AA HONOURS 2019: CAROLINE ESCLAPEZ, DIPLOMA 14 Excerpt

OCCUPY
A user’s manual for the occupation of public space

AA HONOURS 2019: CAROLINE ESCLAPEZ, DIPLOMA 14

17 June 2019
Architectural Association, London

 

Occupy is a project of maintenance, care and access to knowledge. The project provides a set of tools to re-think our relationship with the city and its resources. Using the public sphere as an arena of deliberation and political participation is a fundamental element of democratic governance and culture. The crisis of representative democracy that we see across Europe today is therefore inherently linked to the crisis of public space. Where all agency is lost – a redefinition of what it means to be public today must be found. 

 

In his composition Sinfonia, Luciano Berrio tests the notion of “sounding together” by leaving the third movement of each composition bare. The musicians are free to improvise, add and interpret the music in their own unique ways. Not unlike Berrio’s piece, the user’s manual simply aims to provide the knowledge and tools needed to occupy public spaces. In essence, the project creates a score, but no melody. 

 

Because of its unique history of power and resistance, Palais Royal in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, provides the idea testing ground for the project, seen as a metaphor for the failure of public space it is here used as a vehicle to rethink the way in which one could re-inject agency at the centre of paris; and allows us to push forward the garden and its need for care as a place where a collective understanding of publicness can be re-imagined. 

 

Occupy is a project that reflects the questions that I ask myself as I enter the world of practice. Questions of agency, limitations and responsibility – wondering about the architectural duty to contribute without pre-defining the outcome. Occupy  is essentially a project that cannot be one, but that allows us to reflect on the role of the architect as a part that can only be measured in relation to its whole.

 

Receiving Honours was a great way to celebrate all the amazing conversations I have had over the past 7 years with all the brilliant people that surround me everyday! These many conversations have shaped this project and the architect that I want to become. A huge thank you to my tutors over the past two years, Carlos, Maria and Pier Vittorio who have been the best support possible! 

 

For more information:

Diploma 14 – Gardening at Night Unit Brief

Honours on AA Conversations