Design Studio Required Elective at semester(s) 6, 8, ECTS: 12
and the post internet village
design in the spaces of infrastructure
[Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Synthesis]
The aim of this workshop, is to articulate a position concerning the new condition in which the contemporary human is found after two major changes that characterize the planet. The first is related to the draught and the heat, it takes the dimension of a global phenomenon after the human consciousness of global warming. It prioritizes some parts of the planet and leaves others deserted. The Anthropocene becomes a new geological era and it shadows with its transformations the concept of the globe. The second concerns the new urban conditions that operate in the planet and the construction of a live archive such as the Internet that augments and transforms common realities. Distribution of goods, return to the shelter, relation to the community are all architectural characteristics of a new yet not identified urban condition; it threatens the human communities and also at the same time it over-determines them.
The scope of this exercise is to calculate this double future in a different way proposing alternative architectures that will establish a new phase of the self and the community without farewelling them both.
A total urban character with an automatic mechanism of reaction to its contestants could be called a dictatorship of the infrastructure. Against this concept architecture is called to answer by its own means in order to save the civic character of the infrastructure and organize anew the vision of some possible communal life for the humans.
The growing difficulty to make an account concerning facts describing the nowadays world, makes us look at the present as something obsolete, belonging already to the past; already surrounded by new languages and new perceptions of reality we envisage the end of the Western world and its instruments of interpretation, which still structure the image of decay for the world around us. Turning page and accepting the change does not however mean that humans cannot plan the new conditions of this different world. The question we pose with this intellectual and design exercise is related to the possibilities of architecture to plan a different future for the infrastructure. The new communities that are formed in this frame, and the possibilities of them to be self regulated via the Internet show a possible way to emancipate parts of the infrastructure. Communities can be differently characterized by the protocols they accept for their function. The example of an alternative university community is the basis of this studio.
The book of Karel Teige “The minimum Dwelling” together with the critical analysis of Pier Vittorio Aureli “Less is Enough” form the main readings of this workshop. In addition to these two texts, a set of selected examples from the history of architecture since the so-called ‘revolution’ of the ‘Modern Movement’ - are asked to be considered in parallel to this study since they illustrate ideas in the form of emblematic plans and images that act as personal manifesta. A response to this system of readings, images and drawings orient the procedure of design.
The workshop’s assignment will combine a survey of the minimum dwelling, the relation of it to the frame in which it operates. A short history of the room, together with a reflective transformation of the material studied organize the design to answer at a given program. The concept of domesticity was important for the heroic modern time. We refer to Le Corbusier’s ending of Vers une Architecture in which architecture is presented as able to prevent revolution; the dilemma between architecture or revolution does not only present a conservative idea of an architect who visits politics as an amateur. It is in the logic of the infrastructure. Domesticity and the infrastructure are two definitive elements of the new world we are called to interpret and reform through design. Domestic architecture could be seen as the core of the city’s tissue; furthermore it tends today to be understood in a continuum to the nowadays working spaces. Today the form of the city depends from the structure of a different individual “room”; created by the data infrastructure, this “room” guarantees an operating position from which the data infrastructure is performed for every user of it. This position seems to be the new nucleus of a different city to come. While domestic architecture was supposed to cater entirely to the domain of private life we experiment already its important role in the construction of the social sphere. The social sphere is a tele-ported system of households. The new domesticity offers a chance to rethink the collective: in this exercise we challenge the concept of a Curated Dormitory. Distinct from the housing block of soviet architecture and also distinct from the Social Condenser of the Constructivists, the Curated Dormitory, acquires a supplementary meaning that encompasses the realm of the city, and, of the political through the understanding of its protocols of function.