Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Back to the Future

Today I had the weird experience of seeing a possible version of the future for me and my project. This happened during the 2nd year reviews with a similarly framed (pun intended) project. It was a dorm project for Harvard University undergrads, designed as a lose frame in which people lived as they wanted with a small set of infills (bathrooms and moving furnitures as far as I saw). There were no real 'units' but rather people could negotiate the spaces they wanted with their friends.

I was interested in the comments, as I could see a scenario in which they could be said about the project I am trying to do.

The comments:

1 -'Fair' spatial allocations need to be part of ever-changing designs.
Maryann Thompson said something in this regard that I think is one of the biggest flaws in the Nicaragua project: Unless you are careful the bullies that are present in any social structure will control space in an unfair manner. Along with the designs that call for flexibility there is a need to be able to control possible negotiations and write in to the codes of the design ways to make final spatial allocations fair.

2- What of people that do not want something new?
While designing ever changing spaces we need to take into account that there are some people that are perfectly happy with current ownership and living models.

3- Where is the design?
Even in ever-changing spaces there is design, thinking otherwise is fooling yourself. The key is clearly is identifying where the design lies and understanding the consequences of the design in these changing environments. Not having designed it yet, I think that my idea of using frame vs. infill as parametric conditions can help me be very clear on the control by the designer vs. places for change.

4- "Where will people fart, burp, have sex?"
Actual quote by a juror that is probably not a huge concern in my project (all families will not live under one huge open space) but something any designer should consider nonetheless.

I want to thank my fellow student for a thoughtful project that engendered interesting discussion.

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