Diploma 17 continues its investigation into new conditions of the contemporary city, interrogating forms of infrastructure and formulating new modalities of integration with the architectural project. This year we immersed ourselves in West Africa,
a fascinating region where we discovered the floating communities of Ganvie and Makoko, the endless urban sprawl of Accra, the privatised harbour islands of Lagos, the salt mines and slavery forts on the coast of Ghana, the ancestral Tata territory of Benin, as well as the sunken forests of the Lake Volta. Within this part of the world and these contested territories of rapid urbanisation, we speculated on the possibility of deploying strategies that are challenging the effects of an extreme rural exodus as an urban project that does not fulfil many promises of providing education, healthcare and work for the majority of its population. Taking as a premise the economic viability and extensive growth of productive fields, this year’s brief examined the possibility of coupling existing infrastructure with civic functions. Throughout the year, we constantly debated the benefits and failures of top-down and emergent approaches towards urban organisations and their consequences on issues of governance, ownership and social interaction.
At the urban scale, we experimented with time-based growth patterns as well as combinatory models of organisation that allowed for greater adaptability to changing conditions such as seasonal flooding and programme obsolescence, thus producing economically viable synergies and gradual changes in civic appropriation. At the tectonic scale, we explored geometrical integration of multiple design objectives such as experiential criteria, programme, structure and environmental performance. Through simulation, we explored architectural in terms of its broader environmental impact, such as the design of wind shadows, carving the desert landscape, or manipulating processes of erosion and sedimentation in order to reclaim land and enhance collective experience within and external to architecture. We concluded our investigations with speculative prototypical settlements, nested within productive fields that allowed us to position the architectural project as an integral contribution to a broader socio-political framework.
Theo Sarantoglou Lalis
Tosin Oshinowo- Akinkugbe
Andrew Wai Tat Yau
Barbara Ann-Campbell Lange
George Massoud & Gabriel Massoud
Piet Van Der Merwe
Azu Nwagbogu & Zainab Ashadu
University of Lagos
The children and professor of the Primary School of Koussoukoingou, Benin
Thomas T Jensen
Open cast gold mines in Obuasi, Ghana are beginning to cease operations as underground mining takes over. This creates an opportunity to use the morphology of the open cast mine to adapt the landscape of this productive field into an opportunity for architecture. The project aims to explore the possibility of the development of Obuasi’s open cast gold mines into new urban centers by providing guidelines for the construction and rehabilitation of the mine.