The studio will deal with contemporary urban conditions, exploring optimal ways to live in the city but also the meaning of overused terms such as densification or transformation.
The quality of housing must be based on the idea of the well-being (pleasure), the variety of spaces and atmospheres, a conception of the comfort other than that normalized by standards, calculations or models. The city should provide an exceptional quality of life: a large range of facilities, proximities and pleasures, resulting in a high quality of livable space.
In a first, quick, assignment, the students will work on the development of their own definitions of what living, luxurious, public or infrastructural mean in qualitative terms. The definitions will be approached in this essentially qualitative manner as to allow each student to capture the spatial or organizative essence that lies behind them. This initial act demands a critical way of thinking to produce a personal statement and assume a recognizable position regarding (but not reduced to) the following questions:
– WHAT PRODUCES GOOD CONDITIONS FOR LIFE?
– WHICH ARE THE QUALITIES THAT MAKE A SPACE DESIRABLE? LUXURIOUS? LIVABLE? SUSTAINABLE?
– WHICH IS MY RESPONSIBILITY AS AN ARCHITECT?
– WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR? WHAT I AM ARE WE ADVOCATING FOR?
Attempting to answer all these questions will inevitably lead into a fragmentary way of thinking covering different scales and ideas. The final results will be condensed and expressed through any possible media (videos, images, texts, drawings, models…) that activates these definitions as “self-imposed” constraints.
These constraints will be used by the studio as design premises for high-density residential prototypes to be tested in a very precise urban context of a consolidated city. In this case, the students will use a portion of Porte de la Chapelle, in the XVIIIeme arrondissement of Paris for that matter. The project on the site will start in parallel to the initial research in order to introduce a different process of design which is not linear -research-project- but involves going back and forth between research and design.
The studio sessions will be held twice a week every other week by Anne Lacaton and Marcos Garcia Rojo at regular studio time (2pm – 6pm). Anne Lacaton will be in residence on the following dates: January 22 and 23, February 3 and 4, March 3, 4, 24 and 25, April 21 and 22, and May 4, 5 and 6. Marcos Garcia Rojo will be in residence on the following dates: January 22 and 23, February 3, 4, 17 and 18, March 24 and 25, April 7 and 8, and May 4, 5 and 6.
The instructors will be available for optional desk crits/meetings during hours outside of studio time as arranged with them.