Original Scheme of Fleur Agema’s Prison project as she imagined it in 1999
Few days ago, Daniel Fernandez Pascual posted a very interesting project on his fantastic Deconcrete. Entittled Closed Architecture, this book created by Jonas Staal is exploring in a very interesting way the architecture thesis project of a woman called Fleur Agema, who since became a member of the Dutch Parliament on the list of a party that is unfortunately illustrative of what the right wing looks like in Europe currently (neo-liberal economic policies, conservative immigration and mores policies). J. Staal simply studied F. Agema’s thesis text and project and re-interpreted them visually according to what such a project would actually looks like if implemented by governmental policies. The images below are part of a much larger book that Jonas Staal proposes to download on his website.
Before analyzing what that might tell us about practicing architecture, I would like to introduce briefly the project (I highly recommend to read the whole book). As an architecture student, Fleur Agema imagines a prison whose prisoner population is spread into four different buildings corresponding each with a phase of incarceration. Quoting J. Staal’s book directly here:
The model that Agema has developed focuses on the reconditioning of prisoners by means of four phases. In the first version they are called, “The Bunker – The Habituation – The Wait – The Light” (see p. 33), and in the final version, “The Fort – The Encampment – The Artillery Installation – The Neighborhood” (see p. 99). “The Fort” is modeled after the ancient design of the dungeon, and is meant to break the prisoner’s resistance; “The Encampment” is a camp with vegetable gardens to stimulate independence; “The Artillery Installation” is a type of commune in which the prisoners have to learn to operate collectively; and “The Neighborhood” is essentially a reconstruction of a residential neighborhood filled with hidden cameras, where the prisoners live a simulated life in order to verify whether they are yet fully capable of functioning within society.
The images that follow this article are the visualizations that J. Staal did to illustrate F. Agema’s ideas, I chose to include each times three perspectives (outside/inside/room) to make the comparison easier to observe.
Time Square on October 17th 2011 /// Photograph by Léopold Lambert
In March 2012, I wrote a text for my friend Lucas Issey Yoshinaga who was contributing to the Brazilian book Approach edited by Gustavo Utrabo, Juliano Monteiro, Pedro Duschenes & Hugo Loss. The other contributors ended up to be Graham Harman, Nannette Jackowski . Ricardo de Ostos & Bernardo Bento for a collection of five texts about our perception of the architectural discipline. I entitled mine Impetus, as a reflection on the current return of politics within the architectural discourse and education. This wondering/wandering was then based on the question on whether or not this new interest for politics was simply based on a opportunist trend or could potentially be crystallized and then engaged as a non-avoidable dimension of the architectural practice.
I recommend the reading of this very well made little bilingual (Portuguese & English) book that cultivates architecture’s sense of doubt about its role and action. The title, Approach, is a good indicator of its editors’ consideration for those texts which tries to avoid a peremptory tone to prefer a more dubious one. If you would like a copy you can write to mail(AT)alephzero.arq.br
by Léopold Lambert
Body Measurements by Henry Dreyfuss Associates. MIT Press, 1974.
A year ago, I wrote an article which was exploring how the modernist theories had implemented the ideology of what I called an ideal normative body. In a nutshell, this oxymoron expresses the paradox of the elaboration of a body that was supposed to represent a standard for all bodies but, by doing so, became idealized as no real body was, in fact, perfectly matching this standard. The following article therefore constitutes a visual and textual opposition between this ideal normatized body as drawn by Ernst Neufert, Le Corbusier and the Architectural Graphic Standards and its subversion within architectural projects.
The modernist project to establish a standard for the human body is not born in the 20th century. Renaissance was built around this notion of idealized proportions both for the body and architecture. In 1487, Leonardo da Vinci drew what remains one of the most famous drawings of Western Art: the Vitruvian Man. Many re-interpretations and parodies of this drawing have been created to address the question of standard since then. That is the case (see below) of Thomas Carpentier, whose thesis project L’homme, mesures de toutes choses at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture motivated the redaction of this article.
Philippe Rahm. Interior Weather installation made for the CCA exhibition environ(ne)ment. 2006.
In a recent article, I was quoting Jill Stoner who writes that what she calls minor architects have to enlarge their spectrum of skills and functions (I am paraphrasing) in order to propose a real consistency to their discipline. This post introduces three opportunities involving different mediums and talents.
