In October 2012 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union starting a range of controversies. The interconnection of industrial structures, supply chains, markets, financial circuits, policies, strategies and protocols of the European project is a complex set of transformations that generate a series of oscillations and instabilities across the entire range of life in Europe and well beyond. The architecture of the European project, with its entangled connections between changing polities and material spaces, is at the centre of Diploma 4 investigations.
We think of this as a complex system of construction of inhabited space over time. The reorganisation of the protocols and procedures of the European project is investigated as a torque force – a spin that gathers multiple currents to reshape and rearrange the material spaces of the European peninsula. What emerges is an image of a space in complex transformation, a series of ambivalent territories and multiple populations and agents operating over wide sets of relationships, both above and beneath the state.
A focus on the coast of Europe enables us to intercept of these transformations where they become more intense and visible. The shifting polities of the European project are reorganised, funnelled and accelerated by the many circulations that characterise the seas and shores of the peninsula. Non-spaced transformations set the tone for the projects of Diploma 4: extensions of global supply chain routes; infrastructural connections; rapid urbanisation processes; new erosion patterns and rearrangement of sedimentation processes; technology transfer hubs and secluded research and development sites; migratory shipping lines and detention centres; and rearrangement of surveillance and measurement.The projects present a range of diverging transformations and multi-directed thrusts. Using architecture as both the object and method of investigation reveals a kaleidoscope of divergent ways for changing the European project through its many contradictions, abrupt stops, rapid accelerations or the concomitant stagnation and consolidation of patterns of inhabitation. How can architecture enter radical negotiations to rethink a project for the remodernisation of the coast of Europe?
Special thanks to
Carlos Villanueva Brandt
Despite being the second smallest country in Africa, the archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe has, under a colonial slave-driven economy, functioned for almost its entire contact with humanity as an often hyper-productive but fragile territory. The island has been the axis of successive economies of violence, inscribed in its entirety with the architecture of colonial agricultural production.
São Tomé has always been measured in such a way as to act as an auxiliary monoculture to a distant 'mother' country. Post independence, the exploration of oil within its Exclusive Economic Zone promises to fuel these cycles further.
The proliferation of an existing facility for public transparency, called GRIP, through every Casa Grande on the island and beyond via the internet, aims to imbue the island with an immunity to further monocultures, promoting instead both individual specialisation and common participation.