Photo @ Michelle Howard

Useless


BArch 3 Studio: Construction | Material | Technology

Michelle Howard | Luciano Parodi

In the last three years, the CMT studio has conducted studios with a background idea derived from a proposal by Gottfried Semper, where he argued that architecture should be like a garment, WAND-GEWAND: “The terms Wand and Gewand [garment] derive from a single root. They indicate the woven material that formed the wall.” His preoccupation with the once distinguished and now extinguished profession of the wall-fitter, whose skills have migrated to the most disparate cultures, has intrigued us. Such seemingly antiquated, or useless, propositions could very quickly become incredibly useful if re-examined and developed with new knowledge and technologies. This semester, the wall-fitter occupies the forefront of the studio.

The arrival of many migrants to our shores has simultaneously sparked calls for integration and assimilation. This practice ignores the unfathomable wealth of ideas and skills derived from other cultures, other climates, other economies that they bring with them, especially those that at first glance seem useless. What can we learn from studying how to construct and erect a goat hair tent, collect water in the desert, weave a fan from palm fronds or milk a camel?

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Useless


BArch 3 Studio: Construction | Material | Technology

Michelle Howard | Luciano Parodi

Current studies try to determine which skills, with the advent of a robotic world, will still need to be exercised by human beings. There are even articles warning us not to demand too much remuneration, for fear of speeding up the process of our replacement. Leaving the obviously terrifying injustices of such proposals aside, it is surprising that little has been written on the value of the seemingly useless. The skills of the architect have experienced transformation on myriad levels in modern times, from their division into “specialisations” and ensuing funnelling towards the digital. This semester, we will explore the fertile ground offered to us by unearthing the skills of the migrant wall-fitter, seeking to interpret and perhaps transform them, and perhaps produce something seemingly useful.

 

> Link Booklet w17