CURATING: 2012 Curational Opportunities Program proposed by the Canadian Center for Architecture: The Young Curator Program offers the opportunity to propose and curate a project on the contemporary debate in architecture, urbanism, and landscape design during a residency of 3 months at the CCA beginning in Fall 2012. In parallel the Power Corporation of Canada Curatorial Internships proposes the opportunity to become acquainted with the CCA’s collection, exhibition, and research programs through a 6 to 9 month internship beginning in Fall 2012.
Deadline: April 27th 2012
WRITING: Call for submission by the fairly new journal The State which recently released a first issue entitled Voicings/Articulations/Utterances. The second volume for which this call for submission is inspirationally called Speculative Geographies. I include it into the ‘writing’ but in reality this opportunity gathers a vaster field of possibilities.
Deadline: April 30th 2012
DESIGNING: Competition [un]restricted access by Architecture for Humanity. This is a very good opportunity to design a space useful for the collectivity in the ruins of what used to be a military facility. The choice of the latter is completely open but few of them are proposed as examples including the incredible Flak Towers in Vienna or the Marine Corps Air Station in California. Note the good idea of making the entry fee free for people designing in developing countries.
Deadline: June 1st 2012 (May 1st for registration)
Truth, Power and Knowledge by Daniel Lauand
Dear Mr. Schumacher,
Today, I read the article that you wrote two days ago for The Architectural Review and I felt the urge, the necessity to send you a response as such rebuttal would almost constitute a manifesto since your discourse seems the exact opposite of the one I am defending on this platform. I won’t insist too much on your heavy undelicateness as a professor to attack on a very specific level a certain amount of students’ project, students who, I hope, are careless enough not to feel personally affected by your attacks. Orienting your discourse on your pairs, other professors would have been more diplomatic, but, once again that does not constitute the main reason of my reaction.
I will not take too much time either to underline the irony of having you complaining that the students’ work is not oriented enough on the ordinary life, I think that everybody did not miss to smile when reading you while considering the work that you have been developing along the years in the various schools that you have been teaching for.
Before going truly to the argument that is important to me in my reaction to your article, I would like to say that, despite some problematic attitudes (nowhere is a perfect place), I believe that what breaks the ambition of many young architects in the United Kingdom is not their exploration and production of fictions but rather the hyper-reality of professional exploitation that the Behemoths firms practice on many of them when they leave the Academic world.
That leads me to the main argument of this letter, which goes far beyond from the architecture education. In fact, in your article you claim for a – self declared – subtle realism and write:
” I also doubt that architecture could be a site of radical political activism. I believe that architecture is a sui generis discipline (discourse and practice) with its own, unique societal responsibility and competency. As such it should be sharply demarcated against other competencies like art, science/engineering and politics. Architects are called upon to develop urban and architectural forms that are congenial to contemporary economic and political life. They are neither legitimised, nor competent to argue for a different politics or to ‘disagree with the consensus of global politics’ (as David Gloster suggests).”
‘‘Life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion: to refuse to tape yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge – and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope’’
The Funambulist is one year old since it replaced the boiteaoutils. The following project, Highlines of New York; Chelsea School of Aerial Arts by Adam Shapland (University of Greenwich) provides a good imaginary in order to celebrate this anniversary. Indeed this project is a well built-up building for a school of tight-rope walking also known as. funambulism.
Of course, in my own interpretation I see in this project, both as a metaphor and as a real project in which the body’s action is celebrated. Just like in Zarathustra (see previous article), living on a line cannot be a mistake.
The following text is Adam’s own interpretation:
Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough again to be part of a very interesting jury at Columbia University for the final review of the studio tutored by Francois Roche assisted by Ezio Blasetti and Miranda Romer. Like the last three year (2008, 2009, 2010), one project/scenario particularly triggered my imagination and critical sense.
This year’s story, Sadic(t)ropisms or The Intransigent Pursuit of the Sublime is being recounted by Farzin Lotfi-Jam & Juan Francisco Saldarriaga. As their evocative text above implicitly mentions, Farzin and Juan found inspiration in the beautiful novella by James Graham Ballard, The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista (see previous article) in order to investigate the potentiality for architecture to carry some sadistic characteristics towards the body who occupies it. The built environment that hosts their narrative is, in fact, composed by a sort of vertical forest made out of shape-memory alloy which can be easily distorted but re-acquire its original form when in contact with an intense heat. People involved in this scenario are nomads, who after colonizing the matter during the night have to flee during the day as the Sun’s heat threatens to make their bodies prisoners of their direct environment thus continuously attempting to “remember” its origins. The body would then experience a last ecstasy while being strangled, allowing its subject to reach for a while, the sublime indicated in the name of the story.
