H20BITAT, First-year Research Studio

Berlage Institute 2008/2009
studio professors: Freek Persyn, Laurens Tait
participants: Zetao Chen, Fang Liu, Marco Galasso, Wei-Jung Hsu, Nara Lee, Chia-Shun Liao, Takeshi Murakuni, Timur Shabaev, Ryosuke Yago
studio lectures: Nico Tellie,Teun van den Dries
studio reviews: Andreas Ruby, Olaf Gipser, Vedran Mimica, Alexander Van Dam, Jaap Wiedenhoff, Peter Mensinga, Mariet Schoenmakers

Project brief

Sustainability beyond ISO
Confronting cutting-edge ecological knowledge with critical design proposals, this first-year postgraduate research studio will investigate to what extent new ecological parameters and sustainable opportunities can change the current cultural outlook on the definition of housing. To look for a sustainable habitat is to look for an environment which performs in a different way than we know today: an environment which deals with resources intelligently, that produces instead of consumes. The goal of the studio is to look for this new performance, by investigating new technological and sustainable opportunities. In the frame of this studio, these possibilities will be closely linked to the issue of water. The intention is to investigate how the shift of view can introduce new qualities and relations, how it can break open what exists. The goal is to understand what kind of living environment this technological performance can produce: what does it mean to live with water?

Producing a country
Alongside the analysis of technological parameters, the studio will build upon and improve another important resource the Netherlands has: the built environment. The Netherlands has always been a designed country. Architecture is valued here because it is a necessity. Without design (and architecture) the country would only partially exist. Intrinsic to the studio is the belief that the artificial can become a natural part of life. This pro-active attitude will serve as the mental backdrop of the studio. Shifting from a rather homogeneous society to a fragmented cluster of subcultures and target groups, the Netherlands is no longer able to cater to difference. The studio will look for a precise way of approaching the problem of difference, freeing architecture from the hyper specific marketing point of view. At the same time, the studio will be looking at the production of urbanity from urban to architectural to ecological scales of size and space. All design proposals will deal with the issue of housing in relation the frictions between social relationships and spatial organizations. They will be backed up by an in-depth survey of Dutch architectural history and the societal models that have led to the present-day built environment.

Collective intelligence
This studio, although driven by today’ s hottest “design driver” (eco-friendly design), will just as much focus on the things that make architecture brutal, banal, and slow: its users, its scale, its inertia, etc.. Therefore, the studio will also deal with these issues in a very specific and contextual way by relating to the Rotterdam Climate Initiative; by dealing with real stakeholders like the city of Rotterdam, ARUP Amsterdam, and select Dutch housing corporations; and by developing proposals for the Maashaven and the Rijnhaven in Rotterdam. Participants will have the opportunity to directly engage with reality in order to propose an architecture that goes beyond reaffirming what already exists.