Urban AssembliesJeroen van Armeijde and Brendon Carlin
‘In most cases the architect is an unnecessary and cumbersome (and even detrimental) middleman between individual, constantly changing needs and the continuous incorporation of these needs into the built environment.’ – Nicholas Negroponte, 1975
Intermediate Unit 6 will continue to explore of research-based design and construction methods for architectural structures that capture and catalyse the complex nature of urban ecologies. This year we will use a different organisation of research topics, addressing the final project ambitions from week one. Studying precedents such as MIT’s Architecture Machine Group, we will investigate how construction can be part of an ongoing, user-driven design process. Our focus will shift from formation to assembly, concentrating on the growth of buildings as an unavoidable outcome of the social, economic and material flows within cities. This emphasises the architect’s role as process-director instead of form-maker, addressing the contingencies and ambiguities of real-world briefs.
In the first term students will work in small teams to design and test models of machine-driven construction scenarios programmed through architectural rules. The experiments will be conducted at Hooke Park and TU Delft’s Robotic Lab in Rotterdam, with the final installations being built around the AA. Although these will be conceived as 1:1 structures informed by their real context, they will also act as testing scenarios of possible operations at an urban scale. Term 2 will move onto individual project work applying and expanding our ideas onto sites in Beijing, an epicentre of a transitioning global economy and laboratory for urban transformation. The design projects will focus on hybrid buildings that house a diverse population within limited space. Speculating on how architecture can evolve through the negotiation between the interests of individuals and the collective, we will investigate ways to encode quality of life into an ever-changing built environment.
Jeroen van Ameijde received a Master’s degree in Architecture and Building Technology from the Delft University of Technology and has practised in The Netherlands, New York, Hong Kong and London. He has taught in design studios at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Innsbruck and the AA graduate programme and has lectured and taught workshops worldwide. He is currently directing the MakeLab AA Visiting School and practising as co-director of Urban Systems, a London-based architecture practice.
Brendon Carlin completed his Master’s in Architecture and Urbanism at the AA and has worked for several offices in London, Beijing and Amsterdam. He has also taught with or coordinated courses and workshops at the University of Colorado, the AA, the Berlage Institute and Harvard. Currently he is practising as an associate of Relational Urbanism, and as co-director of Urban Systems, a London-based architecture practice.