What is meant with participatory processes? How can they even come into existence? And what opportunities can architecture offer for these processes? In the Audimax, which functioned as an open discussion room on the evening in question, 15 students discussed these and other questions in small groups and embarked on a playful, unbiased and free design process. In a joint final round, the students presented their ideas and explained how spaces can be created where participation is possible and where a sense of community can grow. Prof. Kéré, who facilitated the group discussions and enabled participants to think in novel ways with his remarks, praised the potential of the students and gave them the following advice: »Be brave, move forward - the world awaits you.«
University President Prof. Winfried Speitkamp, who also took part in the student discussions, thanked the Bauhaus guest professor for his inspiring commitment and encouraged students to use their freedom and the space open to them: »Take advantage of the opportunities that workshops like these offer you. Think outside the box. Only in this way can both society and community benefit.«
The following day, Thursday 20 January 2022, Prof. Kéré continued the intensive exchange in a nearly four-hour workshop on »Emerging City Lab: Learning from Burkina Faso« with 19 architecture students. In cooperation with Associate Prof. Sven Schneider, department of Computer Science in Architecture and Dipl.-Ing. Philippe Schmidt, scientific staff member in the department and coordinator of the Integrated Urban Development and Design Master’s degree programme, participants dealt with the settlement structures of the Bauhaus guest professor’s predominantly agrarian home country, discussing not only structural aspects, but above all social and cultural backgrounds.
In order to understand how planners and urban designers can, in future, better take into consideration local traditions and natural resources within the meaning of a participatory building culture, experiences from research projects of the Emerging City Lab - which is run jointly by the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia - were also incorporated. In this context, Associate Prof. Sven Schneider presented AI-based participatory planning tools for building in sub-Saharan Africa, while Dipl.-Ing. Philippe Schmidt spoke about solutions for sustainable, resource-integrated urban development.
At the end of his second workshop, Prof. Kéré challenged the students to seek and follow new paths and encouraged them to further develop and design necessary solutions for the global problems of our time.