04 November 2015
Architectural Association, London
Marco Vanucci, tutor of the new Intermediate Unit 7, answers a few of our questions to discover more about the brief and the uint’s aims for the year ahead.
What are the main ambitions of your brief this year?
Intermediate Unit 7 aims to produce adaptable and performative systems for the contemporary workplace through the development of organisational systems and material prototypes.
We aim at redefining the relationship between the contemporary workplace (being a factory, an office, a co-working space, a data centre, a urban farm, a start-up incubator, a fabrication lab, etc), the workforce, and the performative envelope.
The unit understands architecture as a problem of organisation. Programmatic and material systems will be developed as means to study the relationship between technological, architectural, and engineering performances. We aim at studying the organisational, performative, and transformative qualities of matter and its effect onto the social, technological, and environmental milieu.
Intermediate Unit 7’s research is focused on the notion of performance: optimal use of materials, minimizing waste, energy, and impact on the environment, passive methods of environmental control, technological and social integration. We will develop multi-functional and multi-performative systems, which, in turn, will address the adaptability of structures in time either through reconfiguration, expansion, reduction, division, transportation, active or passive actuation, and through spontaneous or prescriptive appropriation.
In what ways does the unit hope to tackle these challenges?
The unit operates along the notion of applied research, embedding science and technology within architecture. Introducing the notion of applied research opens up the field to an active form of enquiry, which, in turn, can also be considered a (new) form of architectural practice. Applied research deals with solving practical problems and generally employs empirical methodologies. The real world is the site of application of such methodology. Applied research requires an inquisitive engagement with the materiality of architecture. The objective is to reconnect architecture with the environment through a rigorous investigation of matter and its organisation.
We will focus on the development of a design methodology that systematically includes geometric, material, structural, environmental, and performative aspects.
The unit will develop computational protocols and material experiments that help to analytically tackle the objectives of the set brief. In particular, we will develop prototypes as a mean to established a tangible relationship between material organisation and performances.