One could then imagine a sequel to this narrative, in which a part of the population -named the builders or architects- would have managed to settle down in this environment as they succeeded to master the shape of the matter. They would then suspend the process of remembrance of the alloy, freezing it into sedentary habitat until this event they call “Catastrophe” which sees architecture suddenly remembering its origins in a spasm lethal to the bodies living in it.
This time of the year is always a good moment to look at the production of schools of architecture in the United Kingdom as many projects are competing to win the yearly RIBA Silver Medal. I will therefore publish few projects which, in my opinion, reach a certain degree of uniqueness as well as an interesting approach in given narratives.
The first one comes from the Bartlett and has been created by Justin Randle. With his California Cooperative, Justin proposes an architectural vision of a fictitious immanent community of production. His almost exclusive use of physical models to represent such architecture is probably not innocent as those relate better to the self-construtivity of the cooperative’s built environment, as he imagines it to be. This example is interesting to study as we usually attribute some authoritarian characteristics inherently contained by architecture of normal spaces of production (assembly line factories, open-space offices etc.). We need therefore to invent rather than plan, an architecture that would liberate itself as much as possible from those characteristics, both in the way that it is been designed and built and in the way it operates.
The following text is Justin’s own introduction to this project:
This project uses a series of complex models to investigate the spatial implications of the cooperative principles of universal admission, democratic organisation, barter, full employment and shared ownership. The proposal is to form a cooperative from the recently unemplyed among the remanaents of the former Haynes generator station on the banks of the San Gabriel River, Los Angeles. Using their skills and the ideas outlined above the cooperative seeks to provide work, shelter and the necessities of life.
Whoever reads regularly this blog knows that I develop an attraction for architecture schools in the United Kingdom; however I tend to focus a lot on the London ones (Bartlett, AA, Westminster, Royal College of Arts and Greenwich) and tend to forget too much the others which are proposing a very interesting pedagogy as well. This article is to make it up to those schools that might communicate less on an international level but work very rigorously with talented (young often) teachers.
The two following projects are third year undergraduate projects at Oxford Brookes University in a studio tutored by my friend Colin Priest along with Carsten Jungfer. The following text exposes the studio’s field of exploration:
This year we engaged in relevant theoretical and current practice-based discourse around Form Follows Performance. In critiquing Adolf Loos’ writing in ‘Ornament and Crime’ we challenged spatial conditions to re-discover the core values of architecture – space and material. In observing behavioural shifts violating prevailing norms, informal processes and their effects, we asked can negative acts manifest positive opportunities? Ultimately designing architectural solutions to proactively address cultural conflict and contribute towards the redefining of new forms of social and spatial order at a local scale in the city.
It became a sort of tradition on The Funambulist to publish regularly the work of specific people whose interesting projects, add one by one over the years compose a coherent ensemble. Fredrik Hellberg is one of those people. After his Manhattan Oneirocritica, his Japanese Embassy in London and his essay about Meta-Virtual Solipsism, his work is back on the blog with his thesis project at the Architectural Association that is now competing for the RIBA’s 2011 Silver Medal.
The project, already published on dpr-barcelona for its homage to Konrad Wachsmann is named The Second Community. It starts with an exhaustive research about three community based on the notion of game: Online-role playing gamers, the Burning Man Festival and the Cosplay Conventions and the architecture that result from such gathering. Considering the abandoned city of California City in the desert, Fredrik designed a gigantic structure -indeed influenced by Wachsmann and Buckminster Fuller- that can host a new form of event that gathers the three concerned game gatherings.
His project, in addition of introducing this poetical structure, impresses for the numerous technical means it uses to describes itself. The important amount of documents that follows the text constitutes only half of the whole set Fredrik managed to compose in order to give to his project a strong consistency. The notion of tourism as a form of territorialization and deterriorialization being important to him, he fabricated his boards as maps that literally unfold the project in front of the viewer (see the following film).
