Tazalika M. Te Reh - "Dialogue Really Is a Key Word Here"

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Oct 04, 2013
by Oscar Tollast
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Tazalika M. Te Reh - "Dialogue Really Is a Key Word Here"

An architect with research interests in African American studies, postcolonial studies and urban studies has suggested a number of architects haven’t been trained to listen to people’s needs. Ms M. te Reh sitting in on a discussion group

Tazalika M. te Reh was one of 57 participants at this year’s Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association symposium on ‘Sustainability and the City: America and the Urban World’.

Speaking to Salzburg Global, Ms M. te Reh described people as “the whole purpose” of architecture.“Very often what I observe is that in the architectural education, we are not trained to listen, to try to understand what people are really interested in and what they need.

It’s also difficult to accept maybe that the aesthetics that we’re taught might not resemble the needs that people really have.”With an influx of people expected to further populate cities in the next few decades, she called for a greater understanding of what people want.

What we’re going to face is a challenge of managing this humungous influx of people of various diverse backgrounds.

“I think the architects need to be trained in terms of being capable of being able to cope with exactly these different backgrounds, creating architecture that’s capable of providing enough niche for all these different people to enable them to develop well-being through self-determination [and] self-identification.”

Ms M. te Reh is currently working on her Ph.D. thesis on architecture, space and the racial.

“It deals with topics that I tackle in my research on New York City, which has to do with the future of metropolises.

“I’m concentrating on the black subject in the architectural field, especially how it is represented in cities. I do that by challenging the material and immaterial aspects of architecture.

“To break it down, that means that I work on build architecture by looking at specific case studies, but I also look at the body of knowledge that we gain while studying architecture, while consuming architecture and while thinking about cities.”

The scholarship recipient at the Urban Transformation Ph.D. Program sees education as a “key element”.

The topic of her M.A. thesis was 'Architecture from A to Z. Concept for an architectural TV show for kids'.

“That actually was a first attempt in going into this mediating element of trying to find a way to educate people - who are exposed to architecture on an everyday basis – to have an opinion about their built environment but trying to give it a format.

“The nice thing about education is that you will find a level of communication and it’s a good tool to get into dialogue with those who want to learn and thereby you learn from them.”

At the beginning of the symposium, program director of the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association, Marty Gecek, said the key word for the conference would be “dialogue”, with participants coming from a variety of backgrounds with different perspectives.

Ms M. te Reh agreed. “Dialogue really is a key word here. I never imagined the variety of backgrounds I would encounter here, the interesting issues people work on, embrace and present. That’s one of the greatest benefits to have experienced here.”