agency of architecture for regenerative and distributive solutions in the Global North and the Global South  

17-18 November 2022, hybrid event


As a response to the extractive and exploitative character of the building sector, many universities and architectural practices in the Global North and the Global South have started to investigate other ways of designing and building that create a positive impact on both social and ecological level by searching for regenerative and distributive solutions (cfr. concept of Doughnut economics). Examples are universities or Schools of Architecture that set up design studios and design & build projects in their own country or abroad to realize projects with locally harvested or regenerative materials, often in co-creation and collaboration with local communities (cfr. Postgraduate Building Beyond Borders). Also many architectural practices have been exploring new ways of designing and building that challenge both the traditional materiality and the traditional client-architect relation. This way, architectural schools and architectural practices try to become agents of change.

Most universities and architectural practices see this as a learning opportunity and an opportunity to create positive impact, by exchanging expertise with different stakeholders and by incorporating co-creative ways of working with local stakeholders. Students are confronted with different visions of reality, learn to build with local materials and building techniques, with non-traditional clients, … and try to integrate it in their projects. Architects expand or change their role from designer for a specific client to manager of a building community, coordinator of participatory workshops, developer or producer of new building materials, …

Schools of Architecture and architectural practices consider this ‘building beyond borders’, not necessarily only beyond geographical borders, but more importantly beyond professional, social, technical, cultural, intellectual, … borders.

Yet whether the impact of building beyond borders is actually positive, whether it inspires others to do things differently, to look differently to the built environment remains quite often implicit. How do communities experience a project in which students or architects try to create regenerative and/or distributive solutions? Do these solutions actually meet their needs? Do both human and more-than-human beings experience a positive impact? Do these projects induce changes in the building industry? What are the keys to reassure positive impact and positive change on all levels and all beings in such cross-border building projects?

In the successful first edition of Fall Symposium 2020 Building Beyond Borders, we reflected with more than 100 participants from over 30 countries on the dynamisms of cross-border collaboration in build projects. You can find the outcome of these reflections here. In the second edition, we would like to set up a broad conversation and reflection on the topic of the agency of architecture in creating changes towards more regenerative and distributive solutions and approaches in the building sector, both in the Global North and the Global South.

We invite academics, practitioners, students, NGO’s, community members, …from all over the world to contribute to this conversation, through an active contribution by means of a presentation or lecture or by attending the symposium and participating in the discussions that will be organized.

Two keynote speakers, one from academics and one from architectural practice, who have extensive expertise in this domain will highlight different perspectives on the topic of regenerative and distributive design and build in different contexts. 

with financial support of