construction photo in a forest
Social Self-Production, Comunal Taller. COURTESY RE:ARC INSTITUTE.

Architecture Philanthropy Platform re:arc institute Announces 2024 Projects

The platform will support nearly 40 social and infrastructural initiatives being developed everywhere from Brazil to the Netherlands.

Copenhagen-based re:arc institute was established in 2022 with the aim of eliciting fresh dialogue and spurring action in response to the social and environmental implications of climate change. With backing from the Interogo Foundation—part owner of the IKEA group—the platform programs a number of festivals, conference-adjacent talks, pop-up exhibitions, and robust funding segmented into three parts: Grants, Practice Lab projects, and Initiatives. This second annual endeavor now provides a swathe of organizations, collectives, and individual practitioners with the means to beta-test and, in some cases, realize grassroots concepts. re:arc looks to bridge the gap between philanthropy and architecture as a practice too often relegated to mere service rather than altruism. Over time, the platform hopes to develop a set of guidelines for how other nonprofits could adopt a similar approach applying the power of three.

construction photo
Organizmo construction process. COURTESY RE:ARC
photo of four women holding up a drawing
Women from Bangungu Community Uganda presenting their eco-calendar. A tool helping reviving the indigenous seeds. COURTESY AFRICAN BIODIVERSITY NETWORK / RE:ARC.


“Through this founding program, we look to resource projects that are working with biodiversity and climate care, social participatory education and models of collective ownership,” says Alice Grandoit-Šutka, a research-based designer, host, publisher, and re:arc’s communications and media lead. She’s also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Los Angeles-based social practice publication Deem Journal.  “With this financial support, we’re hoping to foster a new dialogue about what architecture can actually entail in different contexts.”

a gorup of people in front of a building holding up signs and smiling
Participants of the Favela Climate Memory exhibition launch at the Evictions Museum in Vila Autódromo. COURTESY CATALYCTIC COMMUNITIES / RE:ARC.


Announced last month, re: arc institute’s 2024 “cohort” comprises close to 40 community-oriented and research-based projects being developed everywhere from Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, to Nairobi and Rotterdam, the Netherlands—a number of which are defined as continental or even global in scope. While some are more speculative, others are already being applied as real world solutions: neighborhood kitchen and urban farms; site-responsive archives of public memory and the implementation of AI-harnessed restorative tools. Practice Lab and Grants undertakings are backed for about two years while recipients in the Initiative segments receive funding for one year. This assistance helps crystalize each endeavor. The Practice Lab team is led by architects Nicolay Boyadjiev and production lead Olga Tenisheva, who facilitate the practice-based funding experiments through partner research, outreach, proposal development, and project support. The projects in the two other categories are all selected by re:arc team leads. The process entails collaborating with different research partners to identify projects that intersect with the organization’s core mission.

“Our grantees and collaborators are selected for their shared commitment to social and ecological change; participatory methodologies; and demonstrated integrity and transparency within their communities,” Grandoit-Šutka adds. Those granted support in the Practice Lab category engage in research-based experiments helping to identify key areas of focus, which then allows them to test informed hypotheses and share unique learnings in order to advance impact. It’s a more multi-stepped form of engagement. As part of this year’s group, Mexico City-based urban design studio Taller Capital is delving deep into the locale’s dire need for improved water management. Dakar-based collective Worofila will continue its practice-defining exploration of bioclimatic building achieved with local materials. “Some of the organizations need funding to operate and continue the work they’ve already begun.”

a group of people in a small boat navigating floodwaters
Pakistan is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, facing multiple hazards including floods, earthquakes, landslides, and droughts. The country has suffered from significant losses due to natural disasters, with over 100,000 deaths and $18 billion in economic losses between 1998 and 2018. PHOTO: Abdul Majeed Goraya / IRIN


In the Initiatives segment, re:arc institute provides support to educational, community-building, and media-based enterprises looking to disseminate information and inspire action in new, more accessible ways. A 2023-2024 recipient, Network for Ecological Futures is a Seoul-based project that links different creatives throughout the continent with the central ambition of mitigating the proliferation of “smart cities.” UK-based activists Jess Mally and Mikaela Loach are developing the It’s Not That Radical School of Organising, a curriculum aimed at helping marginalized communities achieve their own climate justice. 2023-2024 Grant winners include Indonesia-based Climate Emergency Software Alliance (CESA), an open source online platform comprising strategies for community-led disaster response and recovery.

A refreshed look at what sustainability and circularity actually mean within the context of architecture is at the core of re:arc’s mission. “These terms have gotten so overused,” says Grandoit-Šutka. “We need to start thinking about how these approaches are actually being implemented on the ground in different communities; how both new and old technologies can be used in the right way for these solutions to be effective.”

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