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Design Studio 18: 2020

+Other Climates, Norway

Project Notes

MArch Architecture Studio @
University of Westminster, School of Architecture + Cities.
John Cook, Ben Pollock & Laura Nica

June 2020

Sub Notes:
Below is snapshot of work in progress throuhg out the year. Full projects and work can be seen viewed at: Link

Photo Credits: Laura Nica
Design work: Various Students

Project Tags:
2020, Research, Teaching, Design, Education, Workshops

At the global extreme, air and climate is understood as a planetary system, abstracted by scientists into statistical constructs to communicate changes, times-scales and meteorological complexities incomprehensible to human experience. Whilst at the lived and human scale this invisible medium is typically perceived through disturbance or irregularity, through extreme velocities, record precipitation, high level contamination, and subsequent taxation. This invisible matter was the starting point for a year long design research investigation with students exploring how the atmospheres it operates, the climates it creates, explored through its extreme scales, polarised methods of understanding, and contrasting ways of perceiving.

The wider context of the studio’s explorations was formed around three interlinked and transforming climatic phenomena: The Arctic Circle, the boundary of the polar region defined by the limit of the sun’s visibility during the June and December solstices. The Ferrel and Polar air cells, two of the three global circulation systems that carry air, moisture and matter across the planet. And the Polar Jet Stream, the upper tropospheric westerly air flow generated at the boundary of these two systems - dictating and influencing weather throughout the majority of the Northern Hemisphere. Due to irregularities in the Earth’s orbit and axial tilt, mankind’s mass extraction and redistribution of materials around the globe, and the accelerated melting of the polar ice caps, these entwined atmospheric systems are beginning to destabilise, shift and morph in unpredictable ways.

The weather events associated with these zones are often severe and globally significant. From 2018’s California wildfires, the devastating landing and duration of Hurricane Sandy, Europe’s recent anticyclonic cold front (better known as ‘the Beast from the East’), to the recent record 5 degree spike experienced in Baltic Sea temperatures. It is amongst this high latitude banding, of shifting and extreme climates tied to upper atmospheric air systems, that DS18 will commenced its new architectural investigations under the theme of ‘Other Climates’.

Students projects wear guided by a semester of design lead research to develop an architectural thesis on their chosen climatic entities and non human actors. Studio activities included; theory and readings, software workshops on simulation, computational design & mapping, design reviews and architectural design.

Architecture Foundation Talk: 100 Day Studio: Design Studio 18 - '+Other Climates'
(including student presentations)

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