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PJ Design Studio 3: Stranger Bodies / Tim Altenhof, Giacomo Pala

08 31st, 2021

Are buildings today imagined as flexible, open systems because our bodies are conceived as interconnected systems? This is the question we will ask through design and its theory. In light of the current shifts in architectural theory towards ecology and emerging tendencies to understand a building in terms of its planetary entanglements and material dependencies, we want to re-emphasise the fundamental role of the body—human or otherwise—within architectural discourse. Through a series of small- and large-scale exercises and interventions, students will confront and reiterate aspects of the body, from laws of proportion to the idea of measurement, from standardisation to physiological metaphor. Through a range of different media—texts, drawings, models, images—we will expand on the idea of a building as an abstract representation of the human body and its reliance on anthropomorphic analogies, seeking to update some of the corporeal strands that still ingrain architecture. Research will not be limited to the human sphere: instead, as their main and final task, students will also investigate non-human creatures by designing a house for one of the imaginary beings charted in Jorge Luis Borges’s famous book.

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