ARCHITECTURE OF INTERIORS THEMATIC STUDIO
There is little discussion of the changed requirements that have arisen from a societal tendency towards shorter term, more precarious working conditions and towards the increasingly uncertain affordability of housing – aspects that both cooperative and private investors do not want to address in terms of floor plans and spatial solutions. The only conceivable solution seems to be to make apartments ever smaller, in order to keep them “affordable.”
The discussions that are currently taking place are essentially focused on details of land and construction costs, and on apartment sizes and equipment standards - all accompanied by a lower-energy debate.
That, in my opinion, is not enough. I propose that in the longer term, due to permanently declining median incomes and increasing investment in private consumption, the future long-term affordability of housing cannot be solved through technical or cost-cutting measures (all of which will result in a reduction of surface area,) but instead through spatial solutions that respond to social change.
Such solutions will place the focus on an aspect that disappeared with the development of social housing projects in the 1910’s: namely, a spatially expressed idea of the “commons”.
- Identity-forming spaces and places of socialization: common grounds
- Origin/historical form: COMMONS (parallel to official administration)
- Today’s concept of commons is based on the ideas that each of us has the right to certain shared resources – be it the atmosphere or the ocean; freshwater or biodiversity; culture, languages or knowledge.
- The current focus on ecology is therefore not least due to an increasing pressure to commercialize natural and social resources, and as such the possibilities for commons are diminished while the need for communal administration and use becomes greater
- The commons are perhaps less concerned with the goods themselves than with qualitative social relationships (eg. the neighborhood); it is not about ownership but about commoning - a relationship that unites individuals, communities and ecosystems in one process.
But how much “privacy” does a person need?
- Which functions should a “private” apartment be able to facilitate?
- What needs and requirements could be transferred into semi-public or public areas/zones within a building, or in the surrounding area?
- Within the ongoing trend towards “smart living”, we must establish how small an apartment can (or should) become, and if it can be minimized through functional over-determination or if optimization by outsourcing functions to shared spaces is the better option
Where are an apartment’s (spatial) borders? What can people use together; where does it make sense to share limited spatial resources?
How much can be shared, how much private retreat does one need?
Social-spatial Experiments in Living:
- Usable areas in living spaces, the definition and meaning of which (as well as the shift in boundaries between private, semi-public and public) are analyzed based on housing models from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
- These areas – or, more precisely, their underlying “properties”, equipment or furniture – are examined and reinterpreted starting from the question of how much privacy a person “needs”, in order to develop new combinations of individual rooms or their constituent elements
- Social utopians such as Charles Fourier or Robert Owen attempted to develop (partly realized, partly theoretical) designs for alternative forms of housing and living, in which the focus wasn’t on the “nuclear family” or the private household but on other forms of social life in the literal sense of the German word “gewohnt” (meaning habitual, lived, familiar.)
- Providing the population with sufficiently affordable housing remains one of the most important economical and social-political challenges
- As housing today is scarce and therefore expensive, we start to ask: what function can a “private” apartment fulfill, and which functions can be transferred into semi-public or public areas/zones within a building, or in the surrounding area? In the ongoing trend towards “smart living”, we must establish how small an apartment can (or should) become, and if it can be minimized through functional over-determination or if optimization by outsourcing functions to shared spaces is the better option.
- In a deprogrammed, flexible building, many functions are possible
- Spaces for businesses and offices, along with various forms of living and more, can be implemented in a building reduced to the necessary technical infrastructure
Is this what everyone wants? What demographic development look like in general? Why is this spatial flexibility so important?
Flexibility in housing.
The growth and shrinkage of housing size in correlation to changing space requirements - due to the life cycles of families and more complex social structures, set within a solid structural frame - is an issue that is to be investigated continuously in the projects.
In addition to structural and spatial characteristics, organizational aspects here play an important role.
Flexible-use room proportions and room sizes, a departure from purely functionally determined floor plans, form the basis for this concern.
The implementation of essential communicative spatial qualities in collective areas and in the environment of the buildings, as well as the avoidance of mono-functional structures, extend this topic beyond the individual dwelling and into the surrounding residential fabric.
Research on the affordability of housing in terms of production and maintenance.
From its initial concern with the creation and provision of the minimum dwelling, social housing has now, in correlation with social developments since the early twentieth century, evolved into upmarket middle-class housing,
Safety standards defined by norms and legal regulations, the optimization of energy losses and the desired standards for upgrades are continuously increasing the construction costs and thus the rental costs of living space, which is in turn becoming unaffordable for parts of society.
The institute will highlight individual cost-related topics in order to compare them to current requirements for housing, such as requirements for the contemporary minimum dwelling.
Task for 2019 Winter Semester Studio:
The growth of a city calls for an inversion of the marginalized “back sides” produced by infrastructure, or by other conditions in areas of central development (back sides which may actually appear as the front to those already settled there.) A building site that has not already decided on a place or non-place – a decision which it might not necessary need to make – requires a high degree of tolerance for ambiguity from students.
