Studio 10 Brief: Maintenance Architecture

‘Architecture relies upon a never-ending regime of labour called maintenance. The purpose of maintenance is to restore newness to architecture by offsetting the effects of climate, environment, and time — it is an ongoing and continuous act.’*

Our theme for 2016-17 is maintenance. We are defining this as both to sustain and perpetuate but also as a creative and radical practice. The projects this year will explore the role of inhabitation beyond the moment of completion, the life of a building in use. We will look at the role of care and question the role of the ‘user’ in a design brief as implicit social commentary – as often users who carry out acts of maintenance and ongoing labour are hidden in the design process. We are interested in what a potential aesthetics of maintenance could look like through exploring different readings of everyday spaces, and how the repeated actions of individuals and communities create patterns of use and occupation. Through highlighting and performing everyday tasks, we want to celebrate the mundane/ domestic/everyday/repetitive, and make these visible. Exposing the mundane is a radical action, as by making something mundane it obscures its critical importance and diffuses its political potential.

We will investigate:

· Levels of access – who is able to change / influence space – who carries out the labour;

· How buildings react to change / wear / age: unplanned and scheduled maintenance;

· Notions of tradition and heritage read against building as a live element;

· Whether occupation of a building can be radical, can it change the building ? Can a building react ? respond ?

· Temporalities of architecture; architecture built to decay or allow change to take place.
Taking a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach we will start by using temporal drawing and making and develop these creatively through models and physical 1:1 interventions and performances. These will focus on inhabitation as haptic and sensory, as well as seeking to understand and develop narratives of use and change, through working directly with those carrying out maintenance actions. We will also understand maintenance and repair itself as a design process and consider how this informs our approach to design.

*Hilary Sample, Towers, maintenance, and the desire for effortless permanence in Sustain and develop, eds. Joshua Bolchover and Jonathan Solomon. (New York : 306090 : Distributed by Princeton Architectural Press, 2009