Debate Sábado 29 a las 20h
Modera : Edgar Gonzalez
Participa : Assemble studio / atelier le balto / Diego Peris (todo por la praxis) / CTRL+Z / Ariel Jacubovich (CAPA)

” A camel is a horse designed by consensus “Sir Alec Issigonis, Minis designer

We are lucky to live in an egalitarian society where the participation is a consolidated right. The digital culture gives voice to whom possesses an access to a blog, a section of comments in a diary or takes part in a social network. The possibility of expressing our opinion leads the participation, the debate and the confrontation to the daily practice; to a habitual non-existent commonness only a few years ago.

But, however, this democratization of the opinion runs the risk of turning into its worst enemy. The cacophony that, at present, emerges of these practices, makes increasingly the power difficult to discern the valid voices of those that are not. The fact that any person could offers its opinion, does not carry that any opinion is valid, or that each of them has the same validity.

From the human history, it is obvious that the people have found a special value in living and working together. Put people together and the opportunities, ideas and wealth seems to grow faster than the simple sum of its components

Participation is turning into a bargaining chip that buys everything and helps itself to withdraw of responsibilities. Politicians and bureaucrats use it as tool of automatic validation or political legitimization, without any type of critical position. Because, who is the brave that dares to contradict the popular wishes, or to invalidate a participative process?

It would be interesting to pay attention at more complex models of participation, like the software open source model. It is not a question of a plain system; it is organized into a hierarchy in which anyone can take part in agreement to a hierarchy and reputation.

It runs the risk that the participation, especially in this time of crisis, be understood like something “very good”; a good action to which nobody can be in against, but that is far from being a viable option.

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new. A lot of times, people don´t know what they want until you show it to them”Steve Jobs

However, in the design field, the decisions are the ones that grant the add value to the profession, decisions that someone has to take and in which the consensus tends to decide not the best option, just the more complaisant. Innovation cares risk and responsibility.

As innovation agents, as designers, we have the commitment of approaching with skepticism and critical sense, before taking the participation as the absolute truth, before doing an innocent or banal use of the same one, probably we should do a series of questions:

Are they these practices the panacea or a danger of the collective demagoguery? Is the participation a tool of validation? They are or can be used as smoke screen, for speculative benefit? And the most important: which is the paper that the architect must play in all that?

Maybe the role of the architect is the one that plays a crucial personage representing the participation model, putting into practice the tools, technical and humanistic, his analytical capacity and peripheral vision.
Probably there has come the moment to develop this function as we know it and evolve it.
We had never had so many tools to take part and, however, the levels of participation are in its lower levels of the history.
We might stop weighing participation as this quite included and static model, rethinking it as we know it and basically use the architect function to develop a new figure that recovers an emergent and decisive role in all this.


Edgar González, director de EGD, practica de la difusión de la arquitectura compaginada con una constante búsqueda de la innovación de procesos y tecnologías.
EGD EdgarGonzalezDesign, es una consultoría que trabaja la intersección de la tecnología, la comunicación y la arquitectura/diseño. Ideando
estrategias innovadoras que se adecuan a las necesidades específicas a cada proyecto.
Ha trabajado en The Economist, The Guardian, Phaidon, Architectural Association (AA Publications) dirige desde hace 10 años una referencia internacional en la difusión de la arquitectura y sus tangencias.
Profesor de proyectos, narrativas arquitectónicas, fabricación digital y dibujo de la información ha enseñado en la Universidad Europea de Madrid, Architectural Association London, IE University, Universidad de Alicante, Istituto Europeo di Design, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
Conferenciante en tópicos como Innovación, Smart Cities, Design Thinking, Tecnología y Comunicación centrada en el Diseño y Arquitectura.