Explore Lab 26
Norms and Bodies: Exploring the Architectural BodyVeerle Alkemade
Bodies and their surroundings are continuously changing and inseparably intertwined, making it impossible to explore the two independently. This means that our bodies do not simply end at our skin, unlike architectural notions such as the Modulor by Le Corbusier suggest. As professor Hélène Frichot puts it: “there is some sort of a thinking feeling body and there is an atmospheric sack of something that surrounds this body”.
Architecture can be regarded as a mediator between bodies and their surroundings and as a practice which strives to empower the bodies who interact with it. However, if we note that our bodies are dynamic and thus not so easily defined (if definable at all), how do we design?
Basing architectural designs on diagrams such as those made by Ernst Neufert, standardises and simplifies the complex relations that bodies and surroundings can have, and results in normative and repressive situations. How do we make sure that architecture doesn’t restrain or limit, but actually empowers bodies to act in their surroundings?
This research attempts to discover ways of designing which take into account the dynamic qualities of bodies and their surroundings, as an alternative to a normative design approach.
Stage Conflict aims to explore architecture related to multi-focal conflict between the individual and the collective. Instead of avoiding conflict, this thesis acknowledge its inevitable existence and seeks an architecture that both accommodates and provokes conflict.
In the first part of the essay, I theorize the beauty of conflict, its inherent dimension in social relations, its loss during last decades and its necessity for our coexistence in current society. Thereafter I discuss three main political stages in ancient Greece, the agora, the pnyx and the theater, which gives us an architectural and spatial perspective on the origins of democracy and on the productivity of conflict, both single-focal and multi-focal, both formal and informal, both ordered and disordered, and both total and fragmented.
The second part includes a comparison of a wide range of architectural projects that are characterized by the opposites of these characteristics. This comparison offers us an in depth insight how architecture can, by proliferation, stage conflict productively by acknowledging and celebrating a multiplicity of norms, values and differences among individuals.
A population in rehabMaurits van Ardenne
We are unable to anticipate a threat coming from within our developed societies. The ongoing technological progress is slowly paralysing our population.
The speed of modern-day life affects our mental health. Our brains are no longer able to cope with the overexposure we receive on a daily basis from our built environment. And since technological progress increases exponentially, the quantity of urban stressors will only intensify more. We will experience an increase of mental fatigue while being on our daily routine. Eventually, our impairment on mental health will affect our physical health by weakening our resistance.
The documentary ‘A Swedish Theory of Love’ shows how more and more people withdraw from society and isolate themselves. Depressions (about 30% of the population), burn-outs and non-involvement seem to become a new social norm. We clearly need to adapt our living environment to avoid further mental paralysis of our population.
The Frame: Abstraction, Prediction, StructurePu Hsien Henry Chan
The frame is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as a structure that surrounds a certain object — immediately referring to practical matters such as the window-frame, the door-frame, the picture-frame. It should also be considered that the frame is the subject of a certain action: framing. What does it mean to frame an object? When deploying the frame, it is implied that there is an understanding of the existence of the object within its perimeter: its conditions are framed.
However, the power of the frame might reside in its intrinsic connotations with structure — or giving structure to. The frame is not merely a way of confirming the conditions of an object, whether a past or a present condition. What if we suggest that the frame can also be utilised to incentivise, to initiate, to structure, and to create a predictive condition?
The research will focus on the conceptualisation of the frame, making enquiries primarily into philosophical and political frameworks. In the process, we might ask the question, how does the frame function beyond its rhetorical aspect? How does the frame have physicality that is relevant to the architectural and urban scale? How does the frame historically relate to the Fordist mode of production and its implications in the urban fabric? Who is the actor when deploying the frame? This research will lay the foundation for a design proposal in which the frame as a conceptual model will be utilised to (re)structure urban life and development.
Subversion of ExpectationYara Valente
My fascination stems from the feeling that we live in a society where everything is rushed. And that we, in this constant rush, forget to stand still of a moment and appreciate what there is, what you see, or question what you are doing. I believe that by doing this we are missing out on opportunities. Because exactly by stepping out of this rush for a moment, you can better see it’s values. Or by standing still and questioning it you can find new possibilities, new perspectives.
