MArch Visiting Professors

Related Staff : Gloria Cabral

Today, the majority of the global human population lives in conditions of poverty and scarcity. In order to change this we need to create opportunities for those who don’t have any; we need to invert the process; we need to “do what we don’t know how to do” (yet). As architects, we need to protect the habitability of our world through evoking the matter.

In a world that is expanding but lacking resources, the wisest way to protect it is to try to be as austere as possible in respect of the matter that surrounds us. Being austere does not only mean using low-cost materials. Being austere means understanding that any material has its own structural capacity and making efficient use of it. This can be investigated through the way in which the material is arranged, through who lays it and who uses it, and how it is produced. We might just have at our disposal the worst brick that has ever been produced;  but we can design its use so that the workforce – even the unskilled one – is able to manage the characteristics of the material in favor of architecture.

The studio starts upside-down, inverting the common architectural
process that goes from design to construction. We start from the matter: investigating its attributes, transforming it into a material; giving matter with a purpose and allowing matter to serve. Imagining the ways in which the material can be arranged, define the necessary protocol to implement it into a construction material by proving its constructive relevance, defining the best program to which it can be applied and develop it as a construction hypothesis, as an architectural proposal. The proposal must be set in a fragment of an urban utopia called “Little Hong Kong” and its program must be adapted to a public space as a proposal for human development.

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