The Marielle Franco Community-Design Award is meant to recognize the day-to-day activity of architects immersed in multidisciplinary teams composed of designers and social workers within slum areas.
The 2019 award will have its epilogue in Rio de Janeiro during the first week of December 2019. It includes 5-day designing and building workshop led by 2018 awarded team 'Arquitetas sem Fronteiras' in the favela of 'Maré' (where Marielle Franco was born and raised), which is organised by CAU/RJ (Rio de Janeiro chapter of the Brazilian Council of Architects and Urbanists (Conselho de Arquitetos e Urbanistas do Brasil). It also involves the Scientific Conference 'Risk, resilience, humanitarian architecture and incremental housing in favelas'.
2nd edition — 2019
THE REGISTRATION PERIOD IS OPEN TILL 22 SEPTEMBER 2019
1st edition — 2018
Reunited on the 14th of November at the first day of the 8th International Conference on Building Resilience in Lisbon 2018, the final painel of evaluation, composed by eith experts from eight different countries from the five continents, and after watching the videos presented at the final stage, remarked the high quality and outstanding commitment with the respective local communities of the six shortlisted candidates.
The final vote decided for Arquitetas sem Fronteiras - Brasil as the first recipient of the Marielle Franco Community Design Award. The devoted work of a group of still young female architects with women within the favelas of the periphery of Belo Horizonte was appreciated by the Jury for the simplicity of the approach, the full involvement of the residents in the different moments of the housing upgrading, from project layout to mansory works and finishes, including acquiring of materials and budget management.
The persistent work focused on the dialogue, training, capacitacion and empowerment of women with no experience, without waiving any phase of the design and reconstruction process, crosses the borders of community-design showing new possibilities of mutual understanding and fruitful cooperation between architects and low-income 'clients'.
This architectural design award is named after the Brazilian pacifist, human-rights champion, black-women activist, former favela (slum) resident (as always proudly recalled by herself), the sociologist and elected city councillor Marielle Franco, recently killed in the streets of Rio de Janeiro in a cold and calculated murder that shocked the country and the world. The crime deserved a sounding public condemn by the Brazilian associations of architects and urbanists with whom Ms. Franco was working closely towards the legitimation of architecture as a social service, to be provided free of charge to disadvantaged families through the local government (as medical or legal services presently are). Further, she engaged in the public discussion about the role played by women inside the favelas, namely their specific vulnerabilities and needs in the use of spaces and buildings in the face of violence and abuse, as well as their capacity to positively shape the built environment. These striking links and the need to celebrate the co-work of residents of favelas and specialists – namely architects, social scientists and development practitioners – frame the proposal of a new distinction (to be in the future attributed on a regular basis), which intends to memorialise a suddenly silenced human-rights champion who has gained the admiration of the international community.
The award, in the form of a diploma and a prize money, will be granted by the NGO Building 4Humanity and private sponsors (according to the donations raised), and is supported by the Rio de Janeiro chapter of the Brazilian Council of Architects and Urbanists (Conselho de Arquitetos e Urbanistas do Brasil) and the Portuguese Order of Architects (Ordem dos Arquitectos Portugueses), among others. This special award chiefly seeks to reward and encourage the work of architects, NGOs or design teams in enabling design and building by people, in line with John Turner’s reasoning about community architecture. Following Marielle’s legacy of defending the minorities, this prize stands for a full commitment vis-à-vis the most vulnerable, which shall be demonstrated by the award candidates through the narrative of a structured, continuous and consistent shared process, having as output, for instance, the improvement of housing, urban-service infrastructures, educational or cultural collective equipment, or public spaces.
Differently from prizes that stress the power of design, sturdy enough to change an existing undesired status quo, the Marielle Franco Community-Design Award is meant to recognize the day-to-day activity of architects immersed in interdisciplinary teams working within slums or other deprived and high-vulnerability areas. It intends to give visibility to the outstanding performance of architects playing an intermediary role in dweller-based processes of building new homes, incremental housing, and community indoor- and outdoor-space improvements. It validates architects’ creativity but also their intellectual integrity and moral strength in seeking to improve the lives of families threatened and affected by disasters, extreme poverty, armed conflicts, forced displacements, eviction or urban violence.
In this sense, the recipient of the Marielle Franco Community-Design Award can be either an architecture practitioner, a group of professionals or an organization with a long-standing experience and substantial achievements in the improvement of the living conditions, the reduction of disaster risks and the strengthening of local resilience, while co-working with families and neighbourhood associations. The long-standing role of the awardee in supporting community-related initiatives should be fully aligned with the SDG 11 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which focuses on “making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Such significant endeavours therefore justify a public recognition and a financial incentive.