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Community Centers
It is fascinating that so many community buildings are created without representation or input from the community they are intended for. Jeebs & Zuzu’s staff pioneered an inclusive design approach that looks at community buildings in a much different way. The theory behind the process is called “Design by Democracy.” The process is far different than the typical method where an architectural firm responds to a list of rooms and spaces generated by an earlier consultant, and the building design is completed by a relatively small group. Design by Democracy suggests that design experts are critical to the design of a building, but they may not know all the answers and they certainly won’t know the community for whom they are designing if they are not already a part of that community. To help the architect’s better understand and also help their designs be more successful, the Design by Democracy model invites community members to be represented during the design process. This could be as participants in design charrettes, or members on a design committee, or even active consultants in the conceptual design stage. Jeebs & Zuzu’s staff have designed several highly successful community buildings following these principals and in every case, the buildings have been embraced and loved by their communities. For this process to work, the professionals have to leave their egos at the door, and the final building design may not be the signature building that brings fame to the architect, and if you ask us, that is Exactly how it should be.
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