Diploma 9

P2P: Panning to Pantopia

Antoine Valexaire and Stefan Laxness

Among the many (r)evolutions witnessed by society, there is one that stands out as fundamental: the birth and rise of the paradigmatic twenty-firstcentury individual: the Panneur. Very much like its nineteenth- and twentiethcentury predecessors (the flâneur and the voyeur), the Panneur embraces the totality of progress that makes up its world, optimistically believing that creative newness can only emerge from an entirely re-programmed individual. Born on the Internet, the Panneur is a native of contemporary network culture and therefore its default setting non-exhaustively includes collective intelligence, radical open-endedness, extreme diffusivity and constant "world-sourcing".

As always when a new individual appears, s/he needs a ground on which to stand. For the Panneur, that ground is nothing other than the long-awaited update of our infamous Utopia: Pantopia. If Utopia (no-place) was a faraway land that couldn't be reached, Pantopia (all-place) is the familiar ground we frenetically consume every day. Relentlessly panning over every piece of land and every byte of information, we will create the keys to an innovative future by embracing all of Pantopia's incredible volume, velocity and variety. We will build projects on three distinct yet inseparable scales: the Land of Pantopia itself, the Individual that navigates through it, and the Machines through which we pan. Simultaneously working at all three scales, we will design hybrid portfolios and architectures that oscillate between truly sustainable built environments, dense information fields and political provocations.

Embracing the unrelenting onslaught of Pantopia, the unit will work as a multi-lingual incubator where many Pantopian ambassadors will challenge us to constantly re-think how we create, resist and leak Architectural Pantopias. In a world where we have seen it all, touched it all and are about to consume it all, the Panneur acts as the translator of the twenty-first century's beauties and absurdities.

Unit Staff

Antoine Valexaire graduated from the AA with Honours in 2013. He has worked for several offices in London, Brussels, Zurich,Tokyo and Mexico City. In 2016 he co-founded TOI T, a Creative Consultancy studio based in Barcelona and Brussels.

Stefan Laxness is an AA graduate, architect, researcher and Project Coordinator at Forensic Architecture. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale and the recent Antarctic Pavilion in Venice. He has worked in architectural practices in Paris and London and has researched the changing landscapes of China and Central Asia's borders.


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