The project IlluminAction by UrbanoActivo, an open design collective from Puerto Rico, has been selected to represent the island in the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale in Italy this fall (August 29 – November 25). The selection was narrowed from 450 project submissions nationwide and will be presented as part of the Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good exhibition by The Institute for Urban Design. This exhibit will be part of an archive of actionable strategies around U.S. cities to improve the public urban realm.
“We are very excited to represent Puerto Rico in this gathering to bring an example of what we are already doing here in San Juan which is part of the larger efforts that designers are taking globally to create actionable initiatives that solve urban issues or provide new opportunities for public spaces in the city,” said Andrea Bauza, founder of Urbano Activo.
IlluminAction was the result of a series of workshops led by UrbanoActivo’s LEP. LEP, Laboratorio Espacio Público, is an 11-member multi-disciplinary collective for the discussion and experimentation of the limits of public space in Puerto Rico. LEP conducted a series of workshops to explore the relationship between the public and private realm in San Juan. The group was looking to find new ways of perceiving these relationships to make the city a more connected and livable place for all.
After various workshops, the collective identified seven areas for a potential intervention within the city. The group finally chose a street in the heart of the city, Calle Luis B. Romano, as the spot for the intervention. This historically neglected street is a vital pedestrian connector to the Rio Piedras train station, but had no illumination, which made it unsafe for pedestrians to walk from the station into the surrounding streets at night.
The group decided to reclaim this public space by creating a public event with an open call for citizens to bring illumination back into the street. The result was an evening filled with film projections, light installations, glow-in-the-dark art murals, stilt dancers and musical performances. A petition letter addressed to the Mayor was circulated during the evening asking for the street illumination to be reinstalled. Two weeks later the street light posts were reinstalled bringing illumination back into the street.
Laboratorio de Espacio Público (LEP): Andrea Bauzá, Leandro Fabrizi, Juan Calaf, Griselle Fullana, John Fritz, Natalia Martínez, Natalia Muñoz, Fernando Navarro, Isabel Ramírez, Ma. Dolores Rivera, Felix Rodríguez.
IlluminAction took place on November 17th, 2011 in San Juan, P.R. It was made possible by the LEP’s efforts and collaborators including: Beta-Local, CiudadLAB, Arquillano, La Chiwinha, David’s Comics, Julio Vallejo, Ariana Cintrón, Astrid Coral, Coral Alemán, Antonio Fritz, Versos del Viento, More Ira, El Pasaje, Howard Roark, Kutasha y Alicia, Zuleyka Alejandro, Pablo del Hierro, Carolina Martínez, Manu Shanti, Lali Tá, Coco Pek, Iván Acosta, Dos Santos, Daniel Gracía, Karina García, Rima Ibrahim, Payola Isabel, EL COCA, Hermanos Lumiere, Juan Botta, Josean Merced, and Javier Camayd.
Here some photos from the event. For more photos, click here.
Photos and video courtesy of UrbanoActivo.