In this studio we will explore architecture’s relationship to site, landscape, and public space. We will look deeply at leisure typologies alongside ecological practices and theories. Exploring the vast dynamic and interconnected systems that influence site design, microclimates will serve as a hinge for our work, bridging global/local, inside/outside, nature/culture, and human/nonhuman. Reflecting upon how human activity is inextricably embedded in dynamic systems of the planet, we will make enjoyment and delight design criteria to challenge extractive practices that instrumentalize bodies and lands.
“Humanists, not used to thinking with disturbance, connect the term with damage. But disturbance, as used by ecologists, is not always bad—and not always human. Human disturbance is not unique in its ability to stir up ecological relations. … disturbance is always in the middle of things: the term does not refer us to a harmonious state before disturbance. Disturbances follow other disturbances. Thus all landscapes are disturbed; disturbance is ordinary. But this does not limit the term. Raising the question of disturbance does not cut off discussion but opens it, allowing us to explore landscape dynamics. Whether a disturbance is bearable or unbearable is a question worked out through what follows it: the reformation of assemblages.”
-- Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015), 160.
Our methodologies will alternate between analytic and expressive modes of architectural investigation. We begin large, at the scale of cities, regions and the planet, looking at significant design practices and ideas that have expanded our understanding of environmental relationships. Global issues of climate are felt in our direct sensory experience of microclimate as we move to the small scale of 1:1 with grounding site investigations at the scale of the body. As we spend sustained time in a nearby constructed landscape, we will get to know its rhythms, forms and composition. The final project will be at medium scale, bringing our experience, insights, critiques, and passions together with the program of a public plaza, a new commons. We will test the capacity of design to intimately weave together ecologies, bodies, and cultures through an expanded understanding of landscape as a hybrid of human and more-than-human forces in the 21st century.