The following text is his introduction to the project (for more renderings and another approach to the project read the article on dpr-barcelona):
‘From April next year we will start measuring our progress as a country not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving, not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life,’
(stated UK prime minister David Cameron on 25 November 2010)
For his final Master project, A Happy Thamesmeadium at the Royal College of Arts, Craig Allen starts his architectural narrative by this quote from David Cameron. This notion of happiness is even more evocative in those days of insurrection in England from a part of the population who can even have to luxury to think of such thing as happiness. Craig describes this governmental public policy of happiness in a near future in which it has been implemented in a dangerous mix with private companies such as Coca Cola or Candy&Candy. His project, that he personally defines as a tragicomedy, is a vision of a future in which the res-publica (republic/public affair) has both registered happiness in an administrative regulation and instructions (see the manual above), and given up on the social housing construction to offer it to private interests.
Here is Craig’s introduction text:
Whoever has seen the result of one of the hundreds of urban idea competitions probably noticed the popularity of projects that introduced urban farms that most of the time consist in overlapping fields on floors one by one with at best (or at worst, I guess) a sexy aesthetic (both for the tower and its representation) as a selling strategy. Those projects are clearly in accordance with the elaboration of a new “green” moral enforced by capitalism that is, this way, forgotten to be the cause of what many call the Ecological Crisis. It was not so hard for capitalism to indeed mutate in order to adapt to a new demand from the followers of this new moral.
Nevertheless, some people are smart and honest enough to acknowledge that what makes the “sustainable” quality of a project is not linked to the density of green on the images that represent it. In this spirit, Catrina Stewart develop a City Farmhouse within the frame of the Unit 12 at the Bartlett, tutored by Jonathan Hill, Elizabeth Dow and Matthew Butcher. Her self-sufficient tower consists in an aggregation of mechanical and biological devices that registers in the Bartlett tradition as initiated by Peter Cook when he directed it.
On the contrary of the moralization of ecology I was evoking above, Catrina tackles the problem with great inventiveness and humor and it is a real relief and pleasure to explore all the details of her project. From the toilets that are transformed in machines of human manures for agriculture to the cows whose methane’s farts are being collected directly in an inflatable balloon that they carry on their back via the elevators directly supplied by the power extracted from domesticated eels, the project is full of devices that could appear in a great book by William Heath Robinson (see previous article)
Nick Learoyd (of Plagiarism is Necessary), was kind enough to bring my attention on a very recent project created within the frame of the Diploma Studio 6 (see previous article) at the Architectural Association tutored by Liam Young (see previous article) and Kate Davies.
This project which allies both an interesting narrative and a beautiful representation has been designed by Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu and has been entitled GravityONE. His project, which I invite everybody to explore via the following excellent film, is situated in the remote lands of Australia whose peaceful atmosphere has been disturbed for the last fifty years by nuclear testing, rocket launches and black military technologies. His resistive operation consists in the constitution of a choreographed swarm of autonomous gliders that manage to jam radio transmission and occupy the sky in a sort of silence protest.
In his explanatory text (see below images), Oliviu explains that his role as an architect is not to solve problems through design, but rise awareness about existing cultural and social layers acting as an agitator. Although I could not agree more than the problem solving has been recurrently leading architecture to create more issues than to solve any, I think that his project actually does more than raising awareness. In fact, (and that is why Nick sent it to me in the first place) he created a protocol for what I’ve been calling a weaponized architecture that envisions the implementation of architecture as a political positioning. One could argue that one has the right not to choose any, but my deep belief is that not choosing is actually choosing what has been chosen for oneself by somebody (something) else. In this regard, GravityOne can be determined as one of the manifesto project of The Funambulist.
picture: The Battersea Experiment by Dan Tassell
Factory Fifteen is a new video artists/architects collective that can be recognized as the children of Nic Clear as the professor of the Unit 15 at the Bartlett seemed to have generated the passion for this group of the students to make of the architectural video, the main medium of their creation.
Blogs like Dpr-Barcelona, Deconcrete, BLDG BLOG and also The Funambulist itself recently published some of their individual projects but they now formed a collective and are releasing a very interesting film entitled Robots of Brixton. In fact, when the films released within the frame of Unit 15, as aesthetically stunning as they are (see all the pictures on this blog), were remaining videos rather than cinematographic work per say, this last film really attempts to create a narrative and to use the moving pictures not anymore as a sort of painting but rather as a medium that confronts what cinema is about.
Robots of Brixton is a science fictive film that reproduces as a farce what used to be the tragedy of the 1981 Brixton riots in London severely suppress by the London Police.