Social-Spatial Experiments in Living:
Our analysis of housing models from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries deal with the usable areas of “Wohnraum” (living space), its definition and meaning, as well as the shifting of boundaries between private, semi-public and public. These areas, or more precisely their underlying “properties” - equipment or furniture - are examined and reinterpreted starting from the question of how much privacy a person “needs”, in order to develop new combinations of individual rooms or their constituent elements.
Social utopians such as Charles Fourier or Robert Own attempted to develop (partly realized, partly theoretical) designs for alternative forms of housing and living, in which the focus wasn’t on the “nuclear family” or the private household but on other forms of social life in the literal sense of the German word “gewohnt” (meaning habitual, lived, familiar.)
As housing today is scarce and therefore expensive, we start to ask: what function can a “private” apartment fulfill, and which functions can be transferred into semi-public or public areas/zones within a building, or in the surrounding area? In the ongoing trend towards “smart living”, we must establish how small an apartment can (or should) become, and if it can be minimized through functional over-determination or if optimization by outsourcing functions to shared spaces is the better option
Considerations for scenarios of future use under the required conditions:
- Who are the current users, actors, and user groups of the project area?
- Who are the future people, protagonists and clientele of the area?
- What does the daily route of those people/groups look like? When and at which locations is there overlap in these routines?
- What are the spaces/areas that serve the idea of the commons – for what purpose?
- Socio-spatial analysis of the selected housing models by comparing their usable spaces
- Background, advantages, disadvantages… meaning?
- Subarea analysis/useable area conditions based on floor plans
- Calculation and preparation of the results using a table created by the Institute of Housing
- Development of a spatial program/design for housing with flexible floor plans
In the studio, students will be expected to analyze the building site and its surroundings (paying special attention to open spaces and outdoor venues as well as public, openly accessible places and places that meet daily needs) and to develop proposals that provide improved solutions to these needs, both within the site itself and outside the site. This includes spaces for productions, workshops, supervised facilities, public markets, social services…
The site is to be transformed into an inner city, thematically heterogeneous housing development. The scope and program of the project will be developed during the course. The goal is to develop a range of different housing types that goes beyond the mere provision of housing, connected and supplemented by shared areas for collective use.
“There was no such thing as society and even if there was, I most certainly had nothing to do with it.“ (Mark Renton, Trainspotting)
During the course, different facilities or temporary forms of living for people in precarious living situations will be defined, their thematic and spatial specifics described, and a suitable location debated. It is essential to connect the qualities of living and the advantages of a central location, i.e. infrastructure, event spaces, meeting areas, and interstitial and outdoor spaces, in a way that meets the needs and movement patterns of the residents and present a lively, diverse, non-discriminatory environment!
Potentials and local resources:
Place becomes a space in which different population groups interact, negotiate and relate to one another (Wolfgang Kaschuba.) Cultural creativity gives rise to something new while rationally incorporating existing resources in the form of idiosyncrasies and inherited behaviors. Together, existing resources and the emergence of new structures form a “power of the local” (Bernard Tschofen) as the result of local and global transformation processes.
The research, preparation of base files and the designs will be carried out as individual projects. Attendance is mandatory at the course introduction, revision dates, during studio times and at the interim presentations. The presentations will be take place in front of all students as well as invited guest critics. In the presentation of the research and project concepts, emphasis will be placed on concise, clear and understandable modes of representation, conveying the spatial aspects of the design and supported by 3D line graphics. Floor plans and sections alone are not sufficiently meaningful modes of representation!
Documents to be submitted:
Content: the project book consists of:
all relevant sketches, drawings and photographs
all necessary texts and tables
- functional program with spatial allocation
- floor area calculation of the usable area of interior spaces and facades, calculated according to existing norms.
- simple function diagram (showing flexibility, spatial qualities of facades) in 3D
- project description
- supplemented by final floor plans reduced in size, in order to document the process and the result
format: 173mm x 233mm, portrait
printed on untrimmed A4 sheets with cut marks
centered on A4 sheet set, printed double-sided
bound with plastic sliding bar, not a spiral
Layout: drawings and text must be carried out according to the graphic guidelines of the TU Graz Institute of Housing (http://www.iwtugraz.at/iw/richtlinien-vorlagen.html)
- Schwarzplan with north orientation, 1:2000 (or in corresponding reduced size)
- Thematic structural plan with north orientation
- Floor plans with north orientation showing surroundings, sections, elevations, 1:200 (or in corresponding reduced size)
- Spatially relevant perspectives using line drawings (no renderings!); at least 5 representations of important aspects of interior spaces, and 5 representations of relevant in-between and exterior spaces
The line weights of all representations are to be identical, and the 3D representations are to be presented uniformly with a 1:1,347 proportion, in either portrait or landscape format (according to the format of the project book.) The line weights of the frames should be identical to those of the drawings.
3D Drawings and Photographs:
all vertical lines parallel to the vertical edge of the sheet!
Graphic design elements, decorative elements or typeface graphics are not to be included on the presentation sheets!
Only facts relevant to the topic and to the project are to be presented.