Sep '04 - Nov '06
On monday we finally heard back from the people who went to this year's Archilab conference, were the work we did in the first week was exhibited.
Archilab is a conference/exhibition organized by Bart Lootsma, that tries to present a wide scope of progects representing the current state of architectural and urban enquiry.
The theme this year, "the naked city", wanted to engage with the study of urban settlements and the way they are shaped by non-architectural forces.
The work varies enormously, from artistic intervention to bunt down houses in Detroit, to luggage specifically designed for emigrants, to urban planning, to architecture (although this last category seemed the smallest one). I'm not gonna describe the whole exhibition here, check it out here.
The collegues that got back from Orleans were a bit shaken. I guess most of us received a sturdy old fashoned modernist education, where whatever you want to do, you do it by building something. Whether you loved it or hated it, this approach has been drilled into your mind, and when faced with an architecture where there is no architecture, you tend to have to distinctive and separate reactions
a) LIBERATION! YEAH! run to the streets and burn your set squares, I love the birds and the flowers and everybody!
b) I wonder if my old university will take me back, I suddenly feel the need to detail a timber clad building.
I don't know exactly where I stand, i guess some of it could be considered interesting, and certainly there is a new way of looking at things that has to be taklen into consideration, but I would have appreciated some guidance, some background reading, which wasn't at all provided by Raoul Bunschoten or the rest of the Chora staff (to their justification I have to say that we onloy had a week).
While the others were roaming the streets of Orleans (that's the one in France, by the way) looking for Winy Mass, we were introduced to the practice's work. Yes, because in case you hadn't gathered it by now, unit 8 is basically a teaching workshop run by Chora.
their method of urban analysis goes something like this: you generate a series of random points in a given area (throw beans on an os map), analyse those points according to the phenomena you can detect, using a pre-codified sequence:
erasure: something is taken from the site, an aspect changes
origination: something is born, in direct consequence of the erasure
transformation: that same something is modified
migration: that same something moves away.
the prime example of this method is the Tokyo Story. This method has helped them develop several masterplans and interventions, but we still have to experiment it ourselves, so I cannot express any opinion about it. it certainly represents a shift from the approach to Architecture I have been taught so far. Tomoorow we will descend on to Homerton, our chosen site, and avoiding stray bullets and muggings at gun point, we shall apply the teachings of our master.
Monday was also the day of a very interesting Advocacy lecture. Advocacy is the lecture series that investigates the modern condition of the profession in relation to society and itself. It poses questions, rather than providing answers, and at the end of the semester we are expected to hand in a 2000 words essay on a connected subject of our choice. Monday's lecture made an argument for how the Architectural Profession has progressively removed itself from the construction industry, and how nowadays Architects can be considered as mere value adders,k argument which I totally agree with (guess that wouldn't go down well with the people in Orleans) in both good and bad terms.
or maybe we just make pretty pictures. I shall know soon!