ADS1: Down to Earth
Architecture, in recent years, has come back down to earth. In the logic of culture’s pendulum we’ve swung away from the unbridled expenditures of postmodernism and the digital turn, and towards a pragmatism rooted in humble efficiency and an economy of means. We are slowly correcting course, as it were, to address the many precarities of this present moment – rising inflation, resource scarcity, social and political unrest – all of which unfold beneath the broader and existential threat of environmental collapse. "To be born is to be shipwrecked in nature,” as the historian Irenée Scalbert explains, “and our happiness, our existence even, depends on the wisdom of our ecology." And so it is this studio’s aim to engage with this wisdom. This year we will work from the basis that the architectural and environmental project are one and of the same, and that the disciplinary boundaries drawn between ‘landscape’ and ‘architecture’ ought to be softened, if not dissolved entirely. We will draw from a consortium of experts in the reuse of buildings, their structural and mechanical challenges, as well as the adaptation of the territory surrounding them, learning from hydrologists, building scientists and landscape architects. We will develop new strategies both for transforming existing buildings, and unsealing the urban surface on which they stand. More now than ever we are aware of a symbiosis of architecture and landscape – of building and environment. As we come to grips with architecture’s destructive capacity, so too we become aware of its potential to restore and repair.
Image: Reservoir (Concrete rundown) – Bas Princen, 2005