Factory Fifteen is Jonathan Gales, Paul Nicholls, Dan Tassell, Kibwe Tavares, Chris Lees, Rich Young
See all their films on their common website.
Other articles about the Unit 15 at the Bartlett:
- Royal Cabinets/Re-Formation by Paul Nicholls
- Eco Commune by Richard Hardy (Weareom)
- Synaptic Landscape by Dan Farmer
- Nic Clear’s Bartlett Unit 15. Interview with Ballardian
- MANIFESTO /// Nic Clear
The DMZ Game is a project I should have published last year, but for some practical reasons, that is only now, one year after it has been first presented that I am able to introduce it.
This Undergraduate Thesis project has been designed by Won Sok Choi for a studio at Pratt tutored by Yael Erel and Christoph Kumpusch, studio that had already produced the beautiful Circus designed by Guillermo Bernal (see last year’s article). The DMZ Game is an architecture that seems to be eminently influenced both by Constant’s New Babylon and Lebbeus Woods’ projects like the Labyrinth Wall around Bosnia and his own project for the DMZ. In fact, Won chose the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea as a site for his game. Game, here, has to be understood in a similar meaning than the one proposed by Constant and the Situationists, an erratic behavior provoking a series of events in relation with other people and psychogeographies.
But Won’s project, even in its non-materiality, already reaches its goal as he does not provide much explanations (see below) about what determines his architecture. The viewer’s imagination is therefore obliged to play and loose itself in this dialogue between a labyrinthine (probably mobile) architecture, the river, the land and the earth. In this hypothesis, the depiction of a player represented like Rodin’s thinker with a cyberpunk helmet seems to be a symbol of the invitation to imagine the rules (or the non rules) of the game.
The following text is Won’s introduction to his project:
Demilitarized Zone, Korean Peninsula
In DMZ game, the main strategy on the site (DMZ) was to employ playful competition instead of compromised harmony. There are hardly any stable moments of interaction in reality but people are conceptually more comfortable with the notion of stable culture, society, and physical environments. The modern nation states successfully convinced their people into the idea of scientifically proved pragmatic functional spaces with some collectively subjective aesthetic condiments. The notion of self-development of society with various tools (such as science and technology) and ¡°engineering¡± perfect society and culture has become nothing but a modern mirage: tragedy. Because of this restrained social coherency, we, as a modern society has fallen into diluted (and compromised) sense of cultural and physical spaces. I wish to ¡°transform the chaotic energies of economic and social change into new forms of meaning and beauty, of freedom and solidarity.
The Supurban Project is a thesis project in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s B.Arch program by Nick Axel (who now lives in Santiago, Chile). Located in Phoenix, Arizona it questions the status of suburbia as a inanimate grid by designing a megastructure inspired from the 70′s that breaks this grid and reactivate neighborhoods by linking them together and implementing new public spaces.
One of the reasons of existence of Suburbia was in fact to kill public space as it was understood with the Mediterranean paradigm [we currently see what it allows with the "Arab Spring"]. Quoting an article I wrote a year ago about the Obscure History of Suburbia, Mike Davis affirms in City of Quartz that public space in the American city has been destroyed for a reason of control and security, free gathering of people being too hazardous and uncertain for a system that bases its self-sustainability in the anticipation of its subjects’ behaviors. Suburbia is thus a way to kill the Mediterranean street to replace it by the road or the highway that prevent any social interaction between people.
I read Nick’s project as a metaphorical manifesto, a megastructure as an extreme and literal expression of a will to invent a new paradigm of public space inspired by the Mediterranean one but incorporating the modern American fascination for cars and highways.
After his very beautiful Manhattan Oneirocritica (see previous article) which was proposing a model of New York City including all the mythical buildings that were never built, Fredrik Hellberg makes me the honor of coming back on The Funambulist with one more brilliant project. His story DRAWING A KIMONO 新在英国日本国大使館 (A new Japan Embassy in London), introduces a narrative in which the guardian of the Embassy wears a Kimono that recounts the story of the building before he allows the Embassy ‘s ceramic facade to unfold itself in order to open the building.
This project has been designed in the frame of the Architectural Association‘s Unit Diploma 13 tutored by Oliver Domeisen. I recommend the reading of Fredrik’s texts that follow my comment as they allow to explore more deeply and precisely this beautiful story.
