Evolving from the unit’s focus on systems-based design, the emphasis for the year was on the development of open frameworks that are inherently applicable to a range of architectural situations. Student projects explored the potential of establishing design methods that fundamentally question the paradigm of rule-based architecture.
The chosen context for this year was Hashima Island, an abandoned coal-mining facility at the southern end of the Japanese archipelago. The island was chosen as it served as a prime example of an incomplete and incoherent architectural assemblage of missed opportunities, developed with the support of heavy industry, yet lacking any clear organisational logic. To allow for the development of both a framework and a coincident architectural example, the programmatic brief was left open to interpretation. By the year’s end, projects had naturally begun to prioritise one of the following two categories.
The Procedure: some projects focused solely on either architectural attributes or methods, using their identification and elaboration as a means to stipulate the necessary requirements for any subsequent architectural instantiation. As the projects show, these procedurally driven methodologies emphasised organisational tactics, yielding formally specific structures as the basis for architectural propositions of high definition.
The Object: by contrast, object-driven proposals underlined the value of identifying generic classifications that could then be informed by context-sensitive instances, the objects themselves. The objects possess directives their associated attributes as well as methods for the express purpose of architectural strategies. Procedural operations were then implemented piecemeal to articulate object collections that remain relatively neutral in their formal output yet coherent in their phased implementation.
In all the architectural speculations this year, the eventual success of the project depended on finding a congruence between the roles of inevitable probabilistic models of proposed architectural systems and an overriding counterpart, the non-determinism of open frameworks. Such a congruence would then serve as the criterion for each project’s logical stability.