20170820

bz lecture @Azores University

Emergent Techno-Utopias and the Vernacular


Disconnection from history and the past is one of the main reasons behind the societal crisis of the Western world, according to philosopher Kornilios Kastoriadis. The talk emphasizes the priority to reestablish continuity with tradition and examines this need through the lens of the built environment and physical space. Particularly, it examines how future architecture can promote behavior and social responsibility connected to vernacular tradition, and it reveals examples and potential directions of this thesis in the emergent techno-utopias.   

Sept 4, 2017, 6:30pm, Azores University Auditorium - Ines Lobo 


building program + site

Site



Program


The mining company proposes to build mostly two-roomed dwellings, thought one house in about every six could be three roomed. Each dwelling will consist of two rooms for indoor living and sleeping, a courtyard for outdoor sleeping, evening living, kitchen and such a corridor entrance way as is thought desirable. The company has at present no infrastructure support, but most likely the connection to the offshore vessel will be operated from Rabo de Peixe fishing harbor. The housing car therefore take any desirable formation. The population will be almost entirely pedestrian although it is likely many will be riding bicycles.


The people sleep out-of-doors in the hot time of year, or for recreational reasons, on the bed rolls which are brought indoors for day-sleeping and storage. Privacy and security are important. The site is serviced with water, gas and electricity. The local building materials are good building volcanic stone and gatch from crushed natural stone. Wood is of very good quality and in abundance. The company is able to import roofing materials, steel and sanitary wave. Aluminum windows are also available from outside, but imported goods are expensive.

about the workshop

OBJECTIVES

Conception, development of planning and building scale, of a passive and responsive design strategy through the integration of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. Use of native resources in unconventional ways.
The workshop provides three alternatives for the project development:

I
To design a strategy for mass housing between Rabo de Peixe and Ribeira Grande
II
To design low income, multifamily housing prototypes suitable for insertion into the existing suburban residential area of Ponta das Praias
III
To design new roles for architecture in the north coast of the island between the architectural and material specificity of the project and the program indeterminacy of its use, time and location;
By defining a wider subject matter, the workshop aims to make students aware of social change and regeneration through architecture. To understand the social value of architecture in helping or hindering the conditions of the urban poor through urban renewal. And to favor a more resilient, less doctrinaire view of architecture and urbanism, on tied to local community development and natural resiliency, by challenging discourses such as the rules of nature and urban fabric.
The workshop pursues real architecture, understating the discourse of non academically trained builders and their relations with materials, acknowledging their solutions to archetypal problems in architecture such as the handling of building volume, perimeter, corners, the marking of front doors, etc… In another dimension the subject matter introduces students to pessimism, skepticism, pragmatism, and conservatism as modes of though suitable for architecture.
Remove the students from the complexity and detail or their own culture and surroundings, to intrigue them with information about a strange culture, and to allow them to span, in a short period of time, a wide range of problems that might be difficult to handle close up.
Finally, the workshop aims to provide an approach to professional architecture practice in interface between US and Europe by the use of common nature, place and social practices.
LEARNING OUTCOMES
Incorporate planning policy: responsive material systems; performance based design; bioclimatic comfort;
Site responsive design strategies towards natural and man made environments;
Identify and evaluate design strategies, modeling and building tactics.
Implement and integrate design process.
Develop skills in translating intellectual and verbal information into design;
To comprehend and to find own approach as designers;
Exposure to cultural and social anthropology, regionalism and vernacular, iconographic architecture, architectural specificity, coastal resilience and adaptive re-use.
To open student’s eyes to machines, folk architecture, even popular architecture and human behavior, and finally to uncomfortably direct architectural solutions that ignored the canons of architectural taste.
To stress regional economical development and industrialization.
Understanding how social arrangements influence physical form.
To handle dualities, juxtapositions of scales including violent juxtapositions.
to define not only force (design strategy and site) but also the architectural form.
SYLLABUS
1) One days of introductory lectures with relevant speakers: (1a) Architecture based on nature; (1b) Performance-based design; (1c) Interactivity and responsiveness in architecture.
2) 4 Masterclasses: (2a) Solar radiation and bioclimatic comfort; (2b) Regional building culture and material response; (2c) Contemporary lifestyle and motivations.

3) Laboratory work for the design, modelling, simulation and fabrication.

TEACHING METHODOLOGY


The students will begin with an intense period of lectures and field trip in the 1st day to help gaining background and knowledge for their design task. The first half of 2nd day will be spent inventorying and documenting the site, under guidance of the instructors, to employ the students’ verbal skills while it accustoms them to graphics and the uses of architectural techniques. In the the second half of the day they can move from site placing to the design of the individual units. During this 2nd day, instructors must help students interpret the lecture and field trip feedback and relate it to their design task, through examining, documenting, and analyzing existing buddings and complexes.