The representative language Fredrik is using strikes us by their uniqueness. He actually produce the project’s Kimono after an interesting research on this art that like other Japanese Arts celebrates the precision of the gesture.
Although, I was not necessarily planning on publishing his project right after the text of Exodus, it is very interesting to observe the evolution of the Architectural Association in almost forty years. I don’t really know how much Koolhaas and Zenghelis’ thesis was representative of the AA at that time but the fact that such media has been accepted is already illustrative of what could happen back then.
The straight forward political aspect has pretty much disappeared and has been replaced by an obsessive regard for details and ornamentation but the narrative remains extremely compelling and determinant of the essence of the project. I am convinced that ornamentation in architecture is currently experiencing a come back to the center of the debate because of a retroactive manifesto, computational architecture being confronted to an economical issue that allows it to exist only as an additional aesthetic layer. However, projects like Fredrik’s make me think that ornament can transcend this condition in order to convey an interesting narrative. Of course, many people would probably argue that narrative in architecture is another kind of ornamentation but those people do not realize that narratives allow architecture to access a territory beyond Good and Evil as Nietzsche would put it. This project is a perfect illustration that such a creative process can access to such territory only by fully engaging its essence with strong audacity, ardor and persistence.
A while ago, I published an important amount of images produced in 1972 by Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, Madelon Vreisendorp, and Zoe Zenghelis for their thesis at the Architectural Association. Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture, despite the reunification of West and East Berlin, remains an extremely powerful icon of the current urban design’s ideology. I never got the chance to publish the integral text of the project, owning a very uneditable version of it but Mariabruna Fabrizi et Fosco Lucarelli recently edited it on Socks which now allows me to present it.
It seemed important as this text is just as much important as the other documents for Exodus to make sense.
Exodus, or the voluntary prisoners of architecture
Rem Koolhaas, Madelon Vreisendorp, Elia Zenghelis, and Zoe Zenghelis (1972)
Once, a city was divided in two parts. One part became the Good Half, the other part the Bad Half.
The inhabitants of the Bad Half began to flock to the good part of the divided city, rapidly swelling into an urban exodus.
If this situation had been allowed to continue forever, the population of the Good Half would have doubled, while the Bad Half would have turned into a ghost town.
After all attempts to interrupt this undesirable migration had failed, the authorities of the bad part made desperate and savage use of architecture: they built a wall around the good part of the city, making it completely inaccessible to their subjects.
The Wall was a masterpiece.
It became almost an habit on the Funambulist to publish projects created within the frame of the Unit 15 at Bartlett. This unit is lead by Nic Clear (see his manifesto) and the concerned project here has been created by the video virtuoso Paul Nicholls.
His project, Royal Cabinets introduces a building of the British Royal Mail that stands like a wart on a Canary Wharf (London) office building. Two ideas of labor are therefore existing in parallel. The capitalist driven one that we experience everywhere in the West, and the accomplishment of public service in a building that recounts its essence by its architecture.
The Royal Cabinets are associated with a film -as it is required in the Unit 15- entitled Royal Re-Formation. I don’t know if Paul has ever watched Zabriskie Point by Michelangelo Antonioni in which the explosion of a house in the desert allows the Italian director to film the luxurious products originally contained in this house while they are in the air.
Paul Nicholls, here, accomplishes the opposite by filming the chaotic Post’s elements of construction and labor in the air that eventually creates the structure of the Cabinets. This process could maybe appear too abstract or even useless but I think that, by allowing us to see the ensemble of pieces composing the Cabinets, he very strongly reinforces the subversiveness of the architecture that seems to be built only by cheap industrial peaces found here or there and assembled as a celebration of emancipated labor.
Here are the two texts written by Paul to introduce his project:
Magnus Larsson‘s Thesis project at the Architectural Association is not so new anymore and probably many of you have seen it a while ago on BLDG BLOG or on Wired. However I don’t remember having seen the TED video on any of those sites and I therefore wanted to publish it here.
With this project, Magnus Larsson attempts to respond to the issue of desertification of Africa and the extension of the Sahara desert by introducing a bacteria on its border that dry the sand into stone. Controlled well enough, this bacteria allow to create a troglodyte city that prevent the desert from spreading any further. One can probably regret the “geometry” of this new sand/stone architecture that gives to phenomenological ambitions what it would have been probably more interesting to dedicate to pragmatism; nevertheless, this project remains very interesting and Larsson’s presentation very clear and concise: