Reimagining Architecture: Empowering Communities

Reimagining Architecture: Empowering Communities
Empowering communities through storytelling and collaborative design, envisioning architecture as a catalyst for spatial justice and cultural vibrancy

Amsterdam, Netherlands
K521 operates at the borders of architecture, design and storytelling. Our mission is to redefine architecture for social and spacial justice
Team members
Stefano Barile
Matteo Cozzi
Augusto Girolimetti
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Visual Art, Film, Communication
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

K521 is a collective bridging architecture, design, storytelling, and visual arts. Our mission is to redefine architecture for social and spacial justice, challenging profit-driven norms.
Through storytelling, collaboration, and advocacy, we amplify marginalized voices, and build resilient, inclusive spaces.
Inspired by diverse cultures, we tackle global challenges like climate change and inequality, forging a future where architecture empowers communities.
K521 was founded by Augusto Girolimetti, Stefano Barile and Matteo Cozzi in Amsterdam, where they met.

Augusto is an art director with a background in industrial design, now integrating his passion for film to drive social change. His formative years studying in Italy, Sweden and Portugal provided him with a deep interest in diverse perspectives. Collaborating on different documentaries and shorts, he’s witnessed the power of film to ignite social discourse. His journey from design to filmmaking reflects a deep-seated belief in art’s potential to inspire social transformation.

Stefano is an architect and visual artist, he is on a journey to find how architecture can be at the service of equality and justice. Starting in Italy where he studied and got passioned about architecture, passing through the Netherlands where he gained professional experience. He went on
to Mexico and Indonesia where he discovered the power of unconventional materials and bottom-up initiatives. Now in France Stefano has started SBAS Studio collaborating with local enterprises and organizations.

Matteo is a dynamic architect with extensive experience in diverse roles in architecture and design. He is based in Amsterdam, where he started TZ Studio and he collaborates with international offices on projects across Europe. He has worked on various residential buildings in the project “self build”, where the end user is central in the development. He is a tutor at the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam.

Our mission is to share the stories of communities affected by recent environmental crises, illustrating their resilience in the face of adversity, and to actively support them in the rebuilding process.

Approach: Through documentaries, we aim to capture the creativity and resilience of these communities as they face the process of reconstruction. Our narrative will serve as advocacy tool, highlighting the socio-economic, cultural, and environmental aspects of their rebuilding efforts. By spotlighting community-led design and construction processes, we seek to foster empathy, solidarity and global support.
Our documentaries will not only raise awareness but also mobilise resources for community-driven reconstruction projects. We envision a two-phase strategy: fundraising initiatives to finance architectural solutions and collaborative implementation with local stakeholders to realise sustainable, culturally-sensitive structures.

Pilot Project: Our inaugural project is located in the Atlas Mountains region of Morocco, impacted by the earthquake of Sept 2023. Following a visit to Morocco six months after the events, we were struck by the ongoing challenges faced by the communities and were motivated to take action. We embarked on a mission to initiate dialogue and foster trust with residents, through community engagement and collaboration with local organizations. Currently we are actively planning the first steps toward producing our inaugural documentary.
Our ultimate goal is to co-create a model for inclusive, community-driven reconstruction, placing a strong emphasis on spatial justice.

Conclusion: Through storytelling, collaborative design and grassroots advocacy, we aim to catalyze a shift in architectural practice. Our initiative empowers marginalized communities, redefines architecture as a force for social change, and envisions a future where design serves people and communities, fostering resilience and cultural vibrancy across Europe and beyond.