Brighton Tutors and Alumni presenting at Venice Architecture Biennale.

Studio 13 tutor Mark Rist, as part of his London based architecture practice Studio naama, including University of Brighton Architecture alumnus Shaomin Alex He, and co-director Natalie Savva, will be presenting a model proposal at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. The theme of the biennale “How will we live together?” curated by educator and architect  Hashim Sarkis, asks the architectural community at large to suggest possible futures in the context of widening political divides, growing economic inequalities, climate change and, since posing this question, the pandemic.

The model will be exhibited in the Cyprus Pavilion, titled Anachoresis – Upon Inhabiting Distances, where “anachoresis is introduced as an act that takes place on the convergence of urban-public and domestic-private space, where the distance between the two is blurred and inhabited”.

Studio naama’s proposal ‘Emergency re-appropriation + the radical emergence of a new domestic network’ examines the architect’s role in grassroots urbanism, by celebrating the way in which self-initiated acts can be interwoven between small communities, with the potential to empower both the individual and the collective through co-dependency in communal domestic settings.

Be it a city or housing block, the studio’s design process observed and manifested the changing phenomena of habitation at this point in time without a preconceived outcome. ‘Emergency re-appropriation’ deploys a narrative-based computational approach, adding and subtracting from both the physical form of an existing infill housing proposal and the programmatic acts and objects which have emerged in people’s homes this past year. The outcome is the deconstruction and reconfiguration of Studio naama’s design aspirations; a conceptual ‘emergency re-appropriation’, “as we shatter, superimpose and adapt, to manifest new networks, habitations and dependencies”.

The model bears witness to the potential of a grassroots movement to generate symbiotic dwellings in this new epoch. Without the necessity for distance, it challenges practices of urban design to transform, engage in the re-adjustment and enhancement of localised spheres, and importantly, enable the empowerment of domestic communities to build an identity and live creatively.