Built Environment: The Right Problem

Hydr MI + Hala Bashir Malik

The built environment is the result of a number of processes that have been brought together over time in service of man. These processes include both social and technical parameters, both of which work together to produce a final spatial entity that becomes useful, mainly as shelter. One aspect of crises is that they undo most processes that have been normalized over time, and in most instances, these processes cannot be redone in a similar manner as before due to changed conditions (be it social, economic, natural, political, etc.). Within the breakdown of the process through which a structure is brought to the point that it acts as shelter or which at the very least is productive to man in some way, one can trace many components which contribute to the overall whole — it is through the understanding of these components, including human input, that one can startidentifying perhaps the problem which needs to be resolved and the process one can employ to resolve it.

Keeping this in mind, this workshop – “The Right Problem” – will strive to focus on arriving at the acknowledgement of the right problem as the first step towards achieving the right solution. Solutions, even in terms of designs, are subjective to the problem identified; to narrow down to the proper/valid problem is in itself a solution at times particularly during states of crises. A nuanced understanding of the processes that lead the end condition of the built structure is what allows us to identify the right problem. Operating with the understanding that good design is based 90% on how well we know our surroundings and only 10% of what we do with it, this workshop will pay emphasis to the identification and understanding of the social, economic and cultural processes more than a ‘final’ result. At every stage of the design process, the goal will be to investigate and continue to search for valid problems and design that is appropriate to the context, while providing the needful solutions.