Delicate Infrastructures and Mud Slides
Aerial view across Two Tree Island Essex across Leigh-on-Sea (image source: Sandra M Dean)
Edgelands: On World (Earth) Archive
Workshop #1 (NYC)
Workshop #2 (London)
Technology With Will Alsop: Delicate Infrastructures and Mud Slides
Just outside London we journey into the edgelands where reclaimed islands seethes with a network of creeks, whilst the fastest growing seaside resort was devastated by a North Sea flood of 1951. This is a pioneering site for the petrochemical industry, which has an influential assessment of risk to a population living within the vicinity.
We want you to design a new pioneering village, not unlike the gold rush villages in the second creation of America – a frontier village not just for the earth but for technology with a vast network of interconnected sites.
You will design an archive of the earth, on the earth. The unit’s projects will become a second creation village for frontiers of technology through the speculative fall of man. We aim to exhume a village and use it as a space for simulation and as a testing ground for new technologies with the understanding that the human program is interfaced with the ground program. The participants will design complex architectural environments with the poetic simulation of new technologies that are yet to find form.
We will research new wave of energy resources – tar sands, fracking, and sub-salt deep-sea oil deposits are all coming on-stream already, with methane clathrates just up the road. The worlds on a burn, and it can’t go on (but it carries on), even though they really have to stop.
This year our site will be in Essex. We will focus along Southend-on-Sea’s seaside amusement park, Leigh-on-Sea’s everglade and the oil city and suburbia of Canvey Island.
Design Ecologies 2.2: a sentient relic explores strategies and tactics in the deluge of our environmental alterity, through nexuses between ecological, notational, instructional and aesthetical design visions. This issue is a double edged sword theory – one edge through the dominant ‘theory chic’ of contemporary architecture and the other opening the way for a more dangerous conception of design – a guide, a tool for a cryptic cartography of positioning oneself from within the construction of the design itself.
Contributions from: Aidan Tynan, Tim Matts, MArk West, Perry Kulper and Stuart Munro
I wrote an article for this book:
Performative Materials in Architecture and Design addresses the convergence of several significant and fundamental advancements in the ways that materials and environments are designed, evaluated and experienced within architecture and related disciplines. The emergence of experimental and ultra-performing materials, digital design and fabrication techniques, and interactive processing systems has established an interconnected network of technological inputs that has stimulated the development of materials, assemblies, and systems with performative properties. Providing an overview of representative design projects and relevant theories, this volume illuminates both the interaction of these technologies and the role of materiality in research, design, and practice. Emphasizing the value of research as a mode of design inquiry, the work is experimental and provocative of future innovations not yet applied. The breadth of the work suggests a future in which the reductive dichotomies that commonly define the discipline—such as inside and outside, natural and constructed, technical and poetic, even digital and analog—can be matured, redefined, and less distanced.
ENIAtype Masterclass, Unit 7 @ Greenwich School of Architecture, 2013
ENIAtype Masterclass, three-day workshop on River Nile, Cairo intervention, 2013
It was a delight to observe a group of students who indulged their imagination and wit with such responsibility on a piece of the neglected earth’s surface which requires love. —
Professor Will Alsop RA OBE
in correspondence with participants on ENIAtype Masterclass
Resonating Simulations in an Environment
Designing in the environment at the breach of the ice melt when fractures reveal a topos for a contingent architecture.
Advanced technologies invoke latent geometries of ancient entities in the cartographies of a geological environment of The Langdales in Cumbria, England. Splicing disparate geometries reveals a dense spatial framework of cryptic cartographies that we could adopt too design a taxonomy of resonating forms, inhabiting abandoned buildings and vagrant ecologies of temporal time frameworks.
The vagrant ecologies destabilize mobility’s (vectors, bifurcations, manipulative restrictions embedded in movements of speed and acceleration) and generate various forms required for construction of the navigational geoengineering of architecture. Mobility’s going back and forth through the landscape reveal a majestic architecture through the protracted engagement of the vagrant ecologies starting with the spaces of intensity and extensity. Our engagement then moves through magnetism, electricity and finally culminating in electromagnetism and electromagnetism space as a supposedly most counter-intuitive space. Layers of mobility in buildings continually interweave through the to-ing and fro-ing between the occupant as building and the participant as user.
Under certain environmental conditions fragments of the designed resonating forms can unite together forming a collective, unified entity, that displays directed intentionality by slowly moving from place to place to find energy. When those environmental conditions change, the fragments separate and resume their separate existence. The resonating forms are thus a perfect example of an assemblage, where we have something less than a rigid system or structure where all relations are internal.
In the geoengineering of the new foundations of an ancient city across the moors we developed a reference system that resorted to progressive updating of the local spatial cartography available to the individual, by continuous use of indications and landmarks through the resonating forms such as wind, characteristics of the soil.
- in Design Ecologies 2.2, A Sentient Relic, 2013
Volatile Signalling in Fast Response Notations
A demonstration that architecture through drawing, just like bacteria and no less sentient, can engage in high-speed capture and processing of notations in actual space and decide in augmentation for architecture with precision. This is why it is important to illustrate not only why it is necessary to conceptualize through the relation of the design of buildings to the real, but also how entangled real and virtual have become – where the real can be played directly through the virtual as a strange but compelling hinge space. We need a different image of the future of architecture, one that responds to architectures actual history as a practice of twisted plotting driven by cunning ingenuity, and is as such quite different from those suggested by both the corporate visions of architecture or the easily answerable ‘questions’ of so-called ‘design for debate’.
Many designers today are restoring an environmental perspective to usability studies, mining the history of affordances itself for new paradigms that might check the behaviorist and consumerist tendencies of their profession. “Environmental” carries here both its popular sense (“The Environment,” as if there were such a thing), while also referring to the place of an object (such as a joint stool) or a practice (such as theater) in a set of nested and overlapping systems that might include urban, agrarian, monetary, climactic, craft-based, and informational networks. (8)
(8) A journal like Design Ecologies (published by Eniatype, a group of architects based in London) looks at “the complex relationship between human activity and the environment,” examining “the totality or pattern of linkages between drawing and environment” (http://www.eniatype.com/index.php?/about-this-site/). — Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ed. Animal, Mineral, Vegetable: Ethics and Objects. (Oliphaunt Books | Washington, DC, 2012)
Open Lecture at University of Greenwich on Wednesday 30th at 1800