Polity and Space – The Coast of EuropeJohn Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog
The project of Europe is wrought by a wide set of formgenerating processes, both material and institutional. The lay of the ground of European cities and territories forms the specific interactions and circulations of the many populations and processes that inhabit them, and is in turn shaped by the economic, political, institutional and cultural procedures that characterise contemporary Europe.
At a time of economic crisis and institutional reorganisation, Diploma 4 investigates how, in the twenty-first century, architecture can interact with multiple forms of expert knowledge to shape inhabited spaces. The dynamic forms of contemporary institutions, societies, organisations and economies interact with the complex forms of the material spaces and processes of our territories to produce a novel mixture of human and artificial spaces. The complex process of construction and modification over time of these territories is itself an architecture, an organisation of the relation between contemporary polities and their spaces of operation.
The European peninsula is explored as a space where processes of change and innovation are layered with retraction, decay and inertia. It is a complex space in transformation, shaped by wide-ranging processes as well as individual initiatives and projects. It is a space where architecture can re-imagine and re-link the spaces, practices and knowledges of a variety of agents, operating both above and beneath the state. Characterised by increasing separations and demarcations in space and between knowledges and practices, the European space is transforming into a new territorial constellation, where cohabitation is marked by introversion, self-referential systems and infrastructures, and compounds.
Combining sharp analytical capacity with contemporary architecture, urbanism, remote sensing and new imaging technologies, the project creates a new image and focus for integrated spatial transformations. It establishes realworld propositions in response to the uncertain processes of change of Europe.
John Palmesino & Ann-Sofi Rönnskog are architects and urbanists. They have established Territorial Agency, an independent organisation that combines architecture, analysis, advocacy and action for integrated spatial transformation of contemporary territories. John is Research Advisor at the Design Department of the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. He is researching for his PhD at the Research Architecture Centre at Goldsmiths, where he also teaches the MA. He has previously been Head of Research at ETH Studio Basel/ Contemporary City Institute and has co-founded Multiplicity, an international urban research network. Ann-Sofi is a PhD research fellow at AHO in Oslo, was previously a researcher at ETH Studio Basel and has studied in Helsinki, Copenhagen and Zurich.