@ Anna Valentiny

Unlocking the Commons

Rethinking the Architecture of the Future City


BArch 6 Studio: Geography Landscapes Cities

Tom Avermaete | Daniela Herold

“But the city changes all the time, so it cannot be a frozen word: it would have to be a word in permanent mutation. (…) Cities exist for citizens, and if they don’t work for citizens, they die,” claimed the British architect Cedric Price. In projects like The Fun Palace (1960-1961) and The Potteries Thinkbelt (1964), Price foreshadowed a future city in which citizens would live in ‘open forms’ and would no longer be considered as passive subjects that live in environments designed by experts, but rather as ‘creative operators’ that organize their own spatial resources. Price’s projects envisaged a radical redefinition of the agency, roles and tools of the architect.
While Price’s proposals might seem to be obsolete avant-garde exploration, his fundamental question remains as topical as ever: How to think the architecture of the future city? In recent proposals, such as IBA Vienna, planners and architects have recognized the great challenges that the contemporary city is facing, but seem to largely maintain the existing constraints of architecture, as well as the modi operandi, tools and roles of architects. 

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Unlocking the Commons

Rethinking the Architecture of the Future City


BArch 6 Studio: Geography Landscapes Cities

Tom Avermaete | Daniela Herold

This studio proposes an alternative. It focuses on ‘the commons’ both as concrete spaces in the city where shared resources are unlocked in new ways, and as innovative collaborative practices among citizens that contribute to urban development. The studio holds that the focus on the commons might offer us a fresh way to conceive of, design and manage the architecture of the city. The studio has two main objectives: first, to develop a set of tools to analyze and understand the commons, and second, to reflect upon a new articulation of what an architectural project is when we consider it from the perspective of common urban resources and practices of urban commoning.

The basis will consist in generating an Archaeology of Vienna Commons of the recent past, reflecting upon the city’s renowned history of municipal planning along with a long pedigree of commons, as well as preparing a detailed mapping of Common Ecologies by analyzing current pool resources (green space, open space, water, materials, typologies etc.). 

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Unlocking the Commons

Rethinking the Architecture of the Future City


BArch 6 Studio: Geography Landscapes Cities

Tom Avermaete | Daniela Herold

Out of the knowledge gained, students will explore and articulate what a Design Project for the commons in Vienna can be, beyond a simple plan for a building.
How can a project for the commons be articulated? Which instruments and approaches have to be developed to intervene in the ecology of these commons, or even to create a new one? Which material or immaterial interventions are needed to unlock the common pool resources in a new way and for a wider group of citizens?

> Link Booklet s17