Students in studio Adam Caruso at ETH Zurich will spend their Spring semester investigating models for collective living.
'Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species was based on its author’s observations of the natural world. Its emphasis on competition and on the evolutionary success of nature’s predators was also informed by Darwin’s experience of the competitive ravages of industrial England. The idea of a "social Darwinism" was used as justification by the 19th century industrial elite for the social damage that was inherent to the industrial economy. In the age of science, what was true for nature, they argued, was equally true for the political and the social. Critiques of the apparent determinism of Darwin’s theory emerged as soon as his book was published, and a particularly eloquent and comprehensive response, Mutual Aid – A Factor of Evolution was published by Peter Kropotkin at the end of the 19th century. Based on observations, and more pragmatic than ideological, the book describes how widespread and important, mutually beneficial cooperation and reciprocity are in both the animal kingdom and within the history of human societies.
This semester we will make detailed plans for living together. We will imagine ourselves freed from the false dogma of social Darwinism, in a place where essential tasks like caring for people, growing food and living in balance with our environment, are more important than non-essential activities like banking and academia. We will study models of mutual aid in the human, animal and vegetal worlds through references that are modest in size but that engage with matters of material, technique and society altogether, acknowledging that these are different facets of large and necessarily interconnected systems. Some of our references, like the Shaker community of Mount Lebanon are historic, some like the Chelsea Hotel are urban, others like Melliodora in Australia are ongoing experiments. Withdrawing from the centre, these settlements seek out the space and the time to make societies that could be more equitable, providing alternatives to the mainstreams of their time. With a range of principles and techniques, from forms of governance to methods of upcycling and spatial experimentation, we will work on a series of sites in and around Zurich, considering programme and material, human and animal inhabitation, allowing a complexity of subjects of equivalent importance to inform the development of the designs.'
Main image: Rudolf von Laban and his students, Monte Verità, 1914
Images below, from left to right: The Shakers, New Lebanon, founded in 1747, Chelsea Hotel, BBC Arena, 1981, Melliodora - Hepburn Permaculture Gardens, founded in 1985
Students in studio Adam Caruso at ETH Zurich will spend their Autumn semester working on a group of structures around Helvetiaplatz in Zurich. Through model-making and drawing students will engage with not only the adaptive reuse of existing buildings, but also how we can reframe the cultural value of them.
6pm (CET), 15th March 2022
Adam Caruso is taking part in the Institut für Entwurf und Architektur One Building lecture series at ETH Zurich. His lecture, You cannot take risks without failing, will take place at the ONA building Fokushalle on 15th March, 18.00 hrs.
Peter St John's London Met Unit will investigate the theme of Second Life. The term comes from the artist and social activist Theaster Gates, who states that almost everything can be reused. This is evident in his work which has involved collating discarded objects and materials, as well as salvaging and refurbishing whole buildings.
Students will look at the question of how to renew buildings; how construction can be less energy-demanding and creating systems where buildings are indivisible components in a regenerating ecological system.
L’École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Lille
12th May 2022
Adam Caruso will give a lecture entitled History and its Opposite for the Tools Conference at the L’École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Lille.
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
10th February 2022
Peter St John is taking part in TU Eindhoven's lecture series, Lessons in Sustainable Architecture. His talk, Reuse, Recycle will discuss the practice's renovation projects with a focus on their sustainability and design process.