It’s certainly no coincidence that we’ll have two nominees in the WDCD Climate Action Challenge involved in the programme of WDCD Live São Paulo (22 & 23 November). But it will be a coincidence if Jurgen Bey and/or Marko Brajovic will be among the winners of the challenge. The international jury will make its choice of winners completely independently on the 21st. Everything is still possible.

We did invite Jurgen Bey and Marko Brajovic as the representatives of an important tendency among the entries, a focus on education. As WDCD’s creative director said before: ‘I am delighted to see that in many projects education is a key component. This tells us that if we act now we can work on creating a conscious and active next generation. I am convinced that this challenge contributes to that important goal.’

Dutch designer Jurgen Bey, who will take the main stage on Day 1 of WDCD Live São Paulo, is an educator by nature who has been combining his work at Studio Makkink & Bey with teaching from the start. He lectured at the Design Academy Eindhoven, the same school he graduated from, and the Royal College of Art in London. Since 2010, he directs the Sandberg Institute, the master’s degree program of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.

Water School

Education plays an important role in the practice of Studio Makkink & Bey, the studio Bey co-founded in 2002 together with architect Rianne Makkink. Their areas of expertise include product design, public space, architecture, and exhibition design. An example is the project they proposed for the Climate Action Challenge, The Water School. In this project, selected emerging designers, artists and craftsmen will work together with the pupils on setting up and constructing a school in Dwarka in New Delhi. Water shortage due to bad water management is a big problem there. By building the school from scratch together with the pupils, theory and practice regarding better water management will go hand in hand. When finished, the school will function as a hub, promoting sustainable ways of living and working.

Amazon learning centre

A somewhat comparable project is the Amazon climate change learning centre, product of a Floating Architecture workshop organized by the Architectural Association (AA) in August. São Paulo based architect Marko Brajovic collaborated in the workshop as one of its leaders alongside AA School professor Nacho Marti. Ten participants from around the world worked together with local inhabitants of the Amazon.

The week long workshop resulted in this floating Climate Change Learning Centre on the banks of the Mamori Lake in Brazil. As an example of resilient and sustainable architecture, the centre intends to help local communities learn to adapt to extreme tidal variations. Inspired by nature, the floating structure is designed to resist strong storms and make use of passive cooling and closed loop nutrient systems. The construction will employ local methods and materials, and once completed, the centre will be sustained by a yearly program of visiting students and learning activities for nearby schools.

Much to our delight, Marko Brajovic agreed to lead one of the activation sessions at WDCD Live São Paulo focussed on floating architectural solutions to adapt to changing climates. Given Brajovic’ interest in biomimicry, the workshop will focus on the examples nature presents us when we search for design solutions. 

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