Studio Brief

ACTIVE EROSION and DISASSEMBLY: Games, Cities and Time-Off

Work developed within the Thesis Studio 5th Year Undergraduate Architecture @ RPI
Fall 2011-Spring 2012
Instructor: Carla Leitao
In the CLOUD Studio, we will look into a possible future in the design of spaces which takes serious advantage of two inter-related characters: ultra-locality and remote connection. For this, will use two main attitudes of tectonic research: advanced material sensitivity and/or connectivity, and distributed form or protocol.
The research this semester engages speculations on how the future of material specifications might start to unfold together with that of institutions. And how this relationship might increasingly create places and contexts, which are related with physical regions but not be bound by them. Simultaneously, we will take particular care of evidencing the new needs for ultra-local sensitivity for any future spatially built structure.

The main program we will work with is that of the Disassembling of the Event, the imaginable active erosion needed to deal with the structures of temporary spaces that impact urban spaces. We will look specifically at the relationship of games – Olympic Games – and densely inhabited/appropriated spaces.

The context of study/research for the Thesis will be defined by each student, including the time/timeline, which will contextualize potentially emerging classes of materials which architects will take advantage of and help structure specifications for. The studio will focus on finding a particular optimum and optimistic relationship between a potential materially-induced-and-derived environmental/ambient/weather behavior and an event which structure involves an assembly and disassembly process.

Overall, the CLOUD studio allows students to take Comprehensive Design to a whole new level, by researching, speculating, modeling, and evidencing the potential of highly sensitive relationships between material tectonics and assemblies, environmental qualities and programmatic conditions.

Assembling and Disassembling Events: Games, Cities and Time-off
The studio engages the temporary and permanent characters of event spaces – different scales of structures which envelope and modulate events properties in space and time. Larger venues such as the Olympics and World Cup (Soccer) are usually conceptualized as a project of revitalization of a particular nation or region. The competitiveness of nations, cities and regions to host one of these larger events intersects ambitions of cultural expression and visibility, and strategic interests regarding the acquisition and mobilization of funds and labor that can be a new trigger for economic growth. Hosting these larger venues, specially in urban areas, often involves projects towards the revitalization of historic areas and transit systems, the construction of new infrastructure, and new axis of development for the existing urban or structuring fabrics and bodies.

The common economic engine claims are appealing for their implied long-term vision of development which includes the creation of new jobs and the discussion and incorporation of short and medium term development goals within the envelope of feasibility based on a specific event deadline. However, the prejudices of the ‘big-circus-comes-to-town’ are now well known: while the anticipation engine is fast in mobilizing resources and exceptions for structures to be ready and open on time, the disaggregated timeline that follows after the event is past, is filled with apprehensions regarding the maintenance of the built overall apparatus.

Some anxieties relate to the social instabilities of sudden unemployment of a not that transient migrant labor force. As well, expectations of tourist revenues not always actualize in the way expected, and there is often a need for an advertisement machine to keep the influx rate of incoming tourism that validate investments.  The lacking intersection between private investment and profit and the national debts incurred to actualize events in time, evidences a hidden timeline that will necessary expose itself in the most fragile global moments.

The new waving historic timeline inserted in regions by large scale events, impacts urban fabrics through the proposed opportunity for transformation and reconfiguring of other timelines, giving them new directions and scalar difference through which texture and rhythms can newly be sown. On the other hand, that timeline often needs a re-appropriation project designed to cope with missed expectations and actualizations of the first.
The studio inquires upon the invention of alternative strategies that engage the construction of distributed events across nations and regions, that can emancipate the desire and actualization of the spectacle with problems of temporarility, maintenance, conversion, development and region transformation or reinvention.  It develops reflections over systems of assembly and disassembly of different possible scales of space and time, for structures that constitute the spatial typologies which envelop the multiple events around broader defined venues.

Within this framework, the studio also presents the opportunity to rethink the figure of the ruin in past and contemporary architecture culture, to inquire upon habitual projections of disaster, and of lifelessness, onto structures that are simultaneously human made and programmed but also conquered by so-called natural forces.  The studio will look into examples of venues and their projects, comparing their circumstances and the ways in which they relate to projective strategies and positive and negative outcomes in different time scales.  As well, the students will work with analyzing particular spatial typological structures dedicated to the hosting of these events and the projective envelope surrounding their design, deployment and conversion.  Students projects will inquire and develop new concepts of typologies or operators for the ‘assembling’ and ‘disassembling’ of these events including structures, materials, buildings, environments, phasing.