NO. 1 INTRODUCTION
UMAN ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE
hy should Umeå School of Architecture have its own magazine? Within the four walls of our school there is a constant defining and redefining of architecture going on. UMA claims to be not solely a school, but also a laboratory of architecture. About a year ago, three of us students thought that these discussions should reach outside of the studios of our school. So we decided to make a magazine: as an opportunity for the students of UMA to collaborate across classes, and as a way to open up the school to the world outside by writing about our work. Luckily, we did not know by then how much work and time it would take to make it happen. But now, we are glad and proud to present the first issue of UMAN, a magazine about architecture, made and run by students. The theme of this issue is “Introduction”, where we introduce Umeå School of Architecture and its vision. When it comes to the school’s vision, Peter Kjaer has been important as a visionary leader and as one of the key founders of UMA. Unfortunately and unexpectedly, Kjaer was let go two weeks before UMAN was to be printed. We try to cover this story from the perspective of the students. On page 6 you can read an interview with Peter and the story of how this school came to be, followed by an article about the vision of the school, UMA’s own manifesto. But of course we are not only focusing on ourselves; on page 18 we reach as far as India in an article about the third-years project in Dharavi. We sincerely hope you will enjoy this very first issue of UMAN, and be sure there are many more to come! Oscar Björkqvist and the editorial staff of UMAN
Logo design and cover illustration, Erik Mårtensson
16 THE IMPORTANCE OF A VISION
4 3 VOICES ABOUT UMA 6 THE UMA STORY
18 GREETINGS FROM DHARAVI 20 DHARAVI, BACK AND FURTHER ON
10 A VERY ABRUBT END 22 THE SEE SAW 12 FIGURES AND NUMBERS 24 ARKIPELAGO 13 A NO LONGER UNDISPUTABLE PROMISE
26 EDITORIAL STAFF
14 UMA’S PHILOSOPHY
CONTACT UMAN Magazine Umeå School of Architecture Östra Strandgatan 28 C 90730 Umeå SWEDEN UMAN ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE
PUBLISHING POLICY UMAN Architecture Magazine poses to be objective. Any opinions expressed in articles stand for the writers or persons interviewed. We aim in most cases to have an open agenda and let the creative freedom of our contributors be important. We are a school paper, entirely non-profit and made on free time. What our contributors find interesting is of great importance to us. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on email@example.com and we will sort it out.
Paper quality: Munken Print White 15 Printed at: Original i Umeå AB Umeå, 2013 1000 copies
VOICES ABOUT UMA
We contacted three persons about their impressions of UMA. This was shortly after the events described on page 10, on which they were informed.
“My first impression of UMA was the tremendous creative atmosphere at Tullkammaren sometime during spring 2010. One could really feel the students being pioneers! Now in the beautiful building at the Arts Campus you have to further develop the concept. The five year long architecture programme is very well structured and relevant both from an academic and practical perspective. The combination of science and art is an important part of the vision of the school. The next step is to develop the architectural research into a science of its own.” Örjan Wikforss Temporary headmaster at UMA Architect SAR/MSA, PhD and professor at KTH Vice President of the Swedish Association of Architects
“When my former colleague Roemer van Toorn invited me to conduct a three-day theory workshop with a group of Masters students and a public lecture at the Architecture School at Umeå last spring I didn’t quite know what to expect, except a lot of cold. The experience however, was everything but cold. I encountered a very warm and kind group of individuals and a friendly, welcoming staff. The students... the dream of any lecturer: focused, interested, smart, attentive, articulate, intelligent, fun. I had one of the best experiences I have had in over a decade of teaching. I felt inspired and grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and receive valuable feedback. The workshop was a success and I enjoyed lecturing for the UMA audience so much that I put away my lecture notes and extended my talk for a whole extra hour. Needless to say, I walked out with an extremely high opinion of so much the student body as that of the organizing body behind the curriculum. When I compare the Architecture School at Umeå with those institutions where I have taught in the past and present I cannot help but feel a bit envious. Your school emanates the kind the promise held by emerging programs designed and devised by driven and experienced academics. This is a unique program with two excellent assets: internationally oriented, highly qualified and knowledgeable directive staff and an incredibly capable student body; all of this, of course, without mentioning the amazing building and facilities at your disposal. I returned to Umeå in December for an intense day of lecturing. And even if it was very cold outside, the moment I walked in the building I felt home again. I congratulate you for an outstanding school and wish you all the recognition and prosperity you deserve. I am very much looking forward to visiting you again.” Dr. ir. Heidi Sohn Assistant Professor of Architectural Theory Section Faculty of Architecture TU-Delft
