Architecture Without Content

18. Manual For Survival

This second semester we will continue our investigation in Metropolitan Architecture.
Metropolitan Architecture started as a conscious construction. Over Paris and Tokyo we hoped to develop an alternative of an obsession caressed during the semesters prior: Roman Architecture. Paris provided us with an alibi to hunt for both density and connectivity. Two items deeply connected to mental constructions of the nineteen eighties and early nineties.

The first semester, heavily fed by a set of lectures about Metropolitanism and an intense exchange with alternative scenarios presented by the school of Marne La Vallee and ETH Zurich, brought us many formal tracks but not yet any deep detailed understanding. The projects presented were bold but lacked a bit of detailed luster. They were thought-provoking but lacked the detail necessary for (at least a glimpse) of salvation.

This semester we go on with this research. What we have is not little, but our myopic view encountered its limits. Japan is our constructed way out. Our initial idea, to make this semester some kind of anthology, is properly on the tracks. Still this anthology cannot remain an exotic afterthought of an issue unresolved. In japan we will investigate interiors of carefully selected Metropolitan refuges. The way each of these – over time – dealt with the alienation of the Japanese society (can this be measured?) is at center stage. Metropolitan Architecture, we seem to argue, might very well be the combination of the Japanese delirium projected – en masse – on the European field. Can this set of buildings and a careful analysis of their context save our first proposition? A lot is at stake, but we feel the elements are on the right place. At the end of this we either have resolved our ongoing riddle or need to start all anew again. The stakes are high.

Accepting Metropolitan Architecture 2 tries to define formal strategies through the production of a new anthology, which will investigate the specificity of the individual house in Tokyo, while testing new collective solutions in Paris. We will carefully select – among the production of 6 Japanese architects (Kazuo Shinohara, Kazunari Sakamoto, Itsuko Hasegawa, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, Hiroshi Hara) – up to 20 projects, which will be thoroughly investigated and redrawn, in the belief that these houses could represent different attempts to define an individual survival strategy in the body of the metropolis, after the complete dismissal of the public sphere. After Roman Architecture – and the focus on the Commons – comes Metropolitan Architecture, seemingly the dark side of our contemporary condition.

The very same projects will be used as catalysts in order to rework the Parisian projects of the first semester, the conjunction of small Japanese survival capsules and collective houses in Paris hopefully producing unexpected results.





AWC18 received the generous support of:

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