Latin Provecateurs: The Latin American Cultural Centre.
Tutors: Pedro Gil, Claire Osborne and Kevin Widger.
Studio 55 explores a design development primarily through the making / crafting of physical models that lead into the crafting of drawings and spaces. In this Studio, the act of making sophisticated models and drawings is the premise and method that we use to test ideas, explore solutions, and communicate our designs.
We are interested in the tactilities of architecture, tectonics, and physicalities of buildings and space. Students in Studio 55 are encouraged to engage in the physical act of model-making as a primary design tool. We see the model as not just a ‘final presentation’ device, but rather as a highly coveted way of working and thinking that can lead to complex propositions and architectures.
Models are the departure point for Studio 55.
Research = testing, making, drawing: Studio 55 encourages students to engage in the acts of designing through making and thinking. Design through physical models and design thinking through drawings. All design ideas, hypothesis, and outcomes will be developed through the iterative process of making, thinking, testing, and drawing.
Latin America consists of 19 different countries that share borders, history, arts, culture, language, and ethnicity. This is the region of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Frida Khalo, Shakira, Hector Lavoe, Diego Maradona, Alicia Alonso, and many other global cultural icons. Architecturally it boasts the heritage of Luis Barragan (Mexico), Rogelio Salmona (Colombia), Lina Bo Bardi (Brazil), Oscar Neimeyer (Brazil), Eladio Dieste (Uruguay), and countless others. The ‘Latino/a/x’ territories commence to the north with Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Puerto Rico (Central America), and move into (South America) Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and finally down towards a southern tip into Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, et al. The region is incredibly diverse boasting varying climatic environments, topography, fauna, cultural tendencies, and people.
The Cultural Icon / The Latin American Cultural Centre:
Term 1 (Project 01), Oct – Dec
-Select a person, character, figure from Latin American culture. You will be designing for this chosen person as a ‘client’.
Project 01 requires you to choose a person as ‘client’. This person must have a public aspect to their life and have positively influenced Latin American culture, for example, an author, entertainer, musician, movie star, soap opera star, artist, etc. The person you choose needs to be someone that you find interesting and someone that can provide you with an interesting story.
Craft and produce a ‘Person/Client Bible’ document – an anthology:
We will ask you to collate information on your client from a wide variety of sources and re-present these as ‘Person/Client Bible’.
This will be a book / dossier / catalogue presented in an interesting way that covers as many aspects of your chosen person’s life – both private and public aspects. We will encourage you to look at formats for presenting multi-page information in an engaging way – through graphics, layout, size, paper, material, etc. Think beyond the conventional formats for presenting documents. Consider this as the crafting of a very beautiful book.
This will be the first step in establishing an understanding of your chosen Person / Client and will inform the next stage of design.
Craft and produce a small [pavilion size] spatial proposition for your chosen Latin American cultural Person/Client:
Through drawings and/or models, you will be required to design a spatial proposition for your client: The spatial proposition will be site-less and can be internal or external.
The models and drawings you make are required to show the highest standard of craftsmanship and communicate best the characteristics of its occupant. Test models, test variations, and experiments will be essential to develop your spatial proposal. The use of large scale physical models is encouraged to develop your ideas and inventions.
You are encouraged to rely on your intuition to make these drawings and models.
Employ a variety of techniques to design innovative and inventive solutions.
Be creative. Experiment with a variety of making techniques – card, timber, plywood, MDF,
plaster cast, concrete, found objects, etc.
You will use your skill as a designer to arrive at a sophisticated spatial proposition.
-Craft and produce a ‘Cultural Centre’ document – an anthology:
What is a ‘Cultural Centre’? Or Rather, what might a ‘Cultural Centre’ be? We will ask you to research examples of ‘Cultural Centre’ typologies from around the world: are these places for consuming culture? Archiving culture? Creating culture? We will ask you to take a position on what a Cultural Centre IS and COULD BE.
We will ask you to collate your research and information from a variety of sources.
This will be a book / dossier / catalogue presented in an interesting way that re-presents your discoveries and findings. We will encourage you to look at formats for presenting multi-page information in an engaging way – through graphics, layout, size, paper, material, etc. Think beyond the conventional formats for presenting documents. Consider this as the crafting of a very beautiful book.
Project 1 will be about Making and designing through Making.
Project 1 will be about informing/establishing design processes and/or building use or a loose function/narrative for Project 2.
The Latin American Cultural Centre, London:
Term 2 + Term 3 (Project 02), Jan – May
Craft and produce a ‘Latin American Cultural Centre’ a new typology of building:
The research, findings, inventions, and proposals from Project 01 will be carried forward onto Project 02 where we will ask you to design and develop a proposal of a Latin American Cultural Centre in London. The site will be one of the Greater London Authority (GLA) Opportunity Areas. The Opportunity Areas are districts in London that the GLA have highlighted as having potential for regeneration and development.
We will commence Project 02 with a site visit to the chosen GLA Opportunity Area where you will produce research and material that demonstrates your understanding of the site – through drawings, diagrams, and physical models.
Concurrently, you will design and develop a large scale building proposal for a Latin American Cultural centre – developing and expanding on your research, findings, inventions, proposals, and outcomes from Project 01.
We will ask you to challenge conventions and paradigms on what a ‘Cultural Centre’ could be. We will encourage inventive and unorthodox strategies and solutions.
You will be encouraged to use models and drawings to explore analysis, various design options, and generations of design solutions. Process models are made showing an understanding of the merit of variations to arrive at a robust proposal. Models and drawings of different scale and mediums are encouraged.