MEJAN
ARC

ARCHITECTURE

Course Structure

The course is scheduled with three-day study periods, Wednesday to Friday, held every other week. In addition, these periods are supplemented with two or three week-long workshops, spread throughout the year. The various fields that structure the year are each investigated through lectures and seminars. The common group project is developed sequently in short workshops that follow throughout the year.
A longer study and research trip is scheduled for the spring term and the final result is presented in an exhibition and catalogue at the end of the spring term.

The course is on advanced level and gives 60 ECTS.

Study Trip


While the fall term is a laboratory for facts, ideas and fictions, the spring term begins with an on-site study and research trip. In this way, the students come to the specific urban environment with knowledge and ideas. Although these ideas are eventually questioned and re-thought, it still enables strategic studies to begin immediately. The research trip is structured by individual research conducted in groups, which creates a dynamic exchange between site work and discussions. Experts are invited to make lectures and to provide guidance and feedback. Resources collaborates with local organisations, NGOs and academic institutions that act as working partners for the extent of the project. Building working relationships with experts and stakeholders enables us to establish a dialogue that continues during the remainder of the spring term and beyond. Back in Stockholm the findings are formulated into a framework and strategy for the proposal that guides the continued work. In order to develop the proposal two additional workshops are held during the spring semester.
study_trip A meeting with artist Fritz Haeg in his home, Los Angeles, 2009.
More images from the studytrips here.

Methodology


While Resources constantly strives to develop and adapt the course based on new experiences and new fields of study, there are a number of workshops that have been pioneered at the school, which recur in some form each year. All workshops are based on a research by design approach, meaning that various research methods are combined continuously with actual design proposals. Thereby, these are not seen as
separate components, but as an integrated whole.

In Resources the concept and methodology of design are considered essentially cross-disciplinary and in this sense all participants are designers, regardless of background.

Workshop: Lifestyles


The lifestyle studies consist of an exploration of a family, or social group. How will they live beyond peak-oil and fossil fuels? How are dwindling resources going to affect their lives? Will lifestyles become limited or will the potentials of new energy sources lead to new opportunities? Emphasis is placed on a creative speculation and on compelling images of the families’ future situations, embracing everything from energy, dwelling, food, material consumption, work, mobility, shared space to entertainment and fun. Lifestyle studies have become a key for us to try to understand an unfamiliar urban context by imaging how lives are lived today and will be in the near future. Although investigating a place through individual experiences may seem subjective and vague, it provides insights that enable us to get engaged in the place and fleshes out stories that statistics alone cannot provide.
workshop_lifestyle

Workshop: Systems


Systems thinking is one of the key instruments for reconsidering the urban in relation to limited resources. Synergies and closed- looping are the first steps towards the efficient use of resources and energy. However, an urban system can embrace more than just the obvious and tangible flows of water, waste and energy. Social, economic, cultural and spatial patterns, as well as functions and exchanges within time and space can all be integrated in technical and ecological urban systems, to establish a metabolic vision of the urban.

Collaborator: Stockholm Resilience Centre
workshop_systems

Workshop: Scenarios


There is an urgency of finding ways to discuss urban futures and their social consequences beyond the classic “vision-approach” traditionally deployed by architects and planners since the 15th century. A systematic approach seems necessary. One possible method towards this end is forecasting scenarios for the future. This systematic method employs two fundamental and independent variables in order to find parallel, plausible future scenarios which in turn can be further developed. By use of storytelling methods and visualization, means of comparing and discussing these futures can lead to a more strategic and productive dialogue.

Collaborators: Shift’N and Stockholm Environment Institute.
workshop_scenarios

Workshop: Envisioning Information


Communication today has developed, particularly for architects, out of increasingly complex digital tools. Although these tools offer sophisticated possibilities for visualization, ideas tend to become over-simplified rather than more subtle and nuanced in their expression. By developing our methods of communication, it is hoped that the ideas that are communicated will become more lucid, while retaining their complexity. Together with Density Design Lab, the students develop their ability to combine and clearly visualize statistical information in creative ways and thereby describe new ideas.

Collaborator: Density Design Lab
workshop_envisioning

Workshop: Biomimicry


The form and geometry of nature has long been a source of inspiration for various fields and disciplines, but today the functional properties of the natural world are subjects of increased scientific interest. New developments within textiles, building materials, food textures, aeronautics, nanotechnology, etc. often have their precedents in biological functions found in spider webs, shark skin, gecko feet or the lotus leaf. Within the sustainability discourse this biomimetic approach has even influenced thinking in an urban context. Could evolutionary-tested solutions from nature be applied to urban design challenges?

Collaborator: Chalmers, Department of Applied Physics.
workshop_biomimicry