Design as distributed agency is seen in all projects related to architecture and never stops. Even the design and production of something as small as of a piece of furniture requires a coordination of different people and skills will inevitably be influenced by a number of factors which also act as agents. In a previous post I wrote about how part of my Praxis 1 essay is how architecture for refugees is a great example of design as distributed agency, where groups of people, organisations and individuals work together, share ideas, design and build shelters and settlements for refugees after they are forced to relocate. In my understanding the term “design as distributed agency” refers to design as a shared process which involves a broader conversation between institutional and individual actors involved throughout the whole process, as well as non-human factors and agents that can influence the design, development, execution and operation of a project. The complexity of this network can vary according to the individualities of each project. The visit to East Street Arts gave us an opportunity to watch and hear about its story and development and allowed us to create a clearer image as to what is distributed agency. Their approach is very similar to what I am hoping to achieve with my scenario of Makers, Artists and People in Norton Hammer where I am planning to provide studio spaces for artists and makers as well as exhibition spaces to promote their work and create tighter connections between with people both inside and outside the community.
Lakatamia Refugee Settlement, Cyprus. The photograph shows the refugee settlement of Lakatamia which was designed and constructed in 1976, two years after the Turkish invasion in Cyprus. Even four decades after its construction, its inhabitants act as actors of a distributed agency and still perform changes and hacks to improve the building and adjust it to their constantly changing lives.