Hello Wood is happy to announce Project Village as the theme of its summer school and festival from 2015-2017.
Mahatma Ghandi once said: “the Future of India lies in its villages”. Yet contemporary architectural discourse has focused mostly on the role of the city within society. How many times have we heard that more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities? What if, for a moment, we moved away from our obsession with the city, revisited Ghandi’s famous words and said: The future of the world lies in its villages! The traditional understanding of the village suggests the smallest urban formation, in which different community roles take an architectural form. The village is an outgrowth of its own socio-political, historical and environmental context over a long period of time. Can this process be addressed differently? Can settlements generate their own context? Can a week-long exercise in real-time masterplanning, practicing the craft and politics of building, partying and constructing our own community lead to a new form of village?
PROJECT VILLAGE IS PROPAGANDA FOR REVERSED URBANISATION. By leaving the city and by occupying a piece of the countryside for a week- long workshop we will build a community-settlement. We ask professionals and students from around the world to bring their experience, their pre-conceived and revolutionary ideas of each part of the village and to negotiate these against time and material constraints, the neighbor’s lot, and –most importantly– the common purpose. We all have our culturally influenced idea of what a village is. By challenging the informal and rural fantasy of the village, Project Village will become an instant functional settlement. The major programmatic parts will include those of a traditional village: Community space, dwellings, market, school, barn and so on. All will be infused with the pleasure and fun of the temporary collective. What defines a cohesive community settlement? Will we find the wooden prototype for an ideal market stand? Will we establish our own economy that informs a new type for the place of trade?
In the past 10 years numerous art projects have focused on the topic of community settlements. From the experimental settlement of AVL Ville built by Joep Van Lieshout, through Yael Bartana’s propagandistic art work Wall and Tower, to Thomas Hirshhorn’s Gramsci Monument, a temporary community centre built by the local community in the Bronx. These works all raise questions on the role of community settlements, their reciprocal relation to their environment, and their urban, cultural, socio-political context. Project Village joins this debate. Continuing the tradition of Hello Wood, participants are invited to build a one–to-one model of their collective vision of a village. In this experiment, after designing the different parts, we build a settlement in one week, and set it on its way to be occupied by different communities and multiple activiities. What will the architectural manifestation be of our community force? Once constructed, how will Project Village live on? Will it become an infrastructure for future events? We are challenging the autonomous projects to be part of a whole, to establish a relation to one another and to create a hamlet in Csóromfölde that lies on a small rise in the South West of the Hungarian countryside.
Let’s try to find out if tomorrow’s villages will be about sustainability, survival or pleasure. Join us in this debate and help us realize our collective fantasy of a village designed, built and inhabited by its architects.
CURATOR OF PROJECT VILLAGE: Johanna Muszbek, lecturer at University of Liverpool, School of Architecture