Setting the Stage: Anthropocene and the Infrastructure of Recuperation

Marc Boutin

This studio will explore the design imperatives levelled to contemporary designers in the Age of
Anthropocene, an age where the very scale of human activity is causing irrevocable damage and impact on our world, and in doing so, undermining our very existence. Specifically, the studio will explore how, as we necessarily shift our creative practices towards looking to the future instead of blindly following the past, we can innovatively recalibrate the very infrastructures that have subjugated our natural world towards
recuperating its natural systems.

In our culture of designers of the built environment, infrastructure is understood as the basic physical and organizational structure needed for the operation of a landscape or modulation of a natural process. Multiscalar in nature, infrastructures are deployed at the scale of the site, the region, the nation or beyond, and
because of their state of permanence, become a gauge or datum from which to measure the passage of time, diurnal time or seasonal time. Given infrastructure is a ‘ground zero’ field condition which sets the stage to catalyze events and phenomena, it can be designed, interpreted, calibrated, and tuned towards constructing productive realities and new landscapes.

Our collective task then is to understand the conditions needed to be created through the design and calibration of infrastructure. In this light, students will creatively investigate a series of related themes including infrastructure and its capacity to set the stage for performative phenomena, the phenomena that are the actors on stage, time as a critical facet of design, and scenarios that test design ideas within the conception of time and its passage.

Activating the landscape. Building resilience through water

Miriam García

Living in the “Anthropocene” means that social-ecological systems are particularly exposed to suffer from diverse kinds of risks, originated principally by climate change, population growth, contamination, or food, water and energy scarcity, among others. In this context, this Atelier proposes to give back to the water a leading role in improving the resilience of those systems to contrast the internal and external stresses the Poregion is about to face in the following decades. The ambition is to unveil general adaptation strategies integrated with the local components, materials, technology, agents and processes to improve resilience and activate the landscape.

The Atelier is organized into three main steps: analysis/diagnosis, research/lexicon,
and design/speculation.

09/4-6_ PIN-UP: Diagnosis
Firstly, the team will conduct a profound, multiple and transversal research about the Po-region and will identify the main issues to address in the following decades.
09/7-11_ PIN-UP: Lexicon
Secondly, the team will research by design innovative tools to promote the desired changes in the area and create a collective lexicon for a resilient future. Resilience structures, moving from hard to semi-hard, from fixed to mobile and from
monofunctional to multifunctional structures, expanding the range of its possible benefits and integrating them in the construction of new socio ecological landscapes. Including structures aimed at operating in relation to the communities.
09/12-14_ PIN-UP: Speculation
Thirdly, the team will creatively propose its own hypothesizes (plans and projects) at multiple scales (local, intermediate and regional).
09/15_ work- FINAL exibit

This process will not be linear either in its development or its scale of work, but it will
move back-and-forth continuously while moving forward. During the whole investigation, the team will systematically organize the information and the knowledge produced. The Atelier is expected to develop a group design research that produces three different types of material:

  • A shared diagnosis of the current situation.
  • A collective lexicon for changes (a typological and technological catalogue of strategies, structures and socio-ecological processes that opens the door to the design of resilient landscapes).
  • Individual or small groups’ strategic interventions.

Starting at the end: towards uncertain landscapes

Francisco Gómez Díaz

The world is changing, sea levels are rising, rivers are overflowing, land is burning and forests are

Faced with the challenges of climate change, the architect must be prepared.

It will not be possible to face this reality without having rehearsed it: that is why we propose to start at the end. Instead of envisioning happy futures, our working material will be extreme situations, in which we will imagine the river Po, Piacenza, Caorso and its Nuclear Power Plant as devastated spaces -flooded, in drought or uninhabited.

In these dytopic and, at the same time nearby landscapes, we propose urban-territorial scale
projects that allow life (human, animal or plant) to flourish.

Drawings and sketches, models, visits and many conversations will be the working tools.

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