John McAslan discussed “changing approaches to architecture in relation to increasingly challenging social and community issues beyond the strict reach of clients’ briefs” at the recent Building Better Communities – RSA Event 24/11/10, here.
Personally I found the talk to be abit disjointed with JM constantly passing the can to his employee’s and audience members and I’m not sure there was a strong point or idea to the lecture.
However it was worthy to see examples and insites into his work in developing countries such as Haiti post earthquake and within other developing nations. The idea of helping and making a difference to people living in real poverty was an eye opener as it requires the designer to be inventive in design and construction, choice of materials and then how you procure the work in-situations where there is no longer any sort of organised structure. The New school example was one project that stood out as its flexible design and multi purpose use propelled it to be the nucleus of the town. The lessons one can learn from consulting and designing for clients who have nothing in terms of material possessions must be extremely rewarding in terms of making a difference and to gleam how those fundamental and functional design element hewn from low cost, basic but inventive design can be a catalyst for change.