Flesh & Stone
Personal Bodies in Public Space
Workshop proposal, Tirana Design Week 2019
Studio Céline Baumann
Landscape Botany Spatial Design
+41 77 529 08 33
“The society that we live in is gradually changing, accepting an array of values more diverse than ever before.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for preconceived building types and/or functions to respond to our current circumstances. As architects we need to listen with care and humbleness to the voices of all the people who are in need of architecture. We should ask ourselves who is architecture for? Is it for everyone or for a specific individual? Is it for humans or for all animate beings? It may be necessary to think about architecture in a context where all elements are considered with equal importance.”
Freeing architecture, Junya Ishigami, 2018
1. WORKSHOP OVERVIEW
The workshop “Flesh and Stone : Personal Bodies in Public Space” creates bridges between theory and practice, aiming to find a new reading of the city told through bodily experience. The course reflects the theme of Tirana Design Week “Design in times of non-normativity”, and is addressed to students of architecture, landscape and urban design, as well as anyone with interests in those fields.
Design of space is relying on sets of regulations and norms, helping us to draw spaces, i.e. defining the width of a threshold, the height of a handle, or the maximum slope of a ramp. This is useful, but where are these measurements coming from? Looking at the textbooks, we soon realise that these norms are actually based on a standardised version of the body. Being the Modulor from le Corbusier, the Vitruvius Man by Leonardo da Vinci, or the Man from Neufert, they are all excluding the reality of races, sex, gender, disabilities and even social hierarchies. How can we create a feeling of inclusivity in public space that transcends archetypes? It is clear that standardisation does not have a liberating effect for everyone, and that a one-sided approach obstructs many forms of emancipation. We must try to think, act and design outside the confines the dominant system.
The course develops a hands-on approach to discuss societal issues within architectural practice. Questions, assignments, and reflections will engage in an exchange, participating in the co-creation of knowledge and design productions, where ideal bodies will be confronted to the participants real ones. The aim of the seminar is to develop the students sensibility for urban and public space design, as well as to sharpen their critical spirit by discussing the current state of the architectural discipline and our very own roles in it.
2. WORKSHOP OUTCOME
The workshop aims at creating a space to explore design from an intersectional perspective, exchange ideas, and create tools for daily architectural practice.
It activates a type of knowledge that is not part of a traditional design education, a knowledge that we can experience with all our senses and our entire body – and therefore not only with our mind. The course aims to be an educational experiment, trying to question the established ways of teaching, learning, producing and displaying man-made spaces in the form of architecture. It creates a room for dialogue, personal expressiveness, caring and unlearning
The seminar will be led following a performative process. The creation with simple means of 1:1 scale silhouettes of real and idealized bodies will be the first act of the performance. The participants will then explore Tirana cityscape with those artefacts to confront the standards of their own city. The mannequins will allow to extrapolate individual experience from collective one.
The walks will first be led in a derive manner, in the tradition of French Situationism and the associated psychogeography of Guy Débord. The documentation of the experience with photography and/or videos will be discussed, and the walks thereafter directed towards specific themes (i.e. sitting / walking, active / passive) and locations (i.e. centre / periphery, natural / urban).
The material collected in the form of photographs and/or video footages will be compiled into a slideshow to be displayed as part of the Tirana Design Week.
The silhouettes will be part of the final exhibition, allowing visitors and passers-by to compare themselves with the mannequins presented.
The course explores new areas of operations in the field of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design. It confronts the notion of norm with the collective and personal experience of bodies in public space. Through an intersectional lens, it questions the notions of inclusivity, gender and social equality, and the place of the individual in the public realm. It aims at emancipating conventional architectural production by the use of all the senses and the entire body.
4. ASSIGNMENT AND SCHEDULE
The workshop held over five days will favour a hands-on approach to the topic. We will start with a presentation of the subject matter and the general idea on Day 1, followed by a discussion with the students about their own bodily experience of the city. We will choose together the scale models to be executed. On Day 2, as soon as the mannequins are ready, we will first inspect the campus premises to experiment with the artefacts. Impression will be collected at the end of the day. Day 3 and 4 will be dedicated to further investigations.
We will document the exploration with the support of photography and
videos footages. Meetings will be organized to discuss the various feedbacks and determine further steps. Day 5 will be devoted to the final restitution and the preparation of the exhibition in analog and digital content.
The material needed is: thick cardboard sheets 1x2 m, cutter, glue, rulers, pencils, digital cameras (could also be students’ phones), computer to edit the digital material. The workshop requires a room for gathering at the different steps of the week, as well as a projector for initial presentation and final restitution.
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The methodology of the course is based on active participation and iterative process. A preparatory reading list will be communicated in order to allow immersion in the topic. Students will be invited spending time discussing and sharing knowledge. They will also be encouraged to appropriate public space.
The field research part of the course will be held by little groups of 2 to 3 people. Phases of collective restitutions will allow groups to share experiences.
Members in groups will rotate in order for all the participants to get to know each other. Daily deadlines, as well as collective gatherings will favour regular progress, and allow to adjust goals or methodology if needed. The exhibition will entice students to thoroughness and give a concrete goal to the workshop.
Céline Baumann is a French landscape architect and spatial designer. Over the years she has worked in a variety of contexts, reflecting her personal interest for international exchange and cross-cultural environments. Her approach is contextual and pragmatic, her design process holistic and keen on detail.
She aims at creating dynamic open spaces informed by the interactive ecology between people and nature, be it on the scale of the territory, in public spaces or atop roof tops and in private gardens. This design work is complemented by a commitment to writing and research. Participation in lectures, events, and workshops allows her to explore the collective value of nature and its impact on individuals.
Studio Céline Baumann
2019: Studio Céline Baumann, Basel, Switzerland
2017-2018: Fontana, Basel, Switzerland
2012-2017: Topotek 1, Berlin, Germany
2010- 2012: Inside-Outside / Petra Blaisse, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2010: Master of Landscape architecture, Versailles, France
2009: Atelier le Balto, Berlin Germany
2006: Bachelor of spatial design, ENSAAMA, Paris, France
1984: Born in