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Alex Axinte and Cristi Borcan, from studioBASAR, with their dog Una. Courtesy studioBASAR
Reacting against Romania’s history of privatization, distrust, and top-down decision making in the realm of urban development, studioBASAR set out to empower a wide variety of people and practices in a quest for social transformation. Its founders, Alex Axinte and Cristi Borcan, saw architecture as a tool for effecting this transformation, providing a platform for collaboration among communities and creative professionals in questioning existing uses of public and private space and proposing new ones. Its strategies include collaborative design and production, research by design, placemaking activities, civic pedagogy, and creative reuse of existing structures. The studio’s ultimate goal is the creation of cities that are more collaborative, accessible, and just. Among its recent honors, studioBASAR was recognized as a finalist for the 2014 European Prize for Urban Public Space, and it received the 2018 Romanian National Cultural Fund Award for “cultural activation in relation to the public space.”

Established 2006, Bucharest, Romania