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Mi habi wan theater

Mi habi wan theater

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This master’s thesis describes the input into the redevelopment project of the Beatrix Theatre in Moengo, Suriname, in which a design-driven participatory action research was applied to explore local challenges, fields of tension and transformation possibilities/development paths... The research is situated in the field of tension between tradition and globalisation and this within a non-Western, post-colonial context of a culture in transition. Building on the outcomes from previous master’s theses within the ISTT design studio, it will explore how the repurposing process can be part of forming an urban common and seek to initiate an urban common through concrete interventions to ensure a sustainable future for the theatre as a place for the community.

The first phase started with a preliminary study in Antwerp. This was followed by an intensive period of fieldwork for three months in Moengo, Suriname. During this period, strategic interventions were designed and implemented together with the community of Moengo, culminating in an activation moment during an exhibition on the 6th of April.

This research shows that repurposing the theatre as a community centre is feasible, provided intensive cooperation takes place between local stakeholders. The first steps towards such cooperation are intrinsically part of the action research conducted.

Thus, in consultation with local triggers, a new organisational structure was set up to actively involve the community in the management and use of the theatre. The theoretical framework around ‘urban commoning’ helped to scientifically structure the process behind the theatre’s revival and community building in Moengo.

This approach challenges the role of the architect, acting not only as a designer but also as a curator who supports and guides community revival.

Further research could focus on expanding collaboration with local and regional stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the project and on systematically exploring the building’s potential.

  • Authors:
    • Eline Delanghe
    • Marie Stalpaert
    • Aäron Schuerman

    Promotor(s):
    • Sun Kishoen Misier (Promotor)
    • Amy Cotino (Promotor)
    • Johan De Walsche (Promotor)
    • Nathan De Feyter (Promotor)
  • Period:
    • 2023 — 2024   (ongoing)

    Graduation(s):
    • Architecture

    Product:
    • Master thesis

    Partner(s):
    • Anton De Kom Universiteit van Suriname