Breaking down preconceptions
At the beginning of the project we only spent a week in studio trying to formulate an approach but still preconceived ideas and notions worked their way into our explanations and planning. For most of us if not all that first site visit was an eye opening and humbling experience breaking down the bubble of isolation in which we place ourselves.
The more time we spent on site and interacting with the community these preconceptions of what it should be like and what we thought was needed started to break down.
One of the first things that strike you is the innovative methods used by the residents in using their surroundings and what is available in an effort to improve their living conditions. The second is the tight knit sense of communitywhich you would struggle to find in most suburbs of Johannesburg.
Community and Volunteers
We were met with some hostility, and lack of interest in co operation by some of the residents we tried to talk to, seen as the outsiders. Some of the community members found the visit from the university strange and unnecessary as they struggle with the concept that the institute wasn’t necessarily there to build something but rather to provide awareness and document. Our volunteers played an integral part in helping us overcome this and with out them I do not think we would have been as readily accepted by the community. Nor would we have learnt and understood as much of the inner workings of Denver.