About Doina Petrescu
Doina Petrescu is an architect and educator who currently serves as the Chair of Architecture and Design Activism at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield. Together with her partner Constantin Petcouand, she cofounded the firm of Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (AAA) around ideas of co-production and self-managed architecture.
While AAA has become an engine for engaging citizens in shaping their own cities through experimentation and renewal of derelict urban space, Doina has thoughtfully dovetailed this work into her own pedagogy, exposing students to radical ideas of how faculty, students, and communities can deconstruct social hierarchies and work together to create better communities.
With an ever-evolving cast of collaborators, including architects, designers, social scientists, artists, and activists, AAA stages creative urban interventions, whether establishing a community hub in a pass-through between buildings, or planting a vegetable garden at the base of a high-rise. AAA acts as a creative instigator, empowering local communities to carry out and sustain their own ideas for urban regeneration.
Taking their findings further, AAA developed R-Urban, a prototype for sustainable city life on the outskirts of Paris. In the working-class suburb of Colombes, the team is creating a living laboratory for the local residents to produce their own food supply and recycle waste, closing the local loops of consumption and production. The multi-year plan includes ecological construction, urban agriculture, a recycling program, and cooperative housing.
We had a chance to speak with Doina about her philosophy, of both work and teaching, on Social Design Insights. Join co-hosts Eric Cesal and Karen Kubey as they explore new directions in the teaching of design.
And don’t forget to check out Doina’s recommendations for further study!