Architecture belongs to the community. As a part of the culture, yet architecture is rarely attributed to a person. Architecture is a real evident, a result of a process of cultural revolution, which blatantly represent the community existence, its technology, indigenous knowledge, craftsmanship and social structure. In the context of Southeast Asia culture, architecture manages to be cultural heritages. Architecture as a building is built by the community altogether, as a product of social-evolutions, economics, politics, beliefs, and traditions. It is complex. Each architecture from the different community is so distinct yet looks familiar to each other.
As a cultural product, architecture is an outcome from the dialogue between every aspect of the society. Technological limitation is influenced by the material resources. The craftsmanship is passing trough of each generation. The process repeats and readjusts to the socio-evolutions and technology updates. Working in the community, each member confronts each other. They have to cooperate their idea before they make a decision. It defines the sense of belonging. So that’s why interaction is the most important thing. This is the thing you will only get when you are travelling.
I consider it is really important to interact and communicate the diverse idea by the opportunity to travel. By travelling abroad, you will meet new various people from different backgrounds and experience new cultures. You will probably expose to new things you’ve never done in your life and manage to deal it by yourself. This experience is not every day you can do. Not only because it will broad your knowledge, but also manage an opportunity to build an international relationship. It also may allow cultural exchanges.
The concept ‘architecture as a community culture’ is lessening, when the new term ‘architecture’ was brought by colonialism. Architecture is being attributed to an individual or a group, we call ‘architect’. During making architecture, architect and the community are distant. Sometimes, the community only contributes in the building process. The result may still be a part of the culture, but community no longer has the sense of belonging anymore. It is a challenge for a modern generation, to bridge this gap. How we have to approach the community and work together, making architecture not only one person’s knowledge, but also in term of a desirable form of society, a cultural artefact belongs to a community.
Volunteering as an architect can be really an interesting experience. The product is built altogether by the process of dialogue between architect and the community. The impact is direct. The sense of belonging can be increased. The important trough this approach is we manage to build a relationship with the community. Volunteering as an architect also gives another opportunity to have a dialogue with the workers, transfer the knowledge, and try dealing with the design limitation which we rarely meet working in the office.