ELEMENTAL INTERACTIVITY V - PERIPATETIC ENVIRONMENT
Design Project in Construction Material Technology - BArch, WS 2015/16
Michelle Howard, Luciano Parodi
New Schools of Thought often emerge from very old schools of thought, this studio begins with the Peripatetic, founded in Athens around 335BC by Aristotle. It derives from the Greek word for the colonnades of the Lyceum, and also refers to the act of walking. Aristotle liked to walk about as he thought and taught, so that his pupils, literally, had to follow him.
One of the greatest changes in spatial thinking occurred in the 18th Century with the emergence of the knowledge worker and the dominance of the sitting position. So much so that the most advanced (and fetishised) piece of furniture today is arguably the office chair. Working environments which require of us to remain within a reduced spatial terrain in a sitting position are efficient solely at the level of square meterage. We posit that real creative efficiency derives from the polar opposite, dynamic interaction with an abundance of spaces.
The tragedy of the open-plan ist that it began as a liberation from the stuﬃness of the small closed room and ended in the even smaller, even stuﬃer, even denser cubicle, spatial freedom hijacked by Taylorist “efficiency”. We propose that the only real efficiency lies in abundance, of space and spatial qualities, which in turn provoke abundance of movement.
Our Studio Experiment began in a room of 72m² floor area and 8m in height, a little too small in floor area but with an abundance of volume. A base from which to kick-start the annexation of further spaces. The students developed a series of devices which interacted with and gradually formed networks throughout the Academy Building, itself perceived as a construction from which to hang and build. The ensemble of annexations and their interactions constituted the ﬁnal project, and so, each move forward to a new architectural device connected to and interacted with, those previously devised. Just as when we walk, every step was important.