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AA Summer School 2011

STORIES FROM THE CITY

Ingrid Schroder, Julika Gittner

BACKROOM BAUPROBE* ‘…architecture, attesting to the tastes and attitudes of generations, to public events and private tragedies, to new and old facts, is the fixed stage for human life.’ (Aldo Rossi) The architecture of the city is commonly understood as a backdrop to our lived experience. From news broadcasts to personal tragedies our stories inevitably occur in front of or next to some more or less intentionally chosen architectural scenery. Our Summer School unit will look at designing the city as a stage set that is not incidental but instrumental to the stories that unfold through and around it.

* BAUPROBE

BACKROOM

The 'Bauprobe' is a 'build rehearsal' used in Central European theatre to test a stage design before it goes into production. A full scale mock up is set up on stage using substitute flats, rostra, cloths and furniture in order to find out if its spacing is adequate for the play. This practice is used to save money by avoiding costly adjustments to the finished set but it also marks the moment of the first meeting between the acted and the physical part of a story, both of which are then fine tuned and adjusted to each other.

The moment we step into the back rooms of stories we exit the city stage, the scenery of chimney stacks and bill boards transforms into picture frames and window ledges. And yet the stories that unfold in the backstreets, backrooms and bedrooms are infinitely interlinked with the larger events that are taking place on an urban scale.

07.00 07.15 07.30 07.45

The mother gets up and goes to get breakfast in the KITCHEN The child gets up and goes into the BATHROOM The father gets up and goes into the BATHROOM The father and the child have their breakfast in the KITCHEN … (Georges Perec)

We will construct a series of imagined stories from recorded snippets of London’s hidden narratives and expose these fictions to the city as a means of revealing a set of distilled urban situations. The project will take the form of a number of 1:1 mock-up constructions that will be placed in public spaces in London. The pieces become the portable and temporary settings for the public re-enactment of our narratives in the city. The displacement of these small scale fictions into the wider context of the city will begin to draw out unexpected connections, and shift the reading of these incidental moments of imagined everyday life into instructions for a new thematic infrastructure for London.


AA Summer School 2011

STORIES FROM THE CITY

Ingrid Schroder, Julika Gittner

WEEK1 BODY of EVIDENCE We will start our process in 4 areas across London. Each group of students will find a location and construct a series of imagined narratives of hidden every day life from recorded snippets of found situations. (A bump in the night… behind the wall the sound of muffled voices rising and falling in an uncomfortable rhythm. The man on the second floor comes in late and hoovers his flat even later). Through a series of models and artefacts we will construct a body of evidence that describes our fictive narrative and its actual setting. Our evidence will form a kit of parts for the recreation of this specific atmosphere that distils the physical character of the event/narrative (including sound, smell, touch as well as physical form). The story and its setting will then be transcribed using the ‘evidence’ and the scale model of the setting.

WEEK 2 MATRIX With our events and settings in hand we will construct physical and thematic connections between our scale models to form a new set of axes through London. These will begin to suggest new connections across the city, and find points of similarity and conflict between our constructed narratives and their settings. Key moments from each of the group models will then be amalgamated by another group to form a new communal assemblage of settings. In a one-day event we will collaborate to create a series of alternative hybrids, distilling key moments from the models to discover and catalogue the set of possibilities and contradictions offered by this matrix of narratives.

WEEK 3 RE-SCRIPTING the CITY Each group will build a hybrid setting at full scale. These mock-ups of a narrative situation reflect a series of found spaces in London and will be brought out into the city where they become the site for the public reenactment of our fictional situations. The interaction between the relative intimacy of our fictions with the ‘real’ city will be re-transcribed, or ‘scripted’ for presentation at the AA for the final jury. The play of these objects and the documentation of the shifting narratives that have formed them will form a final body of evidence or encyclopaedia of the everyday.


AA Summer School 2011

STORIES FROM THE CITY

Ingrid Schroder, Julika Gittner

Julika Gittner is an artist and an architect, educated at Goldsmiths College and the AA. Julika is the first year studio master on the BA in Architecture at the University of Cambridge and teaches a theoretical course on the history of London’s architecture at Central Saint Martins. Her design practice includes the commission of an interior design for the auditorium of the Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv (in collaboration with R.Segal and Z.Hecker) as well as the design of a mobile gallery space for a secondary school in East London. Her art works have been shown internationally and use sculpture, performance and video to investigate forms of artistic production and display outside the purpose built gallery space. Her project ‘Economic Units’ was shown as part of the Venice Bienale 2008 and she has recently completed a commission for the exhibition ‘Urban Visions’ at the Zedai Art Museum, Shanghai. She is also the curator of a number of exhibition projects which explore the social role of art and architecture including ‘The Stones of Menace’ (2010) which investigated artists’ as well as architects’ perspectives on New Brutalism and most recently a one day event at the Whitechapel Gallery ‘All that Glitters is NOT Institution’ (2010) that set out to test the institutional context of art and mental health.

Ingrid Schroder is an architect educated at Cambridge University and the LSE. Ingrid is a first year studio tutor at the AA, and at the University of Cambridge where she is a Sir Isaac Newton Design Fellow and also runs a third year studio unit. She also teaches a course on American Urbanism at Cambridge. Her research focuses on the relationship between monumental urban spaces and their lived experience. She is currently working on a thesis that explores how Washington DC was conceived as a physical manifestation of a political ideal. Her design research examines how tall buildings can form a new urban infrastructure and be adapted for reuse despite their scale and hermetic nature. Ingrid has also worked in practice since 2000, running a series of award winning projects with 5th Studio architects.

UNIT 2 - BAUPROBE  

The moment we step into the back rooms of stories we exit the city stage, the scenery of chimney stacks and bill boards transforms into pict...

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