EXCEPTIVE LAWS | Helsinki, Finland | Unit 21 | 2015

Awarded Distinction for Thesis & Merit for Design

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Exceptive Laws


This project seeks to reconceptualise architectural legacy in Finland by {re}contextualising Finnish architectural development from 1917-2015 within its legislative, cultural, historical, corporeal, linguistic, and corporate conditions of the time. It has constantly been asking and re-thinking what the role of the architect and architecture at large is within the notion of the sovereign. The underlying theme was to challenge traditional pre-juristic historical and theoretical lines of argument centred on nature, site, and environment, and expose them to the more systematic and enduring forces of modernism, which transformed Finland throughout the 20th century. By using bio-political argumentation, that is, a complex system of analysis of state power with explicit regard to the body, it sets to survey, analyse, and propose novel ways of understanding the oversimplified geopolitical relationships between people land, and architecture by honing in on the cultural, legislative, and spatial idiosyncrasies of the Finnish constitution.








The main area of interest is sovereignty. Usually considered a form of bare-life, inseparable from its most natural forms; the notion of sovereignty will be resituated into the constructed contemporary form of living we occupy as subjects in modern society through the models of the Sovereign Constitution, and [the] Sovereign Architect(ure). This will highlight ambiguities and tensions in the legal system and architectural forms, within their respective historical narratives, but ones, which ought to be celebrated as genuine contributories to a type of development unique to Finland, and, key to reinvigorating its previously reputable architectural position.


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It has always been the case to acknowledge these interstitial moments in the development of modern Finnish concepts of identity and architecture and frame them as biopolitical architectures linking the people and environment to much larger terms of modernity realised in political philosophical discourse.  By and large, the relationships have been positive, despite coming from unfavourable contexts. What’s more is that they are only visible from the biopolitical stance put forward here. Essentially they have all contributed to a development today where reputations for democracy, openness, trust, and national culture are actually stronger than most other European countries. The hiatus between people and architecture is poised to end given the current uproar around the plans for a Guggenheim in the south harbour, and proceeding national voice for something more Finnish to take its place.


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It is on this basis that a new legal quarter is proposed for downtown Helsinki.  Bound between its two supreme courthouses, a new architectural paradigm develops wherein the fast moving, and digital processes of crowd-sourcing legislation will be given a novel architectural embodiment.  From the gathering of ideas, to petitioning, and finally debating, the urban fabric, grain, and occupation will give the background to cultivating a new century of open democracy through architectural processes to Finland.




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CMPF REDUX (combines).pdfCMPF REDUX (combines).pdf CMPF REDUX (combines).pdf