Tutor: Lars Fisher
Academic year 2020-21, semester 2, Ghent
Engagement: Mediating Tactics
The Big Hole refers to specific landscapes of excavation, addressing both the actual void left in the earth’s crust as well as the loss of meaning in the term sustainability.
Currently, a sustainable architecture is primarily realized and legitimized by developments of new technologies, smart materials, and renewable energies, increased thermal insulation and advanced heating systems, academic research and scientific testing, sophisticated labels and prestigious awards, etc. But what today may seem promising, might eventually lead to further problems. Sustainability is a complex concept, that due to different interests at play, and particular modes of communication, carries multiple, often conflictual meanings, which ultimately dissolve into meaninglessness.
How we talk about and communicate sustainability sets up specific expectations of how we deal with it. This studio will establish and discuss an aesthetics of sustainability as a means to communicates a concept of what the contemporary relation of architecture and environment actually is or could potentially be.
Departing from a study of the material histories of cement/concrete, a critique of the sustainable architectural project will be developed through means of observation, documentation, analysis and ultimately representation. The studio takes the landscape of the limestone quarries in Belgium as its site to develop a critical design position that addresses the aesthetics of sustainability.
The studio work engages with the full meaning of a sustainable aesthetics. It concerns the interplay of various design tasks, including those relating to building materials and construction, going beyond the primarily visual, and connecting with the domain of sensual experiences and bodily practices, as well as the social and the societal.
Image: Lara Almarcegui: Béton, CAIRN Centre d’Art Digne-les-Bains, 2019 (photo François Xavier Emery)