PLURIPOTENT ARCHITECT(URE)S

2009
Building for Bouwkunde Architectural Competition

 

Finalist, selected for the NAI exhibition

Faculty for Pluripotent Architect(ure)s
 
The dynamics of the world we live in constantly change, faster then ever, and in this ever-changing world we as architects constantly redefine ourselves, our profession, our education, our relationship with the society.  On the other hand, the architectural education system and the spaces where  this education is given are mostly predetermined.  The faculties are designed according to a linear learning system, in which you are supposedly given a set of options to choose from i.e. selecting an elective, or selecting your studio professors, but in the end the outcome is determined, a general sameness is the result. 
The spaces where this education happens, are mostly empty boxes, which are supposedly flexible, but where the set of events are actually pre-programmed. 
We believe in pluripotency, the ability to have more then one potential outcome. An open learning environment which promotes differentness, which allows detournements, more in contact with the actual people we build for, with the actual problems we face with. Pluripotency must be implemented on multiple levels, not only into the physical environment of education but also into the education system. 
 
Content as icon
The new Bouwkunde’s  design articulates change and its speed. Office spaces, laboratories, conference halls, etc.. are slow changing spaces requiring specialized environments, they are like the frozen crust of a lava flux, they form the outer shell of Bouwkunde. Within this crust is the entangled system of continuous movement, which stitches the two “shell” buildings, making them hyper-connective.      The space between the shells is for the activities which include different levels of change , interaction and encounters. This space is not a neutral empty box. A neutral space does not take part in the event, so openness in only suitable when the events are fully programmed in advance. Is the neutral box flexible?  – yes, Is it open? – yes , but it is totally passive about the events it stages.  We replace the neutral boxes  with a cloud for intensive activity, this space has the “flexibility of vagueness” , it has potential , it is indeterminate but has the capacity to be determined, it changes with the content it generates, it effects its environment, it allows for detournements, multiple paths without dead ends. 
The cloud consists of spaces where intensive activities take place, like the studios, lecture spaces, clubs, coffee shops, workshop areas but also a reasonable amount of vogue in-between spaces open for spontaneous activities and interventions.  One of the main actors and agents of the cloud are the urban curators. 
 
Sustainability of a single building is not enough. 
There is no doubt that the new Bouwkunde should be an example of sustainability. The design of this complex system should be done with collaboration of different disciplines., but the most important part is that the students, the architects of the future should all be aware of the issues regarding sustainability , both technically and morally. The “cloud” and the city can be the playground of active sustainability research and experiments, it can help create awareness
 
Reach out to the city, play with it 
The term “urban curator” is first used in the manifesto of a London-based urban design office, In the manifesto, the Urban Curator is a professional who designs the linking of processes, or in other words designs the organizational form of the dynamics or behavior of an urban environment. The Urban Curators of  Bouwkunde will be linking the content generated in Bouwkunde with the city and the world in both directions, they can consist of  trans-disciplinary bright minds, leading architects and planners, students, but mostly from other disciplines, city officials and also ordinary city dwellers. This institution will be collaborating with the faculty, but will  be independent in what it breeds.  Together with students, professors and the city, they act as agents,  they develop detournements, act on potential, share the knowledge, promote collaboration. They create the first sparkle to unfold the potential of vague spaces in the faculty, and in the city. They create the links between the students and the city. They organize to unfold the content generated in Bouwkunde into the city, and for the city to unfold into Bouwkunde.  
 
TEAM

Cem Kozar, Işıl Ünal