LIVING FACTORIES 2:
THE ARCADIAN CAMPUS
For the second year of research, the studio is interested in rethinking the suburban low-density campus model as an environment for knowledge production. In particular, the studio is focusing on the potential revitalization of the Singapore Science Park (SSP) and its wider context.
Similar to other global examples of low-rise, landscaped campus environments as the ideal setting for research and scholarship, the SSP was one of the first attempts by the Singapore government in creating an environment to stimulate R&D culture. Tapping on the proximity to existing university research facilities and influenced by prevailing global trends in suburban research campus design, the SSP – comprised of various stand-alone research buildings – was sited within the suburban environment of Kent Ridge.
With an increased emphasis on urban
life as an important quality in fostering knowledge exchange within today’s context, newer research campuses are situated in denser and more compact urban environment. However, given the existing isolation of SSP1 and SSP2 and the varied topographical and environmental contexts of Kent Ridge, a similar strategy of land-use intensification to one-north may not be optimal. Instead of injecting urban qualities through density, this studio will focus on developing a series of intensity nodes within the larger context of SSP – a 200 hectare area that borders the boundaries of highways, residential condominiums, a university and a disused theme park. Through the semester, the studio will collectively formulate an urban design framework through strategic individual architectural interventions that will sensitively adapt and transform the arcadian campus.
Living Factories is a design studio focused on rethinking forms of architecture that respond to new working and living paradigms today. The indeterminacy of contemporary work processes and the blurring of boundaries between working and living activities has led to an increased interest in challenging current real estate products of office and residential spaces.
The result is the proliferation of co-working and co-living spaces, which are typically characterized by a flexible framework to accommodate multiple configurations and possibilities. However, implicit within such a spatial arrangement is the necessity for consensus amongst users of these spaces, an outcome that doesn’t naturally arise. Going beyond functional performance and programmatic requirements as a design prerequisite, the studio would like to addresses the larger socio-economic and physical factors that
influence how we coexist together, namely spatial ownership, resource sharing, economy and means of construction, and the relationship between the private and the common. In short, this studio seeks to investigate the possibility of architecture as a framework that organises social relations and conditions the living environment.
The rich taxonomy of industrial spaces in Singapore – ranging from low-rise landed factories to high-density ramp-up complexes – will serve as the background context the studio. Made up of the most basic and abstract architectural elements – repetitive column grids, double height volumes, ramps, large span roofs – we will investigate how these elements condition the way we live, work and interact socially and environmentally. Can a ramp be a collective social space beyond an infrastructure for vehicles? Can the climatic performance of the roof support both housing and production?
LIVING FACTORIES 1:
The Pyongyang Visiting School Program is a platform for exploring emerging urban conditions in one of the least accessible countries in the world: DPR Korea. Through an annual research on a particular city and a specific topic of investigation, this workshop aims to provide a collective understanding of the country beyond its clichéd image as a symbolic socialist state.
For the first year, the workshop focused on the emerging phenomenon of small-scale autonomous projects taking place in the country. Similar to other developing countries, the DPRK has been employing the ‘economic zone’ as a form of development,, a space with exceptional laws, regulations and incentives that allows experimentation with policies and projects that deviate from the norm. However, given the challenges with operating at such a large scale and the recent trend of non-state actors funding smaller scale projects in the
cities, the range of experimentation has expanded, from a single isolated region to urban blocks or even building plots within a city.
In the workshop, students investigated and test the viability of these autonomous projects by developing small-scale architectural interventions for a 3km long brownfield site in Central Pyongyang that could complement the larger-scale masterplans. Through a series of site analysis and discussions with local shop owners and policy makers, five design proposals were produced for the linear development of the site which guided a series of strategic insertions of new programmatic spaces.
Proposals included redefining new typologies of living, working and leisure spaces for the local residents. In addition to the proposals were a series of discussion on the impact of such a development model on the urban landscape, construction processes and lives of local residents.
STATE(S) OF EXCEPTION
AA VISITING SCHOOL PYONGYANG, 2015