Latent Territories: Productive FieldsTheo Sarantoglou and Lalis Dora Swejd
Diploma 17 continues to investigate new forms of the contemporary city and its ramifications within complex and exacerbated territories at the fringe of large metropolises. This year we will focus our attention on Africa, a region of extensive economic growth now undergoing unprecedented territorial transformations. The continent still suffers from unresolved postcolonial conflicts, the creation of slums, unequal distribution of resources and vast ungoverned regions. On the other hand, Africa’s extensive natural resources, agrarian developments and large investments on infrastructure offer possibilities to develop new speculative briefs. Within these rapidly changing conditions, students will identify a prospect of progress within prototypical settlements within the context of productive territories, whether agrarian or industrial, and develop their thesis through speculative proposals of radicalised urban concepts for the near future.
Our research will explore the possibilities and benefits of a dynamic and symbiotic synergy between architecture and infrastructure. Through programmatic coupling, we will experiment with new organisational and growth patterns as a means of producing vibrant public occupancy. We will set out to explore the geometrical integration of multiple design objectives such as programmatic definition, environmental performance and spatial criteria in order to produce economically viable synergies, new modes of civic appropriation and enhanced experiential urban conditions.
During Term 1 the thesis will be developed through an elaborate study of socio-political utopias from the 50s and 60s architectural avant-garde producing concurrently with a series of tectonic, physical and digital model explorations. We will be organising digital design and fabrication workshops supported by consultant specialists and will take short trips to fabricators from the aerospace, automotive and naval industries.
The unit aim is to deepen our understanding of the architectural project as an integral contribution to a broader socio-political framework.
Dora Swejd & Theo Sarantoglou Lalis are the founders of LASSA (lassa-architects.com), an international architecture studio with offices in London and Brussels. Dora and Theo have lectured internationally, led workshops and taught undergraduate studios at LTU in Sweden and at the AA. Theo has taught postgraduate studios at Columbia and Harvard.