UCSI University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment (SABE) students recently collaborated with students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and embarked on a ‘design and build’ project in Baseco, Philippines.
Baseco is a man-made 52-hectare island currently housing over 60,000 rural migrants referred to as informal settlers, deprived from amenities and often marginalised and neglected.
The project was to build a temporary shelter for the locals, especially the children, to meet, play and rest with the aim of fostering among them a sense of community-living as well as belonging and ownership.
The project benefitted students by exposing them to community-led design that goes beyond the one-dimensional process of consultation but involving the stake-holders in decision making through till implementation.
It was a challenging mission to achieve with the limitation of funding and facilities. However the team, under the leadership of Professor Francesco Rosini from CUHK and James Lim from UCSI University overcame the obstacles with teamwork motivated by a sense of empathy. Upon completion of the project, the students couldn’t believe that they actually constructed the building in just four days.
Through this project, the students understood the barriers and opportunities in architecture “design and build” projects, grasping the concepts from an international perspective with a local context, thus paving them to become global creative citizens.
“This is such a wonderful workshop, giving us a chance to comprehend the construction processes and techniques via hands-on training, realising the design while we are still studying. Working on site made us see the shortcomings of our designs when implemented on site, when we need to quickly derive alternatives in response to given constraints.” shared Adrian Cheeng Seng Cee, a Master of Architecture student at UCSI.
“The best part of the trip was to harvest the outcome after the full-cycle of process. On top of the essential construction exercise, I enjoyed the time communicating with the locals to understand their needs and work as a team.” said Kong Zhi Hoe, a third year Bachelor of Science (Hons) Architecture student.
Overall, the project not only gave the students international exposure but also inspiring the students to develop passion.
“SABE will continue to embark on community-based, hands-on projects as we believe empathy is crucial to a human-centred design process and helps the student to set aside his or her own assumptions about the world in order to gain insight into their users and their needs,” said James.