Deakin University

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Connections: Academics, architects and community pro-bono projects

posted on 2023-02-05, 23:53 authored by S McGann, B Milech
This chapter proposes a model for offering pro-bono architectural design projects to communities in a fashion that facilitates capacity-building opportunities for three cohorts: academic researchers, early-career graduates and industry professionals. The model provides a structure for collaborative work between all three participants, one that enables developing community-based pro-bono design projects that address real community needs. The model is first described in general terms, then illustrated by a case study comprising a pro-bono residential design project, then discussed in terms of the implications of the case study. The community-focused project that forms the case study was designed by an academic researcher, developed by a recent architecture graduate and supported by practice professionals who provided mentoring, technical back-up and professional indemnity support. In addition to these pro-bono contributions from all participants, the project was supported by a small $ 3,000 publishing grant that enabled the academic to hire the graduate as a research assistant. At the conclusion of the project, each participant in this transient pro-bono community found they gained considerably from the experience. The recently graduated practitioner gained strong client/community experience. The architectural practice gained a more experienced employee and made a contribution to community. The academic found a way to connect academic capacities with community while developing new understandings of the productive nexus between creative practice and academic research. Moreover, and not least, there was a gain for the client, who became a fourth participant in the capacity-development effect of the project.



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