Monday, May 11, 2009

Unit 20 study models out for display

Friday, September 26, 2008


We are meeting in UNIT 20 - room 220 at 5pm - MON 29th SEPT

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Unit 20 Brief, 2008-09

Convoluted Flesh

The convoluted (i.e. overlapped, intertwined and blurred) nature of contemporary architectural design, as we understand it, goes beyond the functions of opulence and intricacy, of technique and simulation, of module and optimisation. It invokes something ranking above notions of beauty, style, and elegance - it evokes the sublime, the blissful and the mysterious.

Simultaneously, our understanding of Flesh in architecture stands in opposition to the common, yet reductive metaphor of skin as a flat and thin membrane. In a time when a lot of the mainstream architectural discourse is essentially surface-bound - risking flattening and disembodying the architectural ‘skin’ ever more, the aim of Convoluted flesh, on the contrary, is to stress the urgency of a Thick Embodied Flesh.

Our endeavour is then to establish a debate in which experimentation, technology and progress does neither exclude the intuitive and poetic freedom of designers as truly creative thinkers, nor the inherent relationship between the user and the depth of the architectural flesh. Hence, we consider a poetic, as well as ‘corpological’ approach that complement a typological, topological and ecological understanding of architecture. At the same time, we pursue an approach that develops from inside out, involving experiential qualities, inhabitation and use.

The research developed in Unit 20 spirals away from the apparently unquestioned and rather predictable version of what we observe as the contemporary emergence of a new ‘digital modernism’: the unspecified ‘whitewash’ of 3D surfaces, the universal Sachlichkeit (objectiveness) of parametric design techniques, and the mechanistic concept of the computer as a purely generative utensil. In turn, Unit 20 has formed a particular interest in the individual’s eccentric, yet informed understanding of architecture. By looking into technological advances within a wide range sciences and art, manufacturing technologies and interdisciplinary work methodologies, students are encouraged to develop a two-year individual research. Their work proposes a synthetic model of architecture that convolutes the ecological with the poetic, the visionary with the historic, as well as the ornamental with the tectonic.

Sublime ecologies, or ecologies of the sublime?

This year’s theme evolves around atmospheric interpretations of the sublime and environmental preoccupations of natural and urban ecologies. The field trip will crucially inform each individual project on both contextual and aesthetic levels. We aim to experience the sublime in and around the European Alps and discover a series of unique buildings and ecologies. These include BMW Welt (Coop Himmelb(l)au), Olympia Stadium (Frei Otto and Behnisch & Partner), Allianz Arena (Herzog & de Meuron), Schloss Neuschwanstein (Christian Jank for Ludwig II), Vitra Design Museum (Frank Gehry) and Firestation (Zaha Hadid), Landesgartenschau (Zaha Hadid), Goetheanum (Rudolf Steiner), Ronchamp chapel (Le Corbusier), La-Chaux de Fonds (early house of Le Corbusier), Firminy chapel (Le Corbusier), La Tourette (Le Corbusier), Matterhorn and Mont Blanc (mountains in the Swiss Alps), SS. Sindone (Francesco Borromini), Immacolata Concezione (Guarino Guarini), Teatro Regio (Carlo Mollino), old Fiat factory / Lingotto (Mattè Trucco / Renzo Piano), Palazzo del Lavoro (Pier Luigi Nervi), and Portovenere / Liguria...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alright!!! U20 now has its own blog that you are currently looking at. Use this blog frequently and feel free to share anything that you find relevant with your fellow students on this wall as long as it is fairly legal, i.e. refrain from nude pictures and try to be discrete regarding software and licensing. Big brother is watching.
I hope this info wall will make communication in the unit easier and that we can find a system so we can use it as a tutorial and pin up list.
I would like to welcome all the new 4th years and recommend that you use this wall as an opportunity to ask any questions you might have- do not hestitate to ask the 5th years, we are here to help!
I will send out an email with the info you need to log on to this blog.

See you all very soon