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Autumn 2017
Project Work with Focus on Research on European and Global Scale

© OSM.

The studio aims to explore the expanded agency of design in contextualising and shaping the multiscalar social, ecological and economic processes that characterise the contemporary condition of globalised urbanisation. The studio builds upon: 1) an understanding of urbanisation as a condition of generalised geographical organisation that expands beyond agglomerations and includes the operational landscapes that support their metabolism; 2) an understanding of design as the analysis and formation of the whole material ensemble that organises life on the planet. The studio blends the boundaries between architecture, planning, geography and territorial development and touches upon issues of social, economic and ecological organisation. It invites students to investigate the material imprints of selected economic processes across multiple scales and locations as well as various landscapes: From the local to the regional, to the global scale; and from dense agglomeration areas, to systems of transport and communication infrastructures, and to specialised landscapes of primary production.

The studio starts with the selection of a specific set of processes of a particular economic sector; it follows the spatial organisation of these processes uncovering the flows of material, people and information, and associated locations, scales and landscapes. Subsequently, it analyses the typologies of buildings, structures and infrastructures that come together under these sets of operations. Then, it investigates how these combinations of material structures create larger typological assemblies at multiple scales, from the local to the planetary. Finally it explores how designers could reshape these material ensembles, and through this project the reformulation of the associated economic processes. Methodologically, the studio builds upon a combination of relevant theoretical frameworks, bringing into design theory perspectives from planetary urbanisation, territorial organisation, urban metabolism and global commodity chains; and a hybridization of tools of geospatial and demographic analysis with design tools (productively merging GIS tools with vector and raster software as well as video production software in order to produce innovative spatial and typological diagrams and cartographic representations).

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