â€?First your information regarding Professor Kjaer was a surprise and without knowing more I must admit a bit jarring since I have great respect for him and his commitment to students, faculty and architectural education. I have contact with many educators from around the world and among them I have come to have high regard for his insistence on a high standard for the education community. I must also share with you that I have found him to be very forward thinking at a time that is essential. The architecture profession world-wide is reconfiguring in such a fashion so as to give new definition to new forms of services and new continually evolving roles for those with an architectural education. This reconfiguration is demanding of all of us, academicians and practitioners alike, a willingness to think anew. I have always found that spirit to be vitally alive within Peter.
own educational path. This must be accomplished even as professional standards and outcomes are met. Again, I have found Peter to be exceptionally adept at understanding this. He always conveyed to me his commitment to and concern for students as a first priority. You have asked me to comment on the students and the program at UMA UmeĂĽ School of Architecture. First, I wish to refer you to the report of a visiting team to UMA that I participated in as a member last spring. Part of the reason for my delay in responding to you is that I cannot locate my copy. I know I have it but.... I am sure you can get a copy from the School office. I found the students we met with mature and willing. There seemed to me to be a vital interest in the study of architecture and the willingness to address the most pressing issues of society through the lens of architecture. The spirit among the students seemed quite high. The closing event of the academic year I attended was great fun and I enjoyed what seemed to me a good spirit between faculty and students. As I reviewed student work I was able to discern considerable improvement in student progress from the early to the latter stages of study. I was very impressed by a public exhibition of work that demonstrated beautifully the commitment of the school to public engagement. And, the inclusion of start-up business in the center of the School is a remarkable idea. The balancing of studio activity with workshop opportunities is an example of curricular innovation that I believe has great promise. The open atmosphere of the school facilitates it as a breeding ground for ideas. It is the study of architecture in an open public atmosphere that I believe will foster increasing creativity.
However, for administrators of academic programs, I have now been in such roles for 34 years and I served as national president of both the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, this is a time of considerable stress. The individual serving in an administrative role has the difficult responsibility to direct faculty in a manner that promotes new way and attitudes emphasizing the reconfiguring nature of our professions while also insisting on rigorous research and scholarship that is engaged with the needs of the profession and society. The administrator must convey to those who frequently have little true experience in the profession that traditional methods of classroom instruction are simply inadequate to meet the needs of either this time of little help in the redefinition of the design professions. Conflict frequently is born of the desire to maintain an effete intellectual position of limited relevance to the challenges of our time but historically predominant.
Perhaps more to the point of your question is my opinion that you are remarkably far along a trajectory of excellence, much farther than I expected from a relatively new school. It is clear to me that this program has benefitted greatly from the experienced hand of a mature leader.â€? Marvin J. Malecha Dean of the College of Design North Carolina State University FAIA, DPACSA
The individual today who wishes to lead an academic endeavor must have an empathy for students in a manner that is significantly different from even a generation ago. Students come to the academy having been nurtured in an interactive environment of simulation and rapid response where the new disciplines are evolving toward experience design. An education at the advanced levels is no longer the simple conveyance of information. It is an interactive experience of value judgments and iteration of ideas in an environment deeply affected by social media. The academic leader must therefore begin his or her responsibilities with an ancient but intensely human approach. The student is no longer just a figure moving through a required sequential list of courses and projects. Today curricular patterns must be configured so that each individual has the opportunity, in an interactive fashion, to develop their
Greetings from Dharavi UMEÅ SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
NOV. 29 - DEC. 7 2012 | AN EXHIBITION BY STUDENTS IN 5TH SEMESTER
A thousand impressions seen with 40 pairs of eyes.
