2014 AA Summer School Unit 3 - UNBUILD TO BETTER BUILD

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UNBUILD TO (BETTER) BUILD “The further backward you can look, the further forward you can see.” Sir Winston Churchill Tutors: Ana Marti- Baron Clément Blanchet



BRIEF “Cities also believe they are the work of the mind or of chance, but neither the one nor the other suffices to hold up their walls. You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” Invisible Cities, Part III The skyline of London has morphed constantly over centuries. Once was the war or the fire. Today the expected increase of urban population allows us to still consider London as an eternal evolving city. The studio will contemplate London architecture and history while letting some allowances to unbuild in order to better build. The reasons or criteria’s to erase parts of London should be constructed based on different themes, either could they be subjective and objective. The themes of Italo Calvino’s Invisible cities will be the starting ones to consider preservation: memory, desire, signs, thin cities, trading cities, eyes, names, dead, sky, continuous cities and hidden cities. The outcome will help the process to define new territories to design new fragments of London. This action will be for the next twenty five years. And then the process would start again, as a matter to sustain an overall development strategy. The unit will unbuild London in order to better invent, speculate, design and build new worlds. We will use London as it primary laboratory of ideas and actions. How to plan, think and unbuild a city to better build? How to keep the form and the culture of the city in a continuous evolving city? What is the sense of preservation? How to assume a new world that will be on continuous evolution? What will be the form and the culture of this resulting city? The further backwards you can look Italo Calvino’s Invisible cities will be our entry point. The book, because of its approach to the imaginative potentialities of cities, has been used by architects and artists to visualize how cities are, their secret folds, where the human imaginations is not necessarily limited by the laws of physics or the limitations of modern urban theory. It offers an alternative approach to thinking about cities, how they are formed and how they function. The invisible cities of Italo Calvino will help us to extract an invisible city containing the form and the culture of London to preserve. The further forwards you can see The next step will be revealing new territories for the evolving city. Once these new territories will be defined, new possibilities could emerge. We will invent, speculate and design our own London by inventing new worlds to challenge the status quo. The new urban substance will be promoted to last for a cycle of 50 years in order to sustain progress for urbanism and architecture. AA SUMMER SCHOOL 2014 UNBUILT LONDON


OUT PUT Students will work as a group to achieve consistency across the work. Graphic styles and techniques in all the research and design phases will be carefully set out by the group in order to achieve this. Digital tools will be introduced but the focus will be on working with hand made techniques as big drawings, collages, and model making. The construction of a big scale model of the city of London will be the masterpiece of the unit. This model will be a three-dimensional art attempt to represent a continuous evolving city. It will take the function of a table in order to represent the instable past, present and future of London. This piece will act as manifesto and will be offered to the AA school.

SCHEDULE Students will work individually, in pairs and as a group. The unit will investigate mechanism of participation, action and discussion as major tools to generate spatial and urban processes. The methodology will be a constant critical point of view: a continuous debate and discussion where nothing is granted. Exploration will be part of the process. Discussion and exchange about the work in progress will be an important part of the daily overall structure of the unit. Every week an external visitor will come to the studio and share his or her expertise according to the common issues. We wish to invite Steve Tomlinson (week1), Madelon Vriesendorp (week 2), and a specialist in model making in collaboration with the model shop (week3) WEEK 1 The further backwards you can look

Introductions and Presentations / One day visit of London selected areas / Work on the Invisible Cities texts / Students will read the book over the week / Everyday will start with a group discussion about selected extract of the book / Each student will explore one theme of Italo Calvino’s cities and how it could be translated in London. Document 1: Students will work individually. Every student will produce a big scale plan with its layer information.The unit will produce a common informed map of the Invisible City of London to be preserved.

WEEK 2 The further forwards you can see

Define the territories of the new London / Urban and architectural research / Discuss and explore the form and the culture of these new territories / Design and invent a new world. Document 2: Students will work in groups three or four persons. Each group will produce a big scale plan of their own London to insert in document 1. Each group will also produced a booklet containing all the research and the outcome documents including plans, diagrams, sketches, texts, collages, models, etc

WEEK 3 The manifesto

Define the character and the substance of the model / Define all the techniques and graphic styles / Design the model / Define and organize the work to achieve / Construct the model as a table. Document 3: Students will work as a group. The group will produce a big scale model containing the research and projects of the two last weeks. AA SUMMER SCHOOL 2014 UNBUILT LONDON


BIBLIOGRAPHY Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino The City in the city, Oswald Mathias Ungers Ed: Lars Muller Publishers London Exodus S M L XL , OMA. Ed: The Monacelli Press La Defense Mission Grand Axe S M L XL, OMA. The Monacelli Press Morphologie City Metaphors, O.M. Ungers The city seen as a garden, Peter Cook. Ed: The Monacelli Press

TUTORS Clément Blanchet Clement Blanchet is a French architect actively practicing in the fields of architectural theory, urbanism and cultural investigations. Clement is an associate of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, where he joined in 2004. In 2011, he was appointed Director of OMA / France where he led some important urban studies and projects like the new library of Caen, the urban study for 50 000 new housing in Bordeaux and the new bridge for the city of Bordeaux. In 2014 he create his own studio Clément Blanchet Architects. He studied architecture in the AA school of architecture in London, in the Chulalongkorn Mahawitthayalai Architectural School in Bangkok and in the University of Illinois in Chicago. He graduated with high honors from the Architectural school of Versailles and has been an invited critic in France, England, Holland, Denmark and Sweden. He taught during the AA summer school in 2010. He currently teaches at the University of Copenhagen, prototyping a new studio in urbanism and at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture of Paris. Ana Marti-Baron Ana Marti-Baron is a Spanish architect and landscape architect actively practicing in the fields of landscape, urbanism and public space. She studied in the Ecole Nationale du Paysage de Versailles-Paris ENSP and graduated with honors in Urbanism and Architecture from the ETSAB in Barcelona in 2003. She worked in the Urban Projects Department of the Barcelona City Council before joining the office of MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste in 2003. Since 2004, she has been and is in charge of some major projects of the office at very different scales like the Burgos Masterplan with Herzog & de Meuron, the Masterplan for all the public spaces of the city center of Toulouse and the construction for the redevelopment of a 37 hectares site into a flood resilient district and the 45 hectares park of the right bank in Bordeaux. Ana has been an invited critic at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture of Paris and at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la nature et du paysage de Blois (France). AA SUMMER SCHOOL 2014 UNBUILT LONDON

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