e/merging encounters. people - culture - place

An invitation, a summons or a challenge; how do you encounter your fellow citizens? Who are the people you pass by on the street, stare at on the bus, stand behind at the café, chat with on forums? Do they matter to you as you follow your current trajectory? Might they matter in the future? Where did they form their experiences? How can we engage them, gain an understanding our collective approaches and diverse backgrounds, skills and talents? Why in this world of unprecedented connectivity do we feel so isolated? Studio 4 works with an open-ended approach, we engage with urban fragments and groups, examine their societal importance, question how they could be repurposed and propose new ways to participate in the spaces we inhabit.

Certain moments in the process focus on emerging qualities such as gathering information, identifying topics, engaging with contexts, etc… These will then be synthesized or merged to question existing ways of living and to propose new alternatives that provoke encounters. We invite you to join us on a journey of multiple encounters and destinations.

Context of Investigation 
Richard Sennett states that ‘The public realm can be simply defined as a place where strangers meet’ and this will frame the contextual approach of Studio 4 in relation to physical and social contexts. We will explore places with the understanding that the place is more than a mere physical location or a series of coordinates. Places as cultural artefacts store memories that can help us reveal their spatial and temporal rhythms, their material and textural variations and their sociocultural dynamics. Similarly, the notion of the stranger, the outsider, allows us to explore hierarchies of encounters, layers of inhabitation and how we might create new synergies with existing situations.  
In Fall we will focus on Urban situations by examining fragments of districts in the continuously evolving Berlin and reinterpreting these to produce new encounters around selected sites in Berlin.  
Studio Agenda and Methodology  
Studio 4 will explore a sequence of methods in each semester starting from concrete case studies, progressing to contextual mappings and concluding with spatial resolution. In the Fall semester we begin with Emerging Understandings where students examine, analyse and interpret both the built elements and the ephemeral activities of chosen case studies. Next in Encountering Situations we will visit Berlin to observe, interact with and record activities in the urban realm. In Merging Situations we will implement our findings from the previous stages and explore design strategies to accommodate new contextual encounters.  
This sequence will be modified in the Spring semester where we will begin by studying Emerging Approaches in architectural practices, progress to Encountering Contexts both physical and social, and end with Merging Encounters where students will develop architectural responses that focus on combining and enhancing architectural arenas of engagement.  

Teaching team: Richard Conway (studio responsible), Sangram Shirke, + invited guests 

Latest update: 2023-08-30