Studio 4: 2020 / 2021
Jeffrey Turko + Nate Kolbe
Studio 4 continues its interest in the conditions of the countryside of the South East of the UK, however we want to expand on the “natures” of what is included in the countryside condition and in how we speculate on its futures. Futures, which are inclusive to a variety of species and ecological conditions. As architects we must begin to take on more, and must consider how our human centric position is impacting the environment around us so that we can come to a balance with how we expand/maintain and manage the human ecology amongst many others. Where does the discipline of architecture place itself in the current state of the Anthropoceane?
In the past 6 months we have seen a migratory shift in pattern to how we connect and relate to our areas of working and living. Working remotely has opened up awareness to how we occupy and use space and has also revealed the effect we have had on other ecologies and wildlife that have become even more present in our daily routines since we have stopped commuting. We have also seen that the nature of digital technology was a key enabler in allowing us to stay connected to our far-reaching lives, for work and to just stay connected. Will we want to go back to those former patterns of migration? How do we as a discipline address our current realities for a better future? In 10 weeks time we have made the cultural and societal shift that would have normally taken 10 years to evolve, Jack Dorsey, owner of Twitter.
Originating as a concept from Sci-fi, Futurology, Contemporary Art and Philosophy this literally means existing in a state beyond being human. As critical architects should we not become more aware of the larger world (Anthropoceane) that our human centric views inhabit? Should we not be taking an interdisciplinary position on how we generate architecture and to question how and by whom it should be occupied? Should we not have a broader view of who and what we design for? Does it always have to be Humans First? These questions are asked in order to broaden the scope of what needs to be included in the processes of developing an architecture, a first step in reprogramming our approach and coming to terms with the challenges our discipline faces right now.
We are interested in tapping into the varied natures of the countryside. Yes, this does of course mean the living species that are and could be present, but should this not also include other entities of the material world and its phenomena. Nature does not always mean natural… There are no more boundaries, borders, walls; only temporal and shifting cultures of ownership and determination. We will work with the location of Tide Mills, an area of land squeezed between infrastructure, industry, suburbia and the sea. We will not draw a singular red line boundary around a ‘site’ but leave the edges and scope open to the research, agenda and ambitions of the projects as they evolve. All aspects of the site will need to be addressed in the evaluation of the thesis of the project.
We will once again work within the typological paradigm of the horizontal. Taking strategic and organisational queues from the Social Condenser block and slab projects with the aim of reconfiguring these into an inhabitable Hybridized Landscape. Formally we will explore the architectural notion of thick occupiable ground as opposed to the standard figure ground relationships of establishing settlements.
In the 1920’s the Constructivists brought us the Social Condenser project; buildings that had the ambition to support and accelerate the life of people through sport, culture, and education. This will be the given element of your programmatic DNA. But you will be tasked to add further strands of new programmatic DNA into this 100 year old fossil of architectural spatial type with the aim to reimagine the Condenser project for the future needs of our current epoch. In the OMA book Content, a social condenser is described as a “Programmatic layering upon vacant terrain to encourage dynamic coexistence of activities and to generate through their interference, unprecedented events.”
The chimera is about the readable transformation of one known object into the next. Not a collaging but a smooth blending that still allows for a clear reading of the original objects. Feathers to scales to fur to skin to field to sea to building to landscape; this is determined typically by the gradient of material. The material organisation and composition being the dominant factor in the understanding and design agenda behind the output. We aim to blend programs and materials into new realities of how our architecture is read and used.
The Studios research agenda continues to be aimed at the exploration, experimentation and use of the primary architectural elements of the Building Envelope & the Ground. With the intent of these elements to actuate a new position on heterogeneous space and culturally, socially and environmentally sustainable built environments, which are bound with material and spatial performance. Performance defined by the interaction of the four domains of active agency: spatial organisation, material organisation, the human subject, and the human environment. The aim is to apply this driving concept for design to re-consolidate form and function into a synergetic relation with the dynamics of natural, cultural and social environments.
The studio aims at exploring and developing design techniques for the production of architectural form and space. Design tools and techniques, both analogue and digital; have always been at the core of the studio’s formal explorations and production. However, this year the digital will take a primary position in all arenas of production. We sense there is an opportunity on a fundamental level that this should have direct impact on representational modes of delivery causing a rethink of what forms a contemporary portfolio of work.