Bartlett School of Architecture
Unit 15 will continue to explore innovative fabrication techniques, dynamic digital prototypes and material intelligence. Students will develop a broad range of digital and analogue making skills informed by adaptive environmental and natural systems. We will interpret the notion of transformative physical, material, spatial, atmospheric and sensorium states. Our experiments will drift between analogue and digital, the hand and the computer thus creating a state of hybrid entanglement.
Design Tutors: Kristina Schinegger, Stefan Rutzinger, Aleksandrina Rizova
This year Unit 15 will travel to Rio de Janeiro, a spectacular eleven million metropolis in a stunning natural setting. Rio is an amalgam coined by cultural and economical extremes, such as the polarity of prevalent Catholicism and the intense physicalness of Samba and the Carnival, the separation between extremely wealthy and impoverished groups, the antipode of dense urbanization and the tropical beauty of Rio’s National Park, to name a few. Rio is a fascinating mixture of cultures and ethnicities. It appears as a fragmented Archipelago with segregated city parts on both sides of the spectrum - indigent favelas on one hand and fortified buildings for the rich on the other side.
At first glance Rio’s extremes tend to provoke shock and fascination. What turns Rio into a sensational and optimistic metropolis is its energetic public life and space, most tangible along its accessible beaches populated by a large mix of different social groups. This optimism can also be observed in current and past building booms - the dynamics that transformed Rio into a modern metropolis can still be seen in its abundance of stunning modernistic masterpieces. Modernistic architecture aimed at harmonizing antipodes (such as human and nature habitats, city and landscape, building and infrastructure) but composed them as autonomous elements.
Postmodernity favoured overlapping of styles and the collage, thereby celebrating complexity and contradiction. At the turn of the century digital architecture became interested in hybridization and seamlessness. Rio will become our testing ground to develop contemporary strategies towards dealing with contradiction and fissures within the city. The notion of entanglement will become our instrument to observe and analyse public space and the performative aspects of its related typologies. We will explore extreme conditions, natural and artificial landscapes and fringes of social interface in order to propose new multi-programmatic buildings and spaces. Students will be encouraged to look beyond the present conditions and propose architecture that through transformation develops resilience to or rather embraces the status quo.
The year will commence with a short project in order to define an individual spatial interpretation of the year’s topic. A series of digital workshops (Rhino, Grasshopper, Maya, etc.) and physical making/ digital fabrication seminars will take place in the beginning of the first semester to ensure students are equipped with vital skills needed to test their ideas. In addition, we will also organise visits by previous students on portfolio presentation and various architecture practitioners and specialists from other disciplines to discuss relevant projects and innovative building strategies. After the field trip students will choose individual sites and develop a building project in Rio. Year 4 students will integrate the Design Realisation Project into their overall design development.
soma is an Austrian practice founded in 2007 by unit-15 tutors Stefan Rutzinger and Kristina Schinegger. soma understands architecture as an ongoing inquiry and a field of experimentation. The team’s activities range from the development of contemporary digital design strategies to the implementation of advanced geometries and academic research. For soma, architecture is defined as “thinking in concepts” that deploy their potential in spatial, physical and sensuous experiences.
The team has been awarded many prizes in international competitions. Its work has won international recognition and has been featured in publications and exhibitions, such as the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010 and Archilab 2013.
In addition to the Theme Pavilion for the Expo 2012 Yeosu in South-Korea, completed projects include the extension for the Building Academy in Salzburg, Austria (completed in June 2012) and a temporary music pavilion for the Salzburg Biennale (completed in March 2011). soma has offices in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria.
Aleksandrina is ARB registered and RIBA chartered architect. She was awarded the Komfort Award for best use of Interior space at the RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards in 2008. She completed a Graduate Diploma/ Masters course in Architecture with Distinction at the Bartlett School of Architecture. There she received the Ambrose Poynter Prize for Distinguished work in the Diploma Thesis. Her work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art Summer Show (2012) and at several exhibitions in London and abroad.
Aleks worked at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners on several high profile projects including the British Museum Extension and The Leadenhall Building between 2008 - 2013.
Aleks established ALEKSA studio in 2014. She is also running an Postgraduate studio at Leicester School of Architecture, De Montfort and also teaching MArch Architecture unit at the Bartlett, London.