Page 1

APRÈS CITY AA Summer School 2012

“Cities are not machines, built once and for all, but remarkable organisms. Like a coral reef, the city is always becoming a product, but that is because, first of all, it is a process.” - Roy Porter, London: A Social History

To live in LONDON is a question of pace. Here today, gone tomorrow, the city is constantly changing to the point where if you listen closely you might almost hear the thrum of its vibrant rhythm. With London’s quick step, we city dwellers have the fortune of the unexpected surprise, that serendipity of a new pop-up cafe, cinema or bar just around the corner. This year, we have the OLYMPICS - a strange architectural creature whose silhouette has appeared on the eastern horizon, seemingly out of nowhere, like one of the pop-up books many of us played with as children. Pop Up by Liddy Scheffknecht and Armin B. Wagner

The pop-up book is an appropriate device in describing the ever-changing nature of London, but there is also something in many children’s toys that lends itself to spatially innovative discussions about architecture. The pop-up book, nesting dolls, Jacob’s ladder; there is a TRANSFORMATIVE quality in these devices which not only speaks to the imaginary worlds we create as children, but also to how we can form and inhabit space into a variety of constellations over time. In our POP-UP CITY, we will use a handful of carefully selected children’s TOYS to explore questions of scale, inversion, movement, aggregation, and insertion at the scale of the object and then reinterpret them to create our own MINI-METROPOLIS within London. These objects will be deconstructed and reconfigured to understand their inner workings and their potential to be translated into architecture. Building proposals will first develop in isolation before being inserted into the city and designed in the context of other projects within the unit to form a collective proposal for the Olympic legacy site. In this exploration, we will tackle not only the sudden insertion of a new mini-city NESTED within a city as in the Olympic Village, but also grapple with what kind of legacy we leave behind once we’ve made our mark. Let the GAMES begin. 1

The Case of the Elusive Room, Manijeh Verghese 2012

POP-UP CITY Shaelena Morley & Manijeh Verghese

WEEK 1:UNMAKE/ REMAKE Students will work in pairs to research, deconstruct and reconstruct a toy to understand its spatial potential and envision how it could be inhabited and manipulated at the building scale. Students will make presentations to the rest of the group to record their findings at the end of the week using the original toy, small sketch models, images and drawings. There will be a trip to the Toy Museum and a seminar with a former Toy-maker.

After understanding the potential of their toy, students will now choose a site within the Olympic footprint to locate their intervention. Programming their buildings accordingly, they will look at how the object is inserted within the urban fabric of London and what routes, landscaping and infrastructure will be necessitated by locating their pop-up proposals here. A trip to the Building Centre to locate our scale proposals

Macroscopic Olympiad, Giles Price 2012


within their model of London and a visit to the Olympic site.

AA Summer School Interim Jury, Manijeh Verghese 2011

There will also be a discussion with photographer Giles Price MID-REVIEW: INSERT/ CONSTRUCT For the mid-review, students will present their initial toy research and study models along with their speculations on how they are appropriated and transformed into a miniature city. We will explore the city through models, drawings, thoughtful image making and collage. The mid-review will include initial research, study models, site elevations and plans

In the final week, students will work in collaboration to bring together their models, collages and drawings to construct a combined site proposal. This hybrid drawing will connect each speculative project to the context it sits within and to one other. We will discuss the construction, lifespan and deconstruction of these proposals and envision ways to capture this through our unit meta-drawing. We will have a drawing/ collage workshop with Dip 11 graduate Yuma Yamamoto. 2

A Cabinet of Curious Living, Shaelena Morley 2012


APRÈS CITY AA Summer School 2012

Each of the toys we have chosen can be manipulated to change their spatial configuration. In doing so, there is a sensory change in how we interact/ experience them. TOYS: FLIP BOOK Animating objects by moving paper was the most primitive form of the animated movies we see today. Creating space through a series of flat images, the book as an object is situated somewhere in between. As a pop-up, it has the potential to be chameleon-like through how it can change its appearance sequentially over time. JACOB’S LADDER A deceivingly simple device, the Jacob’s Ladder plays with stacking and alternating front and back ‘sidedness’ which allows multiple spatial configurations through a seemingly planar system. By flipping one element, the entire set of planes transforms through a domino effect, one which could be carefully controlled to create a thickened boundary that negotiates between spaces on site. MAGIC CUBE Through a series of simple manipulations this cubic object can tell multiple stories through inversion and reconfiguration. With eight smaller cubes brought together to make the larger cube, the faces of each tell a small part of multiple stories which create the larger whole. It has the potential to invert volumes creating interesting shifts between public and private or interior and exterior spaces. POP UP BOOK The ability of making a 3-dimensional form magically appear from planes of paper simply by turning the page is the joy of reading a pop-up book. The detailed mechanisms of paper engineering that make this possible have the potential to work at a much larger scale to create space, reconfigure it or even cause it to disappear altogether! RUSSIAN DOLLS The nesting of a smaller object within a larger object raises questions of how the same form needs to be abstracted as it decreases in scale but also how the fundamental design of the object can work at every scale. As a pop-up it could be installed at varying scales throughout the site, harnessing its formal similarities yet potential programmatic differences.


POP-UP CITY Shaelena Morley & Manijeh Verghese

Inverting Schwitters’ Merzbau through Merzcube, part of Shaelena’s 5th year project Shaelena Morley AADipl 2012; BSc 2008 After studying in Boston and London for the past 9 years, Shaelena is very excited about recently becoming a graduate! Her most recent academic work was an investigation of cultural site generated through collection and how it shapes context. It was during this investigation that she discovered her love of children’s toys and the spatial potential they have. In addition to her studies she has contributed to student publications at the AA. She has also taught architecture in Oxford as part of the Oxbridge Academic Summer Programmes. Shaelena is interested in pop up architecture because of its ability to transform a neighbourhood with maximum impact using minimal gestures and its potential portability in the city.

Unfolding the route through Studio 54, part of Manijeh’s 5th year project Manijeh Verghese AADipl(Hons) 2012; BA 2007 Manijeh recently graduated from the AA and has a degree in Architecture and Mathematics from Wellesley College. She has worked for large and small practices in London and Boston, with two years experience at Foster + Partners. She spent the last two years exploring the idea of context through books of various formats. Her final project was a detective case file challenging the scalar notions of the room and the city. She is a writer for various architectural publications including Icon and is the website editor of Disegno Magazine. She also edits the AA’s triannual newsletter, AArchitecture. Manijeh likes the idea of combining the permanence of architecture with the transient nature of the pop-up book to unfold new urban scenarios that we can inhabit. 4


programme brief for Unit 4 in the AA Summer School 2012


programme brief for Unit 4 in the AA Summer School 2012