Photo: LISA NORDSTRÖM SÄFSTEN // TOVE WENNBERG // NINA LARSSON // JOSEPHINA WILSON // ANNA LAGERCRANTZ // SOFIE SAMUELSSON // JESSICA LARSSON // JULIA GROTH // FARIBA BEZAGHIAN // PIA LARSSON // PAULINA JAEN NILSSON // LOVE BROSTEDT // JONNA EKHOLM Note: Names in the rightmost letter are fictitious.
Dharavi, back and furth Text: Tove Wennberg
In the fall of 2012 myself and five fellow students, found ourselves on a crowded train from Goa to Mumbai. We had an Indian family sitting on our feet and several people lying under our seats. Our plan had been to take a plane; but plans change. Ideas change and so do people. I guess that our month in Dharavi, one of the biggest slums in India changed us all more or less.
Experiencing Dharavi During the first week in Mumbai we had some lectures at different NGOs and went to other slum areas in the city. On our first visit to Dharavi we were accompanied by an organisation called Reality Tours. They run tours where they want to provide a positive but honest image of the slum. It felt good being in their company, the guides knew the people there and 80 % of their profits go to their sister NGO Reality Gives, which works to improve the quality of life in the communities there. The tour started in the production sector of Dharavi where they recycle a huge amount of Mumbai’s garbage. The production chain consists of many small steps. From the rag pickers, picking out garbage on the dump, who sell it on to people who sort it by colour and type of plastics. After that it gets washed, dried and made into pellets and sold to companies all around the world. The activity was intense. Repeatedly we found ourselves in the way of someone. Men carrying huge bundles on their heads or small carriages loaded with goods. After an hour of dark alleys, walking through small and dense factories, and watching our steps not to walk in the open sewage, we finally got to climb up on a roof. Up there we found a landscape of rooftops, and rising above it, both minarets and a few high-rises. From this location it was hard to imagine the hundreds of alleys and small paths between the houses that we had just walked through.
Introduction - Background As part of the preparation we were divided into groups of four and placed in classes of eight-year-olds, here in Umeå. We were going to find different ways to communicate and to gather information. During our visits we were the centre of attention at all times but half the time the kids had an expression as if we were speaking in a foreign language. It was indeed a good way to simulate what was to come: a trip to a crowded India where both the cultural differences and the language barrier made it hard to communicate. We had been told not to prepare a topic of investigation before we went to Dharavi, but to come as blank sheets of paper. The only thing we knew was to expect the unexpected. We were 40 students from Umeå School of Architecture that arrived in Dharavi together with three tutors. The main intention of the trip was for us to work in a different culture and to locate the spatial and social qualities in this culture. Note that I write that we were looking for qualities – without trying to romanticise the life or diminish the problems that exist. Dharavi is a slum nevertheless, without proper sanitation, infrastructure and water. Parts of Dharavi are extremely dense and the people there live with the overhanging threat of being evicted and relocated.
The only thing we knew was to expect the unexpected.
In Dharavi we were looking for patterns in their way of living. Something that proved almost impossible in many ways, not least due to the Indian tradition of festivals. No day seemed to be like the next. One day at our site in Kumbhar Wada – the Potters’ village, the air was thick with smoke from the ovens where they fired the pots. The next day no one was working due to a festival. During our three weeks in Dharavi we experienced three different festivals and when we left they were preparing for the next.
Dharavi is an old slum, around 100 years old, with a top-location, right in the middle of the mega-city Mumbai with good access to a well-functioning transportation network. When the first settlers of Dharavi came to the city from Gujarat, they settled in the south of today’s Mumbai. After that they were relocated to where Dharavi is today. The area was a swamp with only a fisherman-community. But Mumbai kept on growing leaving Dharavi in one of the best locations in the area. The land is extremely valuable and since 1997 several Redevelopment plans have been made for Dharavi. The latest is currently put on hold.
