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New European Bauhaus
News article6 April 2021

Participatory building processes

We are interested in how our physical spaces can become enablers for community building.


What comes to your mind when you hear about participatory building processes?

This example is not about a place. It's rather about several places and mainly about people.

It's about 60 or so practitioners who build together - with people rather than for people - alternative ways of thinking of the built environment, of habits, connections, local territories, new-old derelict areas, and more.

It's an EU Network of practitioners with different skills that they bring along, according to each project's needs. They are carpenters, architects, landscape architects, designers, curators, cultural producers, film-makers, photographers, writers, graphic designers, cooks, teachers, and professors in universities & architecture schools.

ConstructLab is more about the approach to, rather than the method of, building. It's a collaborative construction practice working on both temporary and permanent projects. Unlike the conventional architectural process in which the architect designs and the builder builds, in constructLab, the project's conception & construction come together.

The designer builds and continues to design on-site. The construction site is no longer the place of uncertainty where the design contends with reality but the context in which the project can be enriched by the unexpected opportunities that occur on the spot. The designers-builders bring the site to life through their permanent presence, generating new dynamics between people.

Their work integrates environmental awareness from conception to realisation. Projects are designed & built with future re-use of the raw materials in mind.

The idea behind constructLab's practice is to rediscover a constructive intelligence in materials & design while handling them. They prioritise low-tech & simplicity. It's not about technical prowess. Instead, it's about finding a common-sense approach & building techniques that can be appropriated and used by everyone.

They share experiences, findings, designs, technics & approaches. They learn, build places & communities.

Go to Co-design in our main menu and share your ideas!

? The Arch / © O.S.T. & Constructlab


Publication date
6 April 2021