Diploma Unit 2 set out to invent a new social and aesthetic agenda for ecological architecture, calibrating environmentally responsive geometries to choreograph both climatic and cultural flows within precarious urban conditions. The unit worked on alternative urban organisational structures to mediate between private interests and government bodies, as a way of transforming decaying urban forms that are disconnected from current local cultures and environments.
Informed by Félix Guattari’s and Suely Rolnik’s Molecular Revolution in Brazil, the unit investigated how micropolitical movements could escape the ‘standardisation of desire’ imposed by capitalist and autocratic governments, so as to define ‘completely original forms of expression’. The unit collaborated with micro-organisations, networking between the public and private sectors to create multiplescaled micro-infrastructures that mediate between formal and informal socio-economic, environmental and cultural forces.
Students chose their own sites for intervention, working with existing specific micro-agencies. In Brazil, a former boxing champion attracts homeless people to train in his impromptu boxing academy under the highway viaducts in São Paulo; a former prostitute-turned-communityleader creates a football club for impoverished Gliçério neighbourhood children; evangelist missionaries move into and set up a crèche in the Moinho Fluminese favela, and a self-organised association of Paraisópolis favela inhabitants battle for literacy and citizen rights. In Egypt, a newly formed marine archaeology group looks to further study and exhibit the sunken remains of a former Alexandria; in Sofia, Roma youth seek cultural relevance in a prejudiced Bulgarian society; and in Iceland, environmentalists establish a new presence in the aftermath of the corruption-fuelled national bankruptcy.
Extending the ambitions of these micro-agencies, students proposed their own programmatic, formal and aesthetic ‘protest’ against obsolete regimes, proposing new social programmes to empower local inhabitants. For this, the unit worked on a choreography of aesthetic, programmatic and environmental negotiations to produce controlled emergent spatial effects for a performative architecture that mediates structural, climatic and circulatory flows to reclaim and transform stagnant economies and contexts.