·     Area of study: Architecture and hybrid public spaces
·     Beginning and ending date: 1st semester 29/10 – 18/1, 2nd semester: 21/1 – 23/4
·     Number of students: Approximately 35
·     Schedule: M: 09:00 – 16.00 & T: 09:00-12:00
·     Credits: 15 ECT credits per semester
·     Teaching team: Ana Betancour, Carl-Johan Vesterlund, Joaquim Tarraso, Mateusz Pozar
·     Transdisciplinary Partners: Gothenburg City Museum, Committe of Cultural Affairs; Gothenburg City, Gothenburg Maritime Museum

·     Cluster: Colombia – Spain – Sweden

The U+A/DL [Urban+Architecture/Design Laboratory] studio will explore the notion of urban commons – spaces and resources that are “held in common”, spaces that are defined by their usage, by those who need and use the spaces, rather than their by their formal ownership.  The commons have traditionally been defined in terms of forests, water, the atmosphere, fisheries or grazing land – resources that are shared, used and enjoyed by “all” or a collective. Today, the commons is also understood as cultural resources – information, literature, music, arts, design, film, radio, software and sites of heritage. For centuries there have been struggles over what is to be defined and practiced as “commons” and what is to become private or public property. Currently such struggles can be seen over natural and digital resources but also over urban spaces manifested in movements around community gardens, sharing of land, alternative forms of ownership and co-creation of spaces.  We will explore what the notion of the commons can mean for the understanding and reshaping of urban space. The studio consists of a theoretical module, where we explore urban theory in a broad sense and specifically theories around urban commons, and a design module where we will develop strategic propositions for a series of prototypical public spaces, exploring the notion of the commons as the point of departure for the re-definition of urban space – as an instrument of change in society.

Objectives of the local design studio
The point of departure in the U+A/DL studio is an understanding of architecture and the city as a dynamic system and the design process as a field of research. The aim is to develop alternative strategies, and ways to operate and catalyse change within global transformations affecting cities today. The field of study is the impact of globalisation on architecture and urbanities. The studio aims to identify issues, and areas of future potential for urban and architectural projects, developing strategies for specific sites and conditions. Focusing on new forms of infrastructure and tectonic strategies, the scale of interventions will range from large-scale to detailed propositions.

We will explore the notion of commons in urban space and considering public space and public buildings as a space of social interaction, aiming to create other possibilities, readings, strategies and uses, subverting and changing a process of gentrification that erases and homogenises the local identity of these areas. Investigating field conditions and how we can intervene in the public – as catalysts, observers, and designers. The design propositions will develop a project for prototypical public spaces and buildings: hybrids of infrastructure, multipurpose spaces and networks.

ADU aims to be tested
Interdisciplinary working dynamics (mixing different professional disciplines): testing the ability to integrate the visions, working methods of different disciplines in the parallel design studios and its related production of knowledge. eg. how does the incorporation of a sociologist affect the outcomes of a design studio? Please define what is the difference between trans/cross/inter-disciplinary. Is trans-disciplinarity a work method to tackle complexity, while interdisciplinarity is merely appropriate for simplicity? Please elaborate.

1.   What is the relation of this studio to creative thinking? How is this stimulated in the design studio? How does it affect the working dynamics and outcomes? What is the relation to experimentation and innovation? How do you deal with critical thinking as a mean to generating new ideas? Creative learning environment: different ways of producing and discussing knowledge: is there a relationship between the used working methods and the outcomes? Can we stimulate creativity by applying variations in the way we evaluate the different proposals? Which part of the studio refers to “artifact oriented” studio and which parts to “research oriented studio”, the first referring to produce knowledge, the last to question the already obtained knowledge? What method do you use in order to promote innovation and creativity? How much focus is put on research in order to investigate the design situation and on the problem solving in order to design the artifact?

2.   Learning environment and working methods. The level of involvement in academic, professional or pragmatic environments, in a simultaneous and parallel way: are the PPP/WS requirements based on top-down learning models or do they occur on an emergent basis? Which learning activities are part of traditional master-apprentice relationships, which ones are based on a non-hierarchic way of producing knowledge? Which are advantages and disadvantages in each case?

3.   Relation with recent phenomena in ADU: how is this PPP/WS activity connected to recent phenomena in ADU? How does the link with “hot topics” affect the outcomes and abilities of students? (Eg. fencing, programming public space, new keywords and concepts)

4.   The social and cultural relevance of the contents and outcomes: is the creative process based on social and cultural references, provided by site choice, program, theme? Does the international dimension of the participants and its inherent socio-cultural understanding of reality affect the project’s outcomes?

5.    What is the understanding and how is dealt with “materiality” in the studio: from the process (making physical models, impact of site visits,…) till the proposal (scale 1:1, prototypes, simulations, hand on studio…) (Eg. are the projects considering their materials before or after their processes?)

Methodology and relation with partners
The year programme is built up through a sequence of connected modules, workshops, seminars and lectures evolving around a theme. It involves regular design based studio work and theory lectures that structure theoretical and practical basis of the course. Modes of working are tested and developed through unconventional experimentation and within the milieu of the studio conceived as a laboratory. We work in smaller groups for the general research, strategies and programming, and case study examples.

The relation with the other partners of the network opens up for comparative studies and critical discussions from a diversity of cultural perspectives, giving the possibility for an exchange of experiences around a common theme. Exploring and understanding the role of urban space and community buildings in contemporary cities, both in Europe and Latin America, enables for a wider scope and complexity in the projects through the variety of methodologies and contribution.

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