A Framework for Empowerment
The American Architecture Prize
Images courtesy of American Architecture Prize
CED alumnus Praveen Raj (MUD ‘17) has been awarded the 2017 American Architecture Student Prize in Social Housing and Urban Design as well as “New Discovery of the Year” Award in Landscape Architecture.
The American Architecture Prize “aims to showcase the phenomenal talent and vision displayed by architects all over the world”. The prize is set to become one of the most respected awards in the industry.
Raj’s project, titled “A Framework for Empowerment”, seeks to reinvent an immigrant, squatter settlement in Argentina to become a self-sustaining community which would improve the community’s economy and consequently aid the social development of the people currently residing there.
The following is a synopsis of “A Framework for Empowerment”:
“The “Villa 31” in the heart of Buenos Aires, Argentina is an informal settlement (squatter) which has been battling for its existence for the past seven decades. The immigrant settlement having resisted several ‘eradication drives’ is finally going to be revitalized and repaired by the public administration’s urbanization plan through the initiative called ‘Treinta y Todos 2009.’ The project, “A Framework for Empowerment” not only works in parallel with the initiative’s vision but also strives to augment the vision to create self- sustaining communities. Further, the design project critically investigates the ‘Top Down’ urban design schemes generated through the urbanization plan and tangentially proposes an ‘Urban Repair’ framework that aims to poise between the city driven ‘Top Down’ and community driven ‘Bottom up’ design approaches. The proposed design framework also aims at capitalizing the ‘Urban scavenging’ and recycling practice of “The Cartoneros” as an impetus to drive the revitalization of the settlement. This would include production of building materials for construction of housing, reinforcement of public realm and re-connection of the settlement to the formal city. The proposal will formalize and upscale the waste recycling industry as an economic generator to aid in the social development of the people in the settlement.”