Made Expo 2021

Arhipera. Building homes. Rebuilding lives

Fundraising: $35.000 for two houses and a day center

Arhipera Association is raising money to build two houses and a day center for children in the village of Belciugatele, Calarasi county, South-East Romania. Many people there live at the edge of their world, in extremely poor conditions and with no future. These families could be reintegrated in society, were they to move into a better house, and engaged into a good social programme. At the same time, a day center would bring peace of mind for parents who seek work, but worry about leaving their children unsupervised at home.

 

 

The vicious circle of rural poverty. How did we get here?

Some may argue that people are responsible for their faith, but we beg to disagree. The culture of poverty is a cruel place, where people are so far off the functioning society that it would be virtually impossible for them to lift themselves without any help from others.

In Romania, around 10% of people live in extreme poverty, many of them in rural areas, where they have little chance to change their status. Poor families build small houses, sometimes on illegally-occupied plots of land. As result of this, they enter a vicious circle, because the cost of entering legality in Romania is extremely high, and usually accompanied by a lot of almost impossible paperwork. In this sense, poverty is no longer an ethical issue, but is seen in light of its deprivation of potential. A house is no longer just shelter, but the initial deposit for a better life.

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What is Arhipera?
Arhipera Association means a group of young Romanian architects, volunteers and their mentor, Lorin Niculae. Founder and coordinator at Arhipera association and school, Lorin is an experienced architect and professor at the „Ion Mincu” Architecture University in Bucharest. Despite having a lot on his plate, he spends a big part of his time mentoring the young architects involved in the social housing projects.

The Arhipera members and volunteers are regular architecture students, but who have an apetite for doing more than just the usual university assignments.

Since 2011, the team has designed clever social housing, knocked on the doors of investors, and built homes together with several families which lived at the margins of Romanian society.

Arhipera’s aim is to build homes for but also with those who need them. In the professional jargon this means social participative architecture. We start from the belief that people deserve a decent house, but it is only when they truly get involved in the construction process and alter their home with time, that we consider our project a success. When people feel a place reflects their identity and fulfills their needs, then they decide to stay and make the house their home.

This is successful social architecture.

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