The biggest festival when we were there was the Navratri festival. The festival is held during nine nights and ten days. Every night of the festival they play the drums and
her on dance the Garba. Before going dancing, a couple of us got invited for Puja. In a small apartment a group of people, young and old, were clapping and chanting. Two women were dancing in a trance in the middle of the group and at one point they sprayed a yellow liquid on the women. The liquid had a strong smell of ammonium, which led us to believe that it was urine.
chai square. Where the chai-shop would have stood we served chai for the people viewing the exhibition. It con sisted of one photograph from each student, and one from each of our tutors. We had all picked out one experience that we wanted to share. The name of the exhibition was Greetings from Dharavi and all of our images were also available in post-card format to take home. The post-cards had a short personal message complementing the photograph on the backside.
The vast spectrum of Dharavian communities are made up of people from all over India. They are of varied religious and cultural backgrounds, and they celebrate these in different manners. These differences become even more tangible, in an area like Dharavi, as they share a very limited space.
A good example of a flexible use of space, probably the best I have ever seen, was the Muslims’ Friday prayer. In just a couple of minutes half of the main road in Dharavi was closed. Traffic was redirected and the street, together with several cross-streets, got filled up with kneeling Muslim men. They prayed in unison while Hindu policemen made sure there was no disturbance and that the traffic ran smoothly. Once finished everything was back to normal in just a couple of minutes. This procedure is performed every week. For us it might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Ideas change and so do people. I guess that our month in Dharavi, one of the biggest slums in India changed us all more or less.
Next to come The next step in our work with Dharavi is our bachelor project. This will be based on our common knowledge gathered there. Last semester we focused on mapping and finding areas of interest to have as a stabile ground for developing and designing a project. Sitting here in a cold, white Umeå it is hard to imagine the buzz, colours and hundreds of people you had around you all the time.
Greetings from Dharavi Once back in Umeå we decided to gather our impressions and make a photographic exhibition out of it. A thousand impressions seen with 40 pairs of eyes: a frightening situation for one was thrilling for the next; music for one, noise for another. Still, we all shared one thing: we had all had countless cups of chai every day. Chai is a sweet tea brewed with milk and a variety of spices such as clove and cardamom. The locals drink it several times a day, in their homes or in special chai-shops, and often families invited you for a cup. This was not necessarily a social activity, in a Western sense. At times, you were the only one drinking while the others watched. Other times they gave you the chai and then left. Speaking for myself, this sort of hospitality seems very foreign when coming from Sweden. Being invited to someone’s home, even though you are a complete stranger, is not something you expect, but at least it left me with a feeling of warmth inside. Having the chai-experience in common, some of the students came up with the idea of marking out, in scale 1:1, one of the sites where we had been working, called the
Looking back at the trip, I realise how difficult it is to know what role to take: coming as an architecture student from another country, arriving in an area with a climate of instability. The hard thing is to define what you can contribute with. Many architects have come to Dharavi with a solution, a way for the people there to live their lives. So many of these plans have failed. To me, the people I met did not seem like people who needed help. They were hardworking, proud, and hopeful. I believe that there are ways we can help them, but there is just as much for us to learn from them. To start with, I could leave my apartment and knock on the doors to my neighbours and introduce myself. After all, I have lived here for two years now. l
Tania Rönnbäck Haitto
Paulina Jaén Nilsson
CONTRIBUTORS Proof reading, Jayson Young Logo design and cover illustration, Erik Mårtensson
Eye illustration on page 22, Ali Reza Dossal
Comic strip, Johanna Andersson
Do you want to buy this magazine? Go to uman-mag.com
IN COLLABORATION WITH:
TM Konsult Teknik & Arkitektur
THANKS TO: Rebecca Gordan together with the editorial staff at Arkitekten Anita Blomqvist Johansson, Midgรฅrdsskolan The editorial staff at 4ARK Paul Hansen, DN Markus Grรถnlund at Original