SEA LEVEL: A THOUSAND PLATEAUS | Stockholm, Sweden | Unit 21 | 2017
Awarded Distinction for Design & Distinction for Thesis
‘We don’t build cities by accumulating masterpiece buildings, architecture is only responsible for only a trickle of the world’s spaces while a firehose blasts out the rest, architects make stones in the water…but what if the water is also an artistic curiosity; this pervasive, powerful, seemingly remote-controlled flow of information and activity in space.’
– Keller Easterling
This project is centred around the paradoxical attempt to design without autonomy and should be seen as both a proposal and a critique. Algorithms provide the framework upon which an urbanism is grown, the resultant spatial proposals then explore the relationship between design and auto-generation; firstly understanding their respective limits, but more significantly unlocking their potential to work together – the trellis and the vine reacting to one another. Spontaneity and control.
The urban design methodology utilizes emergent capacities of collective intelligence for the territorialization of the maritime realm within the Stockholm archipelago. Rather than master-planning through sequential decisions at decreasing scales, it proposes a bottom-up approach within which locally acting autonomous agents collectively build a complex and self-regulating urbanism. The project provides an example algorithmic system whereby a live relationship between information and architecture develops, so that each informs the other in a continuous feedback loop.
The bridge and the dry-dock simultaneously occupy both the continental and maritime realms, and act as models for the urbanism, and the generator of that urbanism respectively. Raw material is fed through an adaptive system within the dry-dock and ejected into the Baltic Sea to create Deleuzian ‘smooth space’, this is gradually punctuated through occupation as the landscape is augmented to provide utility – the process of ‘striation’. The interplay between these two warring forces; the auto-generative smooth space, and the designed striated space, develops a networked urbanism fostering multiplicity and dynamism. The spatial conflict sits theoretically within the framework of Deleuze and Guattari’s definition of smooth and striated space, and historically within the interplay between hierarchical and networked forces, which have dominated Stockholm throughout its history.
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