Most Mira’s Travelling Youth Centre Exhibition was designed, project managed and realised by a team of young architects, including graduates from London”s The Cass School of Architecture and students and graduates from the Banja Luka Architecture Faculty in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). The exhibition is a “work-in-progress” consultation pack that will support the design and development of Most Mira’s Youth Centre project, which they plan to start building on the site of a war-ruined house in Kevljani village, Prijedor, in 2015.
Content includes drawings and photographs produced at the “Young Architects Workshop” in May 2014; a weekend long design charrette organised and hosted by Most Mira in Kevljani, where the team first met. After two days of surveying the site, exploring the wider area and drawing ideas for the new centre we decided with Most Mira to develop a “work-in-progress” travelling exhibition that could provide the right framework and setting to facilitate future Youth Centre design workshops and consultation events. The exhibition design, prepared collaboratively by the multi-national team who worked over Skype and other digital web platforms since the May workshop, is a flat-pack lightweight curtain wire framework system for hanging large exhibition sheets, and new drawings or comments produced by visitors during consultations. Along with curating the exhibition sheets, the team also prepared: a 1:100 site model, an interactive village map noticeboard and a 1:25 wooden model of the ruin made as a 3D jig-saw. Each component invites visitors to help us fill them in or put them together.
Unusually this exhibition asks visitors, who range from local school children to students and construction industry experts, “What do you think the Kevljani Youth Centre should be?”, thus demonstrating Most Mira”s commitment to listen and respond to local needs and feedback from the outset of the development process. We hope the exhibition content will continually grow and change to inform the project brief and architectural design.
The first outing for the exhibition, held in Kevljani village hall in October 2014, included exceptionally successful youth user-group and construction industry expert consultations, with contributors from all ethnic backgrounds attending. Visitors responded enthusiastically to the interactive elements of the exhibition, particularly young secondary school children who quickly began putting the models together and filling in previously unknown local information onto the village map. We were astounded by how much they know about their area. This demonstrated a desire by young people to get involved in making this project a reality, while several names put forward for the centre, including: “Osmjeh” (“Smile”) and “Buducnost” (“Future”), highlight the amount of hope this project carries for a peaceful and progressive future in Prijedor.
The potential of the Youth Centre project to make a positive change in this this region in the north of Bosnia, is summarised well on a feedback post-it stuck to one of the exhibition sheets, which reads “the Youth Centre is a great idea, this building can connect this small place to the rest of the world”.
The next steps are for the exhibition to visit Banja Luka and The Cass Architecture Faculties to develop awareness, ideas and discuss the potential of jointly organizing yearly design and building workshops on the site with students, which Most Mira hope could involve activities such as: earth-brick making, set building, building a fish smokery and other social enterprise projects. In mid-December 2014 the exhibition will be displayed in the Prijedor Theatre as part of Most Mira”s yearly school drama production, where we will host a public consultation and a ‘Name Your Youth Centre’ competition. Most Mira plan to have an architectural scheme for an outline planning application and fundraising in early 2015 with the aims to start some building work in the summer that could provide a framework and setting for their summer theatre production on the building site.