2015 Lecture Series: Jose Galarza: Public Interest Design
Public Interest Design (PID) is seen today as an emergent approach within architecture education and practice, as a response to the tremendous but as of yet unfulfilled need for design services in parts of the world and for communities and individuals who could not otherwise afford the costs associated with such work. While seen as a current trend, PID in fact finds roots in the civil rights movement of the late 1960’s, and tracks its history concurrent with, if not as a predecessor to, the design/build movement from which so-called “socially responsible” hands-on architecture programs have developed.
This presentation will serve as a provocation and inquiry into the successes and failures of PID approaches, using the DesignBuildBLUFF program as a case-study, and paying specific attention to distinguish between processes that focus on building communities from the inside-out as opposed to from the outside-in. DesignBuildBLUFF is a graduate architecture program at the University of Utah focused on immersing students in hands-on design and construction experience in partnership with the Navajo community in the Utah Four Corners area.
Professor José Galarza is the Director of DesignBuildBLUFF at the University of Utah, where his role is to guide students through the process of designing full-scale built works. He is invested in empowering students through hands-on experiences, while at the same time empowering the agency of indigenous peoples to develop for themselves built environments that reflect their own contemporary identities and values. As an architectural designer, builder, and educator, his main interest is to produce work that seeks to reveal the primordial, enduring, and essential character of human shelter. When at all possible he tries to apply systems-based thinking at the intersections of regenerative design, fine art, and equal opportunity.