ACTIVATING ARCHITECTURE

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The Studio

The core of our unit involves helping each student develop their own experimental practices, both in their approach to design and in the media through which they think and work. In our experience an experimental approach fosters rich design potential while also providing a productive educational method. We value the way that working experimentally through materials and processes can open up possibilities that might elude us when working with more conventional design methods. We encourage speculative risk and not knowing where the idea will end. To operate like this we look for rigour when nurturing the relationship between idea and technique, looking for ways in which each student might develop or invent their own media and be in control of it on their own terms. We are much more interested in the literal and figurative manifestation of the idea than in the diagram.

This year’s program

Last year we were looking at the way objects can be given meaning and out of this are able to project worlds of their own. We are all capable of constructing our own parallel and simultaneous realities. While we will continue to encourage the cultural production of personal worlds, this year we wish to temper them with a wider understanding or the realm between reality (what Timothy Morton describes as ‘the human correlated world’) and the real (‘ecological symbiosis of human and nonhuman parts of the biosphere’). So we will look more fully at the implications of personal worlds beyond their internal logic.

We are also captivated by that term “correlated”. Morton explains:

Correlationism means that there are things in themselves… but that they aren’t “realised” until they are correlated by a correlator, in the way that a conductor might “realize” a piece of music by conducting it.

How is it that we can activate the world – make it come alive – through architecture? Our research projects this year will ask this question, each student producing a test piece through which they can “correlate” their world.

Our site for the year has a range of highly loaded cultural and technological activity overlaid on what we might see as a semblance of nature. To a large extent there is a symbiosis between these parts and we will look at how they overlap and in what way we might operate in such a realm, one that defies a separation between nature and culture. Our field trip will tease out the parts of such a conversation, as well as Continuing our fascination with the boundary between representation and material realities, especially in relation to simulation.