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2013 07 25-28: Alsėdžiai - The diary of travelling architecture workshop | 9

AUG 2013

On the 25th of July the Traveling Architecture Workshop arrived to village Alsėdžiai in Plunge district. In the beginning not a very big crowd of gathered children (about 10) was a bit disappointing, but the volunteers were cheered up by the welcome with flowers and a steaming dinner. Gladly, the other days the workshop was joined by more children. The real bed and a hot shower was also a nice advantage for travelers experienced not in all the villages and towns.




As always after the first meeting with the kids and tours of the town the debate has boiled. Traveling Architecture Workshop aim is to encourage children to become active creators of their environment. To achieve this, you need to be very flexible because in each visited town volunteers faced with unique situations and obstacles. After a tour the kids expressed their expectations and told about their leisure time, they also had to come up the proposals of possible projects there.



After familiarizing with kids better the most interesting part of the process started - an attempt to find meaningful activities. It is important to do that with regard to children's expressed needs and expectations and current architectural and urban context. This time context has become a limiting factor. Alsėdžių historical part of the town is listed on the Register of Culture for its urban and landscape structure, visual perspective points and the other dominants. Alsėdžių Secondary School is located on the protected terrain. It was one of the main reasons to abandon the idea of children to create the benches on the slope near the school stadium.



It is interesting that for the first time asked the children what they most lack in their environment, we received some answers, but after better evaluation of the situation we received other answers. Among the in advance prepared responses and spontaneous observations while friendly chatting there is a huge space for discoveries and sometimes delusions. Probably Alsėdžiai has led to what has not been clearly defined in the words, but it was felt intuitively that it was missing.




Quite a significant part of leisure children and young people spend doing sports in the local playgrounds. However, the space around the school and at the nearby has a shortage of places where young people can come together to socialize or stay quiet. Several old and not very comfortable benches were not inviting. One of the project participants noted that while there are plenty of places for leisure, but there is no place to quietly read a book or just sit comfortably with friends.




Working together with the children we have created an oasis of quiet leisure, which has become sort of counterbalance to all the active areas around. Among the trees all together we hung the hammock swings and immediately attracted a lot of enthusiasts and who established on the ground nearby. Apparently, those who were sitting answered the question where to put a newly created table and a strange-looking seat with the pipe eye studying surrounding. These two pieces of furniture were made from construction waste left after the fire school. Kids occupied all new seating, lying and overhanging equipment it became clear that the work was useful.




Nearby another swing was hung, "chaise lounges" were made from wooden pallets, new baby swings were made from old tires. All these creations showed also showed the children how unused items can be remade into something new which are not only beautiful and functional but also a low cost. On a nearby playground "Twister" and "Classroom" games were drawn. A little controversy among the volunteers caused a new color for the benches. Sometimes only after drying the paint one can see their true shade - this is also a part of the learning process.





During creative and working process, as usual, various discussions have arisen. The discussions were changed by work, work by games, games by discussions. Sometimes a little chaotic process parts do not decrease the achieved result and the gained wisdom. The process was crowned with closing ceremonies with small live music show organized. The mood lifting music becomes a gratitude for hard work.




After a three-day visit by the Traveling Architecture Workshop in Alsėdžiai it's hard to forget the ideas, which for various reasons did not succeed, although it was certainly worth it. Some would call it a failure, but for me personally it only shows the creative potential of the participants in the project. The children have discovered that even a spontaneous idea may be a small miracle. Volunteers will be able to use the experience they gained in the future - maybe even in the other towns workshop. After all, there are architects who make exhibitions for unimplemented projects. Maybe it is worth for us to think about it.




Meanwhile, the Travelling Architecture Workshop green van continues to travel to other villages and towns.



Alsėdžiai (Plunge district)

July 25-28, 2013



RESULT: A new passive recreation and communication platform crated- hanging a hammock, swings, one stationary and one mobile bench to sit; new games "Classroom" and "Twister" on the existing playground implemented; school benches repainted; hanging swings made into "chaise lounge"; next to volleyball court two benches-swings created; repainted volleyball poles.

VOLUNTEERS TEAM: Rasa Cėplaitė (curator), Jūratė Cirtautaitė, Evelina Sabeckaitė, Eglė Mikalonytė, Miglė Beinoraitė, Vaidotas Montrimas, Almantas Vasiliauskas, Paulius Leonavičius, Linas Kazlauskas.


WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS: Laurynas, Ignas, Tomas, Jovilė, Paulius, Martyna, Paulina, Jolita, Deimantė, Justė, Guoda, Evelina, Vita, Eglė and others.

Text and photos authos - Linas Kazlauskas.

Travelling Architecture Workshop - the first large-scale project by Architecture [Children] Fund, which took place in 2013 during the summer holidays. It aims to draw children and village residents attention to the everyday human environment. The project seeks to demonstrate that to take care of the public environment and to foster real changes could be done without a lot of material and human resources.




Architecture [Children] Fund is a volunteering based initiative that develops and implements educational programs for children and youth about architecture and living environment.