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ISLAND LIFE ⎮ consistency

29/09/2009 | adip office

maps of the US

The studio will investigate variations on the theme of ‘island’ and ‘archipelago’ organizations – mono-use spaces and their subsequent agglomeration – in architecture and their generative potential in urban design.
While recent research in design has generated a set of theoretical inquiries into the dissolution of borders and boundaries (substantiated by desire for interconnectivity, indeterminacy, and multiplicity); this trajectory is being countered by the opposite phenomenon of privatized, single-use programs (i.e. gated communities, special economic zones, tax havens). The studio will embrace these organizational models as opportunities to promote another form of connectivity through the precise demarcation of borders.

Given Berlin’s seven-hundred year history as a repository of island organizations in varying degrees of effectiveness, the studio will selectively mine the architectural history of speculative endeavors such as O.M. Ungers’ research at the TU in the sixties on urban archipelagos, Rem Koolhaas’ Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture, or John Hejduk’s Berlin Masque as points of departure. Parallel to such disciplinary analysis, the studio will simultaneously examine island organizations from selected sub-disciplinary angles (geology, sociopolitical structure, art) and from divergent disciplinary scales (urbanism, single-room buildings).
With this initial research, the studio will be treated as a laboratory for the production of various incarnations of island organizations and will deploy and test our findings within the context of designing an architectural scaled project in the Mediaspree area of Berlin.

In seeking to explore the relationship between island organizations and metropolitan forces, a contemporary arts program – ranging from the concentrated model of art museum to the dispersed model of campus – will be used as a model which encapsulates a condition where an ‘urban island’ effect could extend and proliferate to a larger horizontal field of the city, challenging the general assumption that contemporary art spaces are neutral containers relegated to the background and exploring the potential of this art and event oriented programmatic configuration to trigger new forms of surrounding development.

Along with the research, field trips, and comprehensive readings which will accompany the studio work as well as visiting experts from various fields; the studio attempts to forge new understandings on the notion of Urban Islands as a city model – not as surrogate for Stadtbrachen or reconstruction for the existing urban fabric of the old city center; but as attractors that generate new urban fabric.

(Image: Kim Dingle, United Shapes of America (Maps Drawn by Las Vegas teenagers), 1991)

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