The Peripatetic Environment

Elemental Interactivity V

BArch 3 Studio: Construction | Material | Technology

Michelle Howard | Luciano Parodi


One of the greatest changes in spatial thinking in modern times occurred with the emergence of the knowledge worker and the designation of an individual workspace in the 18th Century. This development, in its turn, led to the dominance of the sitting position as the position from which work in the office was carried out. Indeed so important did the sitting position become that the most advanced piece of furniture today is arguably the office chair. For most of that time one’s position in the hierarchy was defined by how little one was compelled to leave ones expensive chair in order to carry out a day’s work (secretaries just outside the door could fetch the coffee and subordinates were summoned). Today, this idea of hierarchy is being turned on its head, not because of any lofty egalitarian ideas but rather increased health consciousness where every walk to the photocopier brings one a little further away from a cardiac arrest. As architects we should be convinced that creativity and productivity are, at the very least, tied in an essential way to the environmental enhancement of one’s physical capabilities and thus, to architecture.

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The Peripatetic Environment

Elemental Interactivity V

BArch 3 Studio: Construction | Material | Technology

Michelle Howard | Luciano Parodi

 

Working environments which require of us to remain within a reduced spatial terrain and to assume the same position day in and day out within that terrain, while perhaps being efficient at the level of square meterage per workspace, are not efficient at the level of enhancing intellectual and creative performance. The creative power of movement New schools of thought very often emerge from very old schools of thought and this studio begins with the Peripatetic school which was a school of philosophy founded in Athens at about 335BC. Peripatetic originally derived from the Greek word for the colonnades of the Lyceum in Athens, peripatos, and this word also refers to the act of walking. The legend goes that Aristotle liked to walk about as he thought and taught, pausing from time to time under a grove of olive trees, so that his followers, literally then, had to follow him in order to gain knowledge. A field trip to Athens and the Acropolis at the beginning of the semester will allow us to experience and observe those ancient paths for thought.

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The Peripatetic Environment

Elemental Interactivity V

BArch 3 Studio: Construction | Material | Technology

Michelle Howard | Luciano Parodi

 

The creative power of movement is central to this studio, not solely because of the possible health benefits involved but more importantly the power movement has to encompass a far greater spatial volume. Far from the famous open-plan which began as a liberation from the stuffiness of the small closed room and ended in the even smaller, even stuffier cubicle, we plead that more productivity cannot be achieved without more space and more spatial qualities. Thus our mission throughout the semester will be to annexe more and more spaces within our range of influence through the use of interventions which not only perform the annexation but allow us to experience them anew.

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