Built Form

The other SWEDOW

by David Week on 18 August 2011

SWEDOW “SWEDOW” is an acroynm for: Stuff WE DOn’t Want. It was coined by @talesfromthhood, and has spread into the lexicon, to the point where it has its own wordspy entry. Up until five minutes ago, when I researched the term, I thought that the “we” in SWEDOW referred to the recipients, as in “please […]

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The new colonial architecture

by David Week on 15 June 2011

I saw today a picture of a school in Cambodia, designed by Finnish architects. It is very nice looking. It photographs very well. It will be picked up and circulated widely in the architectural press, online and off. Without doubt. You can see more here. In the comments box, I wrote this: This is artistically […]

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Critique of the $300 house

by David Week 10 May 2011

In the 30th April issue of “the capitalists’ bible”, The Economist, I read that: …Vijay Govindarajan, of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, along with Christian Sarkar, a marketing expert, issued a challenge in a Harvard Business Review blog: why not apply the world’s best business thinking to housing the poor? His idea is to […]

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A question of clearance

by David Week 28 April 2011

Social distance Every culture has its own sense of space. This was elucidated most clearly by the anthropologist Edward T. Hall in his book The Hidden Dimension. He also coined the term “proxemics”. According to Hall, we each have a sense of how much distance is comfortable between ourselves and another person. If the other persons get […]

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The river of urbanisation

by David Week 6 February 2011

I met all day yesterday with my colleagues/friends from the NGO startup CoDesign. In among the to-and-fro on agenda items, the following thesis was floated and briefly discussed: By making rural life better, can we stem/slow the drift of people into urban slums? My answer is: no, not in any way that matters. The importance of rural […]

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Crossing the Streams

by David Week 12 December 2010

In “Aid as a conversation between cultures”, I recounted my early experiences in understanding aid as a two-way exchange, rather than a one-way flow. This paper, from 1993, was my first attempt, together with Howard Davis, to put that understanding in writing. On re-reading, I now see this paper as representing an important first step: […]

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Aid as a conversation between cultures

by David Week 12 December 2010

A few days ago, I posted this statement on twitter: “In my ideal world, aid is a conversation between cultures, on the subject of human development in both cultures.” A few of my fellow twitterers picked up on this idea: @debelzie @BonnieKoenig @meowtree @Ethnicsupplies @warisara @idealistnyc One exchange that stays in mind was this: @idealistnyc […]

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New Designs for the Comprehensive High School

by David Week 8 December 2010

The paper below completely transformed my understanding of education. Like architecture, education is one of those professions that seems anchored by the “weight of history.” The paper describes a Federally-funded US re-design of the high school, which attempts to remove that weight, and shift the high school from the 19th C. to the 21st. Let me […]

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Five principles of lean building design

by David Week 28 September 2010

This is a short paper which has been presented in a number of contexts. It started life at the RAIA National Housing Convention, Adelaide 2001 as “Thinking Lean”. This was republished in the South Australian Architect in February 2002. Finally, in 2007 I used it as the basis for a presentation at the Teaching in Architecture Conference, Donau-Universität Krems, […]

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Accountable design—Part 2: Tracing accountability

by David Week 12 September 2010

Maps of accountability In my first post on “accountable design”, I put forward the key question: “cui bono”… who benefits from the design? Of course the question of accountability is not new in Western civilisation. It’s as old as… well… accounting. But over time, the accountability question has slipped further into the future. The earliest […]

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Accountable design—Part 1: Cui bono?

by David Week 3 September 2010

Focus on architecture The title of this blog is “architecture for development”. The persistent problem is that architecture for development tends to unearth all kinds of interesting bigger issues, and it can become more fun to explore these bigger issues, than the nitty gritty of architecture’s role in development. For the moment, I shall resist […]

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About “Architecture for Development”

by David Week 27 April 2010

Why this blog Below, I’ve pasted my professional “about” blurb from my CV, written in some version of bureaucratese. It serves as a potted history of my professional life, and provides some insight, I guess, into my professional persona. But I’m not blogging to further my professional career, which is doing just fine. Here are […]

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