27 September 2013
Architectural Association, London
The experience of teaching Unit 5 at this year’s summer school can be divided into three categories:
A surprise: The five radically different approaches proposed by the five units facing the same agenda (Waterworld). This capacity for suggestion and speculation of the five briefs was even overcome by their developments and production; which revealed varied formats -collage, video, models, drawings, prototypes, points of view, opinions and critiques.
A challenge: Teaching at the AA motivated all the teachers involved to do our best. The AA is an ecosystem of intense experimentation, with elements of risk, audacity and intense debate. Since the first day when each unit presented their agenda until the delivery of the certificates, we could feel the energy of the students and tutors who both have a huge interest in architecture and who both wanted to make the most of this intensive workshop of 3 weeks – short enough to stay within the experimental phase, and long enough to develop outstanding work. This course was like a powerful machine, well-greased, thanks to all the services and organisation behind it, and placed in the middle of one of the most amazing European cities!
A discovery and an unexpected appropriation: The (aquatic) city of London. Our unit focused our approach exclusively on aquatic sites (the river, lakes, docks, etc.) and, in the end, we all built a different idea of the city, far away from its fast rhythm-traffic jams-density-overpopulation-consumption-etc. London became a place of sunken treasures, fluvial seasonal activities, flows, liquid and ephemeral spaces, floating communities, etc. And with this, we shaped a singular and productive scenario for speculation as a ongoing framework for the course.
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Arantza Ozaeta Cortázar and Álvaro Martín Fidalgo are both architects who studied at the Madrid Polytechnic ETSAM and at the TU Delft of The Netherlands. They founded TallerDE2, a Madrid based office for architecture, urban planning and landscape design, in 2007. They have won several prizes and competitions including the Europan-09 in Selb, Germany.