Building a Better World: Incursions into Education, Architecture and Inclusiveness

Ksenia Fiaduta
Saturday, September 24, 2016 - 08:30 to Sunday, September 25, 2016 - 17:30
held at: 
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work Wilfrid Laurier University 120 Duke Street West Kitchener, Ontario N2H 3W8


Michael Murphy: Architecture that's built to heal – Ted Talk 2016 -
Michael Murphy: Architecture that's built to heal – Ted Talk 2016 - - Ted Talk | Today’s Talk 2016
Architecture is more than a clever arrangement of bricks. In this eloquent talk, Michael Murphy shows how he and his team look far beyond the blueprint when they're designing. Considering factors from airflow to light, theirs is a holistic approach that produces community as well as (beautiful) buildings. He takes us on a tour of projects in countries such as Rwanda and Haiti, and reveals a moving, ambitious plan for The Memorial to Peace and Justice, which he hopes will heal hearts in the American South.
Michael Murphy
As co-founder and CEO of MASS Design Group, Michael Murphy envisions and creates community-centric structures with healing built into their core.

The phrase "building a better world" evokes multiple meanings and connotations. For some, it refers to the metaphysical realm of existence and denotes an interior disposition of making a positive change in the world. For others, it acquires a literal meaning of "building" better physical conditions for human co-existence in harmony and peace. This presentation brings these two meanings together by establishing a connection between architecture, education and human values.

The first part of the presentation examines several international initiatives where the physical act of building becomes a symbolic act of building human values and just, peaceful and all-inclusive societies through cooperative action. In these cases, designing and building together with the communities, (rather than for) is accompanied by the development of trust and strong connections between different cultures, organizations and communities.

The second part of the presentation focuses on the spatial and architectural experiences as opportunities for metaphysical learning. Examples of how architecture can nurture our spiritual life include taking symbolic walks through buildings, engaging in contemplative practices, and living the built environment through our senses. Recent practices from the museum, non-profit and educational sectors, offer insights into how these interior experiences can pave the way for exterior positive actions by cultivating compassion, community-building and embracing an attitude of openness and inclusiveness.

These two presentations together highlight the mutual interdependence of inner experiences of architectural medium and the outer actions of building a more inclusive and peaceful world to inhabit it together as One.

Keywords: education, architecture, values, inclusiveness.

Kseniya Fiaduta is a graduate student at the University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain), where she is working on an interdisciplinary thesis on the intersections of architecture, space and pedagogical thought. In addition to research, Kseniya is a project collaborator at "Architects without Borders" (Spain).

In 2015 she cofounded, with Professor Teresa Romañá (UB), a nonprofit organization "_Education_Architecture_"- an initiative that brings together architects, researchers, educators and community to reflect on the nature of learning spaces and educational architecture