I want to explore how I can make architecture that helps you to have this moment where you stand still, sharpen your vision and see these opportunities.
There are various ways of doing this: provocation; adding humor or irony; using something completely different than you are used to; playing and letting rules go; many more. But if I would have to categorise them, they would all fall under the – subversion of expectation-.
My research question therefore is:
How can architecture subvert your expectation?
A city of allJuul Heuvelmans
One of the biggest challenges cities are facing in the twenty-first century is migration. Every year there is an exponential growth in the number of migrants. In 2017, there were 257.71 million migrants of which 67.75 million were people of concern, these are people who were forced to leave their homes for any imaginable reason and did not move voluntarily in search for a better future. The fact that two third of these people are welcomed in poor countries is something wealthy countries should be ashamed off and becomes even worse when looking at the way these people are welcomed. Cities proved to be unprepared to absorb a large and diverse group of people and refugees are put away in camps built with military principles. As a result of this exclusion citizens in the city are unprepared as well. The question for future cities is how they can play part in absorbing such a diversity. How can we design for such numbers of different people? and how can these people start to understand these cities? Following these big questions the research question arising from my fascination is: What is the role of the porous city in the assimilation of refugees?
how to generate the personalized dwellingYannick Macken
Streamlinedness and efficiency of the post-industrial construction industry have on one hand led to greater availability of mass-housing, but have also dictated repetition and standardization. Architects have made attempts, with varying success, to design housing that offers greater variety with similar means. Current trends towards on-demand solutions and developments in computation present an opportunity to introduce the computer to the design process of housing. I am curious whether with the use of parametric software, and with an understanding of rule-based design methods such as shape grammar, new housing solutions can be generated which offer ultimate personalization while respecting economic realities.
PROTOTYPE THE FUTUREDafne Sara Swank
– From cave to skyscraper to ??
My fascination lays in the future and everything related to it. Architecture has the potential to produce a meaningful and hyper inclusive network of relationships, that provokes and inspires to bring more than just a pretty picture. New processes that change the way we see and think about space and architecture are emerging. Of these, I am specifically fascinated by the process of form-finding, where we can merge structure, movement, time and human experience in order to generate future architecture.
Our Cities have developed in the last centuries into hybrids of various urban models. Many cities grew as a result of trade via water, hence why the majority of the 35 global mega-cities with over 10.000.000 inhabitants are located near a lake, river, ocean.
With rising water levels and the looming end-of-the-world predictions – from global warming to post peak oil energy crises and uncontrolled worldwide urbanization, architects should radically rethink the way we live. The lead to the question; How can we reconsider social and spatial prepossession, on sea or sky, for a self-sustaining water/sky-born community/city?
People seem to slowly take over the world of nature, while we can actually collaborate with it. With my research I would like to inspire people to live in homes where nature is preserved. Nature then functions just as an addition to the house. A tree house is in my view a recognisable example to experiment with, because it can evoke enthusiasm among many people. By using a recognisable example, I hope that more people start to think about new forms of living that are better and more profitable for nature.
Designing homes for people with autismLaura van Beek
For people with autism, special schools and surroundings are developed to enhance their progress and skills. However, housing design for this focus group remains underdeveloped. For people with autism, finding a proper home is difficult. Most houses are built for people without disabilities. Subsequently, minor alterations are made to adapt these houses for living with a mental disorder. This often results in linoleum floors and sterile-like surroundings; this is the most practical option and makes the house suitable for a lot of different (dis)abilities. Most of the time, they are coached by special tutors who can challenge them and stimulate their progress. This research will focus on designing a home environment where they can keep developing themselves. By trying to remove negative incentives and adding positive ones, an attempt will be made to create a home which is specifically focused on the autistic. A house which might enable to do with less coaching from people. A house which gives more independency to its resident. A house that challenges. A house that gives rest. A house which is a proper home for the autistic.
