INHABITATION THRU’ RAPID PROTOTYPING: INVESTIGATING THE NOTION OF WELLNESS IN MAAI MAHIU, KENYA
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The workshop gives students a more hands-on educational experience, within a community-oriented project, with an emphasis on learning to frame and address questions of what should be built, rather than what can be built, both for the performance and operation of the projects. The site for the workshop is a community healthcare center in Maai Mahiu (near Nairobi), Kenya. The healthcare center is a live project, under preliminary design. The students will work within the context of the project and site to define solutions, design & build five outdoor pavilion/structures - as prototypes/ mock-ups - creating opportunities for rest, relaxation, & gathering. Each structure will incorporate concepts of wellness, outreach, infrastructure (water & waste), waiting, refuge & play. These prototypes will be located on or adjacent to the boundary walls of the existing site, thereby creating thresholds between the physical site & the community of Maai Mahiu. The prototypes will be made with materials and systems found within the context of the site, thereby establishing an ethos of recycling, reusing & remaking. The workshop design process will enable students to:(1)Engage with community stakeholders, investigate culture & the inhabitation of space (2)Explore methods to critically engage, & document, the immediate context (the project’s own reality); not merely the physical & geographic context, but material & technological context as well (3)Define solutions & develop “immediate” technologies in response to the specific context (4)Improvise & adapt construction assemblies in response to materials available.(5)Test through rapid prototyping, & in-situ mock-ups, verifying scales & strategies. Expenses for students: Material cost:Rs.2500, food and stay:Rs.10000, local travel:Rs.45000/-.

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