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'Can we come in ?'

Unit C 2016-17

Undergraduate Design Studio at Oxford Brookes University


Barry Wark, 

Maria Knutsson-Hall

Andreas Körner

Interrogating non dichotomous Space 

It could be argued we are experiencing a movement where
several corners of our global society seem intent on constructing or increasing the borders around them to create harder and more impervious divisions. This ranges from the geographical and political to the social and physical. It’s this later condition that we as architect must respond to. How can we use our abilities as lateral thinkers, designers and problem solvers to create buildings and cities that communicate openness, positivity and reflect the beliefs of a progressive 21st century society?

Our buildings seem to be increasingly hermitically sealed behind solid masonry and glass façades. This in turn creates a built environment of hard spatial dichotomies between a controlled, contained and guarded space and a free, uninhibited and
potentially wild space.

In the context of unit C this sealed environment is at the very forefront of the agenda. We live in a world of turbulent weather, seasons, unrelenting vegetated growth, animals and insects. This continuing sealed approach to the design of our buildings is only increasing our disconnect from the biosphere.

It is therefore imperative that to ensure the continuation and improvement of a societal biophilic conscious that we challenge the hard lines of traditional contemporary architecture.
With all that being said, these lines are drawn for a reason. Environmental comfort, hygiene and protection have been driving forces of building since its inception. This year unit C will investigate these boundaries to create spaces that appropriate, transition, filter, host and repel. We will question notions of constructed vs grown, clean vs dirty, public vs private and crucially buildings that engage with the nature.

Therefore, this year unit C will ask: Can we come in?

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