Intermediate 4 AA Summer School 2016, Unit 2 (tutors: Arantza Ozaeta & Alvaro Martin), Sublime Oasis In-Transit


Arantza Ozaeta Cortázar and Álvaro Martín Fidalgo

A manifestation of either savage growth or shrinkage in one place means a redistribution of densities and pressures somewhere else. In both scenarios, implosions - violent inward reactions - occur when the intense pressure of economic booms or stagnation can no longer be sustained. While data centres see continuous and exponential growth (by 2020 cloud computing will be a $191bn market), the UN forecasts a steady decline in Europe's population over this century. Intermediate 4 tackles the simultaneous waxing and waning of our Shrink Age, researching both the processes of implosion in pan-European contexts and the ways in which we consume territory, city, architecture and resources.

The exploration of an entire reality requires us to open up our operations to experts from a wide variety of disciplines - from agronomists, chemists and botanists to politicians, sociologists and anthropologists. In turn, students will cultivate their own personal fields of expertise, acting as obsessive collectors of precise data. From these multiple and diverse discoveries the unit will generate an encyclopaedic array of extraordinary objects - a cabinet of wonders - with its own intellectual and aesthetic interest. Looking off-map we will track down territories that reveal hidden geographies within our implosive scenarios. This network of unexpected areas of opportunity, otherwise hidden to the untrained eye, is where Intermediate 4 will explore new modes of inhabitation. (Because inhabiting is not only construction but also adaptation; not only building up but also placing; not only enlargement but also recovery.)

Intermediate 4 will slide between the real and the fictional as it defines the identities of these new territories and inhabitants. By understanding architecture as an environmental construction - a hyper-place constituted by dynamic, unfinished and evolutionary situations - students will convert their fantasies into an explosive network of unique scale-less buildings; systematic, flexible and adaptable working frames that together inform the implosive processes of our time.

This body of work will enable us to build a comprehensive overview of different methods within implosive European scenarios and develop a set of tools and collections of opportunities for a generation of architects that must seamlessly respond to a constantly changing global economic environment.

Unit Staff

Arantza Ozaeta Cortázar and Álvaro Martín Fidalgo are founding partners of the Madrid-based office TallerDE2, which develops emerging architectural spaces in consolidated environments that connect local identity with contemporary culture. They studied at TU Delft and the Madrid Polytechnic ETSAM, where Alvaro is currently associate professor and both are PhD candidates. In addition to their work as visiting lecturers and as unit tutors within the AA Visiting School, since 2008 they have been developing a masterplan for shrinking contexts in Germany, which is the recipient of numerous awards.


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