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Mood Workshop

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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS AWARDS: existing completed examples
Project title
Mood Workshop
Full project title
Mood Workshop

Mood workshop is a creative experience that included international students who designed an urban intervention during challenging times. Aimed for children, a uniquely aesthetic structure arose in the yard of an elementary school in Skopje. Using wood as a main sustainable material, built up by young motivated carpenters, and including the local community in the process has created a vibrant urban intervention in public space.

What was the geographical scope of your project?
Does your project address mainly urban or rural issues?
Mainly urban
Does your project refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your project benefited from EU programmes or funds?
Which or fund(s)? Provide the name of the programme(s)/fund(s), the strand/action line as relevant and the year.

Creative Europe 

Has your project won an EU prize?
Your project is fully completed?
When was your project implemented?
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
Word of mouth (colleagues, friends …)
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As a representative of an organisation, in partnership with other organisations
Please provide a summary of your project

Mood workshop project is a complex set of activities that lasted for one year and resulted in aesthetically exciting public space intervention. This intervention was designed by students, for children as its main users. Chosen public space was respected and enriched with a new unobtrusive experience. Young carpenters constructed the intervention while working for the first time on such an experimental and complex project. School authorities accepted a new dynamic creation to be included in the yard and gave children the possibility to learn in an innovative way. The main material for the intervention was wood, as the most sustainable construction material worldwide. The existing tree was preserved into the structure and melted in the design. During all these processes, aesthetic, sustainability, and inclusion principles were constantly intertwined while giving birth to a new creative reality for the community. 

Please indicate the main themes of your project with 5 key words
public space
urban intervention
community engagement
Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of sustainability (including circularity) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

The main and only material for this project is wood which by definition is a natural, renewable, and sustainable material for construction, with a lighter carbon footprint than steel or concrete. Scientifically proven, maximizing the usage of wood in construction, removes a significant amount of CO2 from the atmosphere annually. Using wood as a primary material in public space is a human-friendly approach. This way people, especially children get in contact with natural material on daily basis. The public intervention was set on an already existing concrete base, thus not changing the existing surrounding. It adapts to the surroundings while giving a new elevated dimension. This is a practice MELEEM nourishes when working on public space interventions, including a Europe awarded project ‘’Urban Modular’’. Furthermore, the intervention takes care of the existing tree on site and incorporates it in the design. Driven by the circular economy, when outdated, the wooden installation can easily be disassembled and the wood recycled, thus creating a circular movement for the wood and continuing its life for other purposes. Also, wood, when used as construction material, doesn’t create pollution if outdated. It just naturally decomposes in the environment. 


Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

The public intervention is a wooden construction that was inspired by the sitting arrangement in the theater, where everyone is close to one another, but still has their own freedom. The basic idea of the intervention was to avoid the classic and dull sitting arrangements that can be found in the public space, like classic benches. Instead, Mood Workshop intervention's objective is to create a dynamic, multilevel parametric design that is playful, beautiful, and attractive to the eye and provides a new experience in public space. The dynamic shape was inspired by the different moods we have in the public space and wants to create a diversity of moods that can give birth to new creative energy and thinking. 

The implementation of the design also took into consideration the already existing nature, i.e. a healthy green tree, that was incorporated in the design and ultimately, added to its value by providing shade in the hot summer days. 

The novelty in the public space was met with excitement from the youngest users of it, the children that study in the elementary school ‘’Petar Pop Arsov’’ in Skopje, where the intervention was placed. They instantly started climbing up and down and sat in different positions, trying out the various experiences that it provided. The design and its unique aesthetics is a new possible place for learning, experimenting, discovering the outside world and a new creative way of being a an European citizen. 

Please give information about the key objectives of your project in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these have been met.
Please highlight how the project can be exemplary in this context

The project was developed as a part of the MOOD workshop that combined the collaboration of students and architects from two cities in Europe: Skopje and Tbilisi. During a 7-days online workshop, the participants developed the concept of this public intervention with the base principle: What do we have in common, and what connects us all in the public space? as part of the program of Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, co-funded by Creative Europe.

The diversity and inclusion in this project are clear so far, the participants were able to meet people from other places around the world, share ideas and knowledge and co-design a contemporary “sitting place” that will be daily used by the local community in Skopje.

The realization of the project was in Skopje where local young carpenters and students participated in the construction of the public intervention and implementation of the design. It is inevitable to mention the children from the school that were very excited and helped the process in their own way, by giving fresh ideas and sharing snacks with the carpenters during the 3-week construction, and thus appropriated the new look of the public space.  

Even more, the intervention was constructed by young, talented carpenters who are just starting their careers in the field. This project gave them the opportunity to flourish and develop a better portfolio for their future work. 

The intervention was placed in a local elementary school in one of Skopje’s gems neighborhoods, where the appreciation of parks and quality public space are still very important to the residents. This yard during school hours is used by pupils, but when the school finishes, is open to children from the entire neighborhood. This makes MOOD Workshop intervention accessible to all the children and young people from the local community. 

