DesignBuild Studio

The DesignBuild Studio is based on a complex five-step participatory process through which two distant worlds – European Architecture students and Mexican communities – are brought together to work toward a common goal, building inter-cultural exchanges and technological abilities along the way. 

Step one

Each project starts with a request by a community to construct a building that will support local self-development.

Step two

An initial investigation collects information for the development of the architectural project. An exchange of expectations and ideas for formal agreements with local authorities is initiated.

Step three

Collaboration between students and the host community happens during the architectural design process. The host community chooses one of the project ideas proposed by the students.

Step four

An exchange takes place between students and the community during the self-construction phase in Mexico. The objective is to propose culturally compatible innovations including materials, construction techniques and local culture and expertise. A key objective is that spontaneous cultural exchanges happen by sharing work and daily life over the course of a few months. The students also conduct a household survey to understand the lifestyles and culture of the host community.

Step five

Publication of the results through videos, publications, exhibitions and conferences.

With these projects Archintorno has developed a participatory process that involves the active involvement of all stakeholders during the five phases.


Archintorno’s participatory process methodology Process visualisation shows where the processes overlap.