Spectacle City

Bachelor of Architectural Design
Semester 1, 2021

Studio leader(s)

  • Luca Lana

‘We have lost the city so we seek new cities within cities’

We seek other spaces. Critically engaging with what Debord calls ‘the spectacle’ an anti-capitalist approach to analysis and design may lead to the production of spontaneous non-normative spaces.

(Or Heterotopias. Heterotopia is a concept elaborated by philosopher Michel Foucault to describe certain cultural, institutional and discursive spaces that are somehow ‘other’: disturbing, intense, incompatible, contradictory or transforming. Heterotopias are worlds within worlds.)

Heterotopic spaces can take form in parks or in nightclubs behind barricades formed often in residual spaces. They are ephemeral in nature but can form reinforced networks. The analysis we seek is not always informed solely by architectural plans but a broader analysis of social and cultural conditions and includes a range of qualitative and quantitative information. Theoretically and practically by including a broader range of conditions which are often excluded from mainstream architectural analyses may example the reinforcing role that such conditions have in the formation of heterotopic space which in turn will aid the production of new communal spaces.

COVID-19’s effect on the nature of urban space and society has been profound and times of economic disruption often allow for an acceleration in the production of radical spaces. These spaces built by a desire for spatial equality and diversity play an important role in the forming of complex communities. The studio’s goal is to build such radical spaces to make new communal and contested architectures.

Inspired by the Situationists, the studio asks participants to form processes through and by immersion in place. We document our version of City. Mapping becomes a process of understanding. A phenomenological contract of your intention to alter. A network of projects made alone or in a group - dispersed through the city yet linked. Responses are ephemeral contestable social spaces. Real or imagined.

Do this studio if:

  • You are interested in psychogeographic mapping (see: Larissa Fassler)
  • You are interested in mapping as a form of design generation (see: Perry Kulper, Peter Cook)
  • You are interested in the work of the Situationists (see: Guy Debord, Ager Jorn, Constant Nieuwenhuys)
  • You are interested in radical works (see: Archigram, Haus Rucker Co, R&Sie(n))
  • You are interested by tactical urbanism (see: raumlabor)

We will be working in a productive studio model with Monday in studio used for conversation and making, and Thursday for field exploration, nominally around the North Melbourne area. We will get outside and will use our senses, our hands, and get away from Zoom as much as possible, engaging with collage, sketching, drafting, building, and digital and physical models. Costs hopefully will be low, but we will reed glues and pens, paper, pencils etc. We will print a lot but black and white mostly.