CSM Studio 4 2017-18
Our studio will continue its examination of ‘in‐between’ this year by addressing the notion of obsolescence in architecture and urban forms. Exposed to the political, economic and social forces that underpin the metabolism of the city, architecture appears perennially slow to react; impart obsolete from its inception. To engage in this battle against time and desire is to speculate forms of transitional, flexible and ambiguous space.
Obsolescence beyond economic measures was a significant part of architectural debate and culture of the 1960s stemming from a discourse on consumerism, expendability and an aesthetic of change. A key figure in the debate, Cedric Price suggested that architecture should perform as a connector in the city, generating activities through the exchange between site, users and the built environment; originating multiple meanings as opposed to the single value of a person’s desire.
Instead of a cycle of demolition and replacement (expendability) or permanency and perennity (conservation), the specter of obsolescence inspires a new system in which architecture and urban forms remain contingent. That is ‘contingency’ beyond the technophilia of physical change and flexibility to a condition of porosity, openness and ambiguity. Spaces that incorporate misused or disused as marginal variables to their total structure, demanding constant interrogation and negotiation; creating spaces and forms that expand, transform and enhance future uses.