Exigent Habitats is a Diploma Unit focused on key global concerns such as environmental issues, climate change, increasing social and economic inequalities, mass tourism, waste management and growing population by exploring the limits of habitation in severe environments. These habitats represent a unique testing territory for human settlements because of its inherent climatic singularity. Understanding the performance of architectural proposals in these areas is essential to anticipate what might become standard in the rest of the planet for years to come. The research through design intends to propose schemes for specific sites while addressing issues such as the latest technological breakthroughs, vernacular tradition and local identity.
The existing dichotomy between vernacular housing traditions and the latest innovation in building technology establishes an interesting terrain for the design of comfortable living environments in the harshest weather conditions.
In the beginning, we have investigated small-scale architectural solutions to extreme climatic conditions. Students conducted research on traditional building designs that respond to risks associated with avalanches, heavy snowfalls, strong winds and low temperatures. As an introduction to building in these conditions, the studio produced several prototypical designs of a ‘smallest- possible habitable unit’ that offer a temporary living space for up to eight mountaineers, hikers and researchers. The process involved using structural engineering and sustainable architectural elements to produce a shelter within strict design constraints – minimum energy consumption, minimum envelope exposure, lightweight structure and adherence to the limits of remote transportation.
In parallel, the studio took into consideration large-scale housing designs in a similarly harsh climate. The students selected extreme areas that require temporary accommodation. Through the continual development of research and the aggregation of the prototypes produced, students have designed a comfortable settlement that encourages social relations, respects the environment, has the minimum impact on nature and optimized for the challenges posed by the extreme climate.
In addition to the quite experimental curriculum of this studio, the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Terms 3 have transformed the way was planned. Nevertheless, the experience of remote learning did not take the intense (virtual) meetings, tutorials and discussions, nor the quality and dedication put on the production of the projects exposed in this publication. Let the work of the students be the best testimony of such a peculiar year to remember.
Architectural Association - School of Architecture
Diploma Program 2019-2020
Rok Oman, OFIS arhitekti
Špela Videčnik, OFIS arhitekti
Alina Alimzhanova, Matis Barollier, Alvaro Calle Moreno, Valerie Cho, Chui Lam Jasmine Chung, Malene Riise, Ainhoa Schapira, Youngbin Shin, Maroussia Tasiaux, Yuki Terado, Kane Wong, Jun Ho Yim
Xavier Aguiló i Aran, Ana Araujo, Javier Castañón, Tatjana Crossley, Shin Egashira, Piers Gough, Gabu Heindl, Ema Hana Kačar, Friedrich Ludewig, Inigo Minns, Mark Morris, Aleksander Saša Ostan, Vasa J. Perović, Anna Pla Català, Burak Pekoglu, Álvaro Velasco, Carlos Villanueva Brandt, Boštjan Vuga