Studio 66 Brief: Urban Field Lab.

Studio 66, also titled UFL (Urban Field Lab) reflects its architectural process on acute and profound on-going societal, cultural, environmental and economic transformations for which alternative spatial responses are sought. Overriding issues, such as, demographic change, diversification, changing work-live patterns, housing unaffordability, privatization, intensification of mobility patterns, migration, urban injustice, displacement, scarcity, environmental decline, changing industries, the scaling down of public infrastructures and funds, put pressures on our urban and rural environments that challenge conventional conceptions of urban planning and space-making and redefine our roles and frameworks as architects. These overriding transformations do not only happen on a global, national, regional or local scale, but they also impact on the everyday realm of citizens. Architecture is implicated in these changes and it is our duty to engage and situate our own spatial practice within this complexity. The ambition of the studio is not to ‘solve’ these extremely complex issues, which can only be tackled through cross-disciplinary engagements, but to make critical and creative contributions. In order to tackle the relationship between overriding, systemic issues and how these play out ‘on the ground’, we will employ a multi-scalar approach, often simultaneously working in starkly contrasting scales from macro to micro. The urban condition does not only reside in theoretically clear abstractions or remote scales, but also finds expression in the often much more inconsistent and vague everyday habits and tactics of its citizens and their inhabited space. The name Urban Field Lab describes our ambition to extend our working methods to ethnographic methodologies. By going ‘into the field’ we will be able to study the actual, inhabited spatial realm and engage with space as lived space. We intend to intervene in an imaginative and active manner, using unorthodox scenarios, picking up leftovers, making alliances, grafting typologies, crisscrossing territories, using hidden resources and twisting and squeezing opportunities out of the current condition. Our approach will be radical and rigorous but at the same time humble. We aim to create dignified spaces and places, which nonetheless provide powerful opportunities. The term heterodoxy, meaning the deviation from accepted or orthodox standards or beliefs, will guide us in testing alternative scenarios leading to urban and architectural interventions that are perhaps more uncertain and less rigid; spaces that we hope will invite diverse forms of appropriations.

The studio framework for this year is entitled:

Catalysts for the future city.

Our joint focus area will be Catford/Deptford in South-East London.

Term 1 is mainly characterized by a sequence of quick but intense workshops that act as our test bed. In term 2 and 3 we will drive these opportunities into refined, active spatial interventions.

Tutors: Anuschka Kutz (studio lead), Katy Beinart.

Anuschka Kutz is also Visiting Professor in the International Master program at Sint-Luca School of Architecture, campus Brussels and Ghent, KU Leuven, Belgium, where students explore similar issues in a more independent manner. The studio program and affiliated international lecture series can be found here:

https://internationalmasterofarchitecture.be/2018-19-int-ma-master-dissertation-presentations-june-5-6/

https://internationalmasterofarchitecture.be/video-salon-conversation-saskia-sassen/