At the end of every day session lectures, instructors and students will discuss in informal way, during and after dinner, what they felt on the subject discussed during the lecture in the morning and during the project development along the day. These discussions must provide profound critique of the students’ intentions and further directions for their project development.

On the following days student will become autonomous and each student will make him or herself responsible for its own research and drawings/other visual deliverables, and then for presenting their project to the local community, from the standpoint of the mining company architect. Therefore, they must be conscientious of the way to approach the proposal communication in the specific context.

After the final presentation, the instructors will conduct a post-mortem with the students, to bind the wounds, as well as to find out what we had learned from the jury process.
The course is structured in three types of teaching/learning practices: theoretical, theoretical-practical and laboratory.
I
The theoretical component includes the fundamental theoretical concepts through lectures by invited experts. The lectures provide content to each element of design. For each element, a review of a review of history, cultural and natural feedback is made.
II
The theoretical-practical component, in the form of master classes, the fundamental theoretical concepts that constitute the work basis for the conceptual design are presented. These seminars will contextualize the applicability of the theoretical concepts. Each element of design previously lecture, derive theoretical positions and design strategies. The same method will be applied in the dialogue between local and global. How did the popular architecture deal with the problem of letting light into residences, and how did this compare with the views of local architects and of international practices on the same problem?
III
The laboratory component encompasses design, prototyping and a critical, shared analysis of the entire process. During laboratory work, the students will be consistently challenged with depicting differences between design intentions and projections, between recommended actions and expected reactions, and between graphic statements of fact and graphic statements of value. Throughout the studio learning process during the last 2 days, critical analyses will be also carried out in small groups, coordinated by the workshop instructors as well as presentations of the projects will be encouraging a shared discussion and criticize their effort to draw them.

Demonstration of the coherence between the teaching methodologies and the learning outcomes:
A visit to Rabo de Peixe will introduce students in a realistic rather than utopian and philosophic way to the terrors, wonders, and complexities of informal living and economy in larger scale in the mid-Atlantic Ridge.
The students’ immersion as a group in the intense demand of the workshop, in a mutual adversity of the deadline, and in a problem that is fascinating and appealing to their social morality, will engender in the class a camaraderie that will be educational as the subject matter.

The careful abstraction of aspects of reality will suit pedagogical purpose. Not all aspects of reality can be simulated and once and its not objective of this workshop to do it. The workshop does not stress analysis and research; the focus is on design.

Elements of popular culture and history will be exposed non-chronologically and non-specific origin and comparatively related to modern practice problems, so that students can learn from them lessons suitable for their future practice.
Most of the students don’t understand the social value of architecture in helping or hindering the conditions of the urban poor and the resilience of the built object.  The selection of the context for this workshop pursues problems and subject that are of great interest for the present generation of students. The context for this project combines social and cultural relevant challenges with iconoclastic speculations.


The subject matter to be both, iconoclastic and socially concerned, allows for unconventional ways of viewing commercial and suburban iconography common in the students’ environment of origin.

Moytirra

Azorres Summer School
Sketch Design for Deep-Sea Mining Labour's Housing Workshop

This Summer School will take place in the recently completed Arquipélago – Contemporary Arts Centre in Ribeira Grande, S.Miguel island. The project site is in Ponta das Praias, 370m (1,200 ft) away from the Arquipélago in the sea front.

Arquipélago - Contemporary Arts Centre / João Mendes Ribeiro + Menos é Mais Arquitectos (photo via Archdaily)





A deep-sea mining company wishes to house its labour, having struck minerals in the underwater reserves of Moytirra (1000miles offshore north), the first known deep-sea vents in the Azores sea. These people are fisherman from Rabo de Peixe and Ribeira Grande and the mining company will draw its labor from them. There are no restrictions as to site. A large area of practically flat plateau is available. Even facing the sea towards north, all the area is somehow protected from the north string winds.

The project provides three alternatives for design development:
I
To design a strategy for mass housing between Rabo de Peixe and Ribeira Grande
II
To design low income, multifamily housing prototypes suitable for insertion into the existing suburban residential area of Ponta das Praias
III
To design new roles for architecture in the north coast of the island between the architectural and material specificity of the project and the program indeterminacy of its use, time and location



The Summer School pursues real architecture, understating the discourse trained builders and their relations with materials, acknowledging their solutions to archetypal problems in architecture such as the handling of building volume, perimeter, corners, the marking of front doors, etc… In another dimension the subject matter introduces students to pessimism, skepticism, pragmatism, and conservatism as modes of though suitable for non academically architecture.

To learn more, visit Moytirra workshop [link]