Architecture Sans Frontières International – General Assembly – India 2017 June 21, 2017
This year’s Architecture Sans Frontières International General Assembly was held in India, in the city of Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), from the 17th – 23rd April 2017. The GA is an annual meeting that aims to gather ASF-International’s member organisations from all over the world. From the current 34 members, sixteen were present, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Jordan, Nepal, Portugal, UK and Spain. ASF-UK was represented by Emily Wright and Joana Marques, Associates from the Challenging Practice team.
The theme for the event was “Looking Back, Moving Forward”, with a focus on celebrating the past and envisioning the future as the ASF-Int network celebrates its 10th Anniversary and steps into its second decade.
Organised by ASF-India and hosted within the facilities of the College of Architecture Trivandrum (CAT), the week represented the chance for learning and sharing, discussion and reflection among the delegates from many different backgrounds.
The first four days were dedicated to hands-on workshops on earth and bamboo construction techniques, lead by ASF-India and ASF-Indonesia. This was an excellent opportunity to develop or deepen knowledge of construction with natural materials. Some small structures were built in the exterior spaces of CAT.
During the ASF Dialogue sessions, a selection of projects undertaken by different ASF country groups was presented, and there was a panel discussion about the past and future of ASF-Int. The Challenging Practice course was presented by Emily Wright on behalf of ASF-UK. By sharing experiences, there was the opportunity of knowledge exchange and the potential for establishing new partnerships. These first days were open to the public and were attended by some students from CAT.
On the day of the formal assembly, it was time for approving the annual activities and financial reports, electing the new members of the ASF Int board, and deciding some points for the next period. The new Board members elected were: Henry Cardona (ASF Colombia and ASF Sweden), Xavier Codina (ASF Espana), Ligia Nunes (ASF Portugal), Andrea Fitrianto (ASF Indonesia) and Bruno Demers (Architects for Emergency, Canada).
During those days, it was possible to visit the ASF Award 2017 exhibition, displaying the 49 projects received this year. The award promotes two categories: the Social Production of Habitat, in which the winner was ASF Indonesia, and also Challenging Practices which was won by Architecture For Refugees.
On the side of the main activities there was the opportunity for smaller informal meetings between members. ASF-UK held Challenging Practice meetings with partners regarding the planned update of the modules, as well as with other ASF organisations interested in learning more about the programme and perhaps eventually starting to run it in their countries. There was also time for some sightseeing around the city and for visiting some of the major works by Ar. Laurie Baker.
The General Assembly was a great experience and opportunity to raise awareness, and strengthen commitment and motivation among ASF members sharing common values and working towards similar visions.