Tacloban, Philippines 2010
A collaboration with a group of families to design and build a study center for their children.
The study center was designed and built through a collaboration with the informal settlement of Seawall and a charity called Streetlight which works with the seawall community to help their children off the street and into school. The aim of the project was to use architecture as a tool to empower the parents of Seawall to improve the learning conditions for their own children. Through a series of workshops, games and testing on site, the design process became a platform to exchange ambitions, experience and knowledge of everyone involved. The mothers took responsibility for the design and building of the interior of the school, while the fathers engaged in the building process. Since many of the fathers were day laborers working in the local cement factory, training them in construction skills opened up other work opportunities after the completion of the building. The project became not only about building a study center, but also about building a sense of community. Retrospectively, the process was described by the families as ‘Bayanihan’, a Filipino tradition of working together towards a shared goal.