The architect who has built bridges between people

Trip Transformadores by Trip News

At 48 years old, Santos resident, Edgard Gouveia Júnior doesn’t get tired of getting people to play. Architect, urbanist and postgraduate in cooperative games, he dedicates his career to mobilize kids, young people and adults with virtual games, scavenger hunts and group activities that end in small community revolutions.

After enabling the physical revitalization of Santos Fishing Museum, in São Paulo, and after the completion of his degree he founded the Elos Institute and he has never stopped making things happen since. In 2008, his social methodology plays named ‘Oasis’ helped to revitalize, with the participation of more than three thousands young ones from different regions of Brazil, 12 communities affected by Itajaí River flooding, in Santa Catarina.

In five days, almost one thousand college students selected to the in-person project phase built 43 public facilities. Bridges, playgrounds, stands, soccer fields and even a motocross track were built. Quick, funny and without putting their hands in their pockets. “Playing, everybody is an entrepreneur,” he says.

Founder of Warriors without weapons program (Guerreiros sem armas – GSA), that fosters the energy of young promoters, Edgard has broadened his scale of action, which now aims to be global. Although the project Oasis has already over 90 replication points around the world, he launched, in December 2012, Play the Call, an online world scavenger hunt which has concrete tasks in the real world and aims to engage 2 billion people in 4 years.

He believes he might reach this goal playing.

Dream architect

Wait! Two billion people? That’s impossible. It seems so. Though, you start believing when you listen to Edgard talking about his project plans, in details that he still doesn’t want to reveal for now.

Excited and reflective, while speaking, always calmly. Edgard builds thoughts and gets to unexpected conclusions. When asked about what he does with his life, he says: “Look, you’ve helped me to find out what I do”.

It’s hard even to explain Edgard’s real role. “Some may call me an experience designer, others may say process facilitator. I help people to get united and also restore the value of cooperation through scavenger hunts, he says.”

“We’ll have a lot of work, it won’t make us rich, but we’ve made an agreement to be happy.”

Edgard is addicted to hearing stories. He’s so used to it that he tells that sometimes people start telling him things even before they are asked to. That’s when one of his talents takes actions: connecting talented people.

“I invest a lot of time in being with people. I help people a lot so that they have the courage to do what they want to, he says.” Edgard doesn’t try to change people’s minds. He already trusts them. He just wants to build an environment where they know how to work together for their own benefit. “Will we restore the square? Let’s go! We don’t need to wait for the Government.”

That trust in people, he claims, it has followed him since his childhood, something he has realized in class. “Everyone in my school was wonderful. I couldn’t see my classmates as boring, from the one who played chess to the naughtiest in class.” Edgard saw that and realized the power there was in transforming cooperation into games by watching scavenger hunts.

In those scavenger hunts, people transformed themselves. I saw surly, stingy people cooperating to do things there seemed impossible. I thought: Why don’t we use such power to build a nursery school? It’s not that there are few entrepreneurs. This is just the way we are. Earth was already round, we just didn’t know that. We have to find out.”

When did it all start? Between an abandoned professional career in volleyball and an architecture degree, he has found himself in social projects. He and his crew listened to talks, some hints and they dreamed about transforming their jobs into a tool to build a better country.

Soon they reached two conclusions: it’s not the easiest way, that is, we won’t make a lot of money, and we need to start soon. “I knew that. We’ll have a lot of work, it won’t make us rich, but we’ve made an agreement to be happy.” Today we create scavenger hunts which help people to build their dreams without putting their hands in their pockets.”

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