Please explain how these three dimensions have been combined in your project.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

MOOD Workshop intervention focuses on the small steps young people can take by acting and showing a real example in the local community. This way they can ultimately contribute to the global economy and global design. Sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion are the three inseparable values of this project. The youth who implemented this project is focused on creating a better environment for their daily lives. A diverse, multinational team of young people was using renewable materials while always keeping the natural environment in mind. The project included students in the design, young carpenters into realization, young children during realization as an educational process, and support by local community and institutions during the implementation.

It is important in today's reality to present to the communities sustainable practices through interesting, provocative, and playful public space interventions. This goal can be even further achieved while active inclusion of the people into the co-creation process. 


Please give information on the results/impacts achieved by your project in relation to the category you apply for

The results of the intervention were obvious during its construction and also when it was finished. During the construction process, children from the school were curious to know what that new interesting structure was built in their yard. They were asking a lot of questions, and each school break came to visit our team to communicate with us and bring us some chocolate. 

They were guessing if it was going to be a huge frozen wave. This helped develop their imagination and direct connection with the changes of the public space in their first environment, their schoolyard. Some of the children already started drawing the intervention at home and came up with ideas on how we should improve it or change it in the future. This communication was so interesting for us as architects and builders. When we built up the intervention, the children couldn’t go down from it. The entire school was sitting, going up and down, trying new sitting positions, and experimenting with the positions. Also, one local dog came up with the children who found it as a playable activity. 

Parents and teachers were an interesting category to observe. They were also constantly asking what we were doing in the yard and they were observing the process. When the intervention was finished some of the parents and teachers joined the children and sat on the intervention, and had their own joint experience in the yard of the school.


Please explain how citizens and civil society were involved in the in the design and/or implementation of the project.
Please also explain the benefits that derived from their involvement.

The MOOD Workshop intervention was designed during a one-week workshop where students from Skopje and Tbilisi were co-designing a public space intervention based on the different moods in the public space. During this process students from both distant cities, but also very similar and with similar issues and challenges, were sharing the moods they feel during living in different public spaces. Also, they contributed with their personal experiences, learned from each other, learned about other city’s realities, and got inspired. Led by mentors, the students as a group came to one idea.

Later on during the process or construction, as mentioned before, students from the school were constantly active in the process while commenting, giving ideas, asking questions, drawing, etc.  

The children used every free time of the day to come to the place and chat with the carpenters, showing great interest and involvement in the new addition to their schoolyard. This proves that the basic principle of inclusiveness and quality of experience has been met, and more importantly for our team, the main judges were children, for whom the project was meant. 


Please explain what kind of global challenges the project addressed by providing local solutions

The world these recent 2 years have lived through difficult times while facing a global health crisis, due to CORONAvirus. 

In the entire world, the measures were set to keep people inside their homes, and traveling in other countries was limited. This made a lot of international projects and young people exchanges stop. Nevertheless, we succeeded in creating interesting and provocative designs through an online platform while connecting students from two distant European cities: Skopje and Tbilisi. The global blockade didn't stop us from continuing to be creative and present and share our ideas about public spaces in the cities. 

Public space became the most importantly open and safe space for people whose movements were limited. Children spent two important years of their growth while having online lectures. This is why public space is crucial for their physical but also mental development from younger ages. The Mood Workshop project as a whole was an entire journey from an online design experience to a real construction and improvement of public space.  


Please highlight the innovative character of the project as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the project.

The design itself is very innovative, as obvious from the pictures and drawings. The team decided to use parametric design to better understand everybody's moods on public space issues. Since we worked on that very sensitive and not exact topic we needed something fluid to help us express our ideas. We constructed one 3d model where each student could change the heights according to their feelings and moods and according to their thinking about activities that could occur in the space. As a result, one final model was chosen, after discussions and voting into the team. This result, later on, we had to discuss with young carpenters where they had to invent new ways of constructing the model on-site. This was quite challenging because of the complexity of the details. After long discussions, we came up with solutions that were also financially affordable. This was the first parametric realized design in North Macedonia and it challenged people from more fields to collaborate. 

Please explain to the potential of transferring the projects’ results or learnings to other interested parties and contexts.
Please provide clear documentation, communication of methodology and principles in this context.

Mood Workshop project lays the foundation of very important know-how learning activities that could be implemented in other projects and by other organizations. MELEEM practices this kind of project since the Urban Modular project in 2017, which we have recreated in two Macedonian cities: Tetovo and Prilep. During the years we have learned from the good situations, but also from our mistakes. We created the following methodology and principles. 

Methodology and principles:

  • Choose an interesting, neglected public space in a city;
  • Learn more about public space users and their habits;
  • Choose an international organization that can partner with your organization;
  • Organize an intense one week workshop, led by interesting mentors;
  • Arrange a meeting with the public space authorities about the design outcome;
  • Apply for funds according to the project budget;
  • Find local young carpenters or workers who can execute the design in the real scenario;
  • Manage and supervise the construction process while including the local community;
  • Organize an opening event where people can learn more about the project;
  • Share the outcome with relevant media to spread info about the project.
Is an evaluation report or any relevant documentation available?
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