Framing indeterminacy: Pedagogical journey into experimental architectural thinking

Technoetic Arts 16 (2):137-151 (2018)
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This paper presents and discusses design studio outcomes developed in response to a studio brief linked to the Fun Palace Futures initiative of the Royal British Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in honour of architect Cedric Price and artist Joan Littlewood. The studio brief was collaboratively developed by the authors. Its core question was: How could the thoughts that guided the development and design of the Fun Palace – a project that was never built but is still today cited as a model for thinking flexible and open architecture – be re-interpreted and renewed for the future? This line of thinking guided the initial and experimental research phase, during which students developed an understanding of what indeterminacy is or could be. The paper shows that through the translation of some of the essential principles of the Fun Palace project into pedagogical instruments, students were enabled to approach the questions of indeterminacy in an open and innovative manner. The paper argues that the use of a variety of media, which often went far beyond the conventional architectural pallet, and the introduction of media shifts were crucial in assisting the students in developing their own tools for creating a new kind of open and flexible architecture. The paper presents this pedagogic approach. We show that the conditions of indeterminacy, uncertainty, chance and change, hold potential for framing the design and creation of a new kind of dynamic architecture, and for initiating experimental architectural thinking in a design studio setting.

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Claudia Westermann
Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China

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