Architecture and OilSanne Beckers
For every four barrels we use, we only discover one (Rob Hopkins, 2009). Oil becomes more scarce, but architecture and oil are still connected in many ways. From transport to materials, architecture and the urban environment need to adapt for the coming post-oil world. One of the aspect we have to look to is the heritage of oil such as oil refineries, petrol stations and oil drilling rigs which will be left behind. How can we reuse these structures in the post-oil world. Maybe this sounds like something to worry about in the far future, however the oil-refinery of Dunkirk already closed down.
A structure which is we can find every on the world and is roughly similar are the oil tanks on the many refineries and other industries. That’s why I want to research the oil tanks. How to redesign oil tanks into dwellings in a post oil world? Via research by design I will look into the many aspects and hurdles I will bump into while redesigning the oil tanks.
Vernacular Architecture in Burkina FasoRobyne Somé
West Afrika is quickly expanding its economy and population, leaving us with interesting architectural and urban challenges. Many of the sustainable problems we face in the West have been solved through traditional and simple architecture in countries such as Burkina Faso. Analyzing and learning their spatial practices is my ultimate fascination.
Of course, my fascination also lies in the fact that I am from Burkina Faso, making it easier to have an authentic, yet refreshing view on topics such as the extremely diverse and rich culture, the spatial planning and the politics in this post-colonial country.
Living organisms in architectureKamila Waszkowiak
In my work, I would like to go beyond the biomimicry and try to ask not only how to imitate nature, but rather how to incorporate it into architecture; to design responsive, low-energy and low-maintenance building by using plants, bacteria, mycelium or fish. I would like to explore the possibility of using plants as a construction, producing bio-materials on-site or providing balanced environmental circulation within the building. What is more, my design aim is to introduce bio-incrementality – taking the time needed for growing required elements as an important factor, providing usability of the construction during every stage of growth.
Ephemerality ArchitectureClaartje L'Herminez
In our fast developing modern society I, as an architecture student, experience an increasing human resistance against the inevitable processes of change, imperfection, impermanence, incompleteness and transience. It is difficult to understand what the essence is for our happiness. Within this research project I would like to reflect on this by exploring the philosophical and architectural dilemmas between eternity and transience and perseverance and ephemerality. The project aims to describe architectural concepts and develop tools based on different philosophical and architectural movements in which perishability and ephemerality play a key role. It will aim to provide a better understanding of the relationship between these concepts and their role in modern architecture. I hope to identify an approach how architects could possibly contribute to a better acceptance of these human core values.
Waiting: Rhythmic Bodies and SpacesHai Xie
We strive now more than ever for a life of productivity in defined events and spaces, on the other side of which waiting is implicated as a waste, something to be diminished by any means. Still we constantly wait. In waiting, and towards waiting, bodies are repeatedly captured and reproduced by contemporary architecture. The tension between bodily rhythms in waiting, and spatial rhythms generates a theatrical force shaping architectural experience and public life. However, as designers who structures places where bodies perform, we do not understand waiting enough, for we do not consider such mundane activity (if one would call it as such) important to investigate.
The thesis looks into the bodily experience in waiting through the concept of rhythm and ritornello. Waiting is seen as a time when the social time fails to be captured by mathematical time, when bodily rhythms intertwine, disturb intensively with spatial rhythms. By studying certain affects experienced in bodies in relation to architecture, the project investigates how layered performative territorization can be empowered in waiting, through affects.
Keywords: waiting; body; rhythm; ritornello; territory; subjectivity; interiority
Post-Labour ArchitectureJustin Frank
Living in an ever accelerating world, my fascination is how technology will impact our lives in more and more ways in the future. We are on the cusp of a new age, with AI ubiquitous and a society unrecognisable from today’s. How will architecture respond when most of society no longer have jobs? How will cities react when they are no longer necessary to create wealth and people can live anywhere? How will society behave when the current structures disappear? Architecture and urbanism must start addressing these problems now, as the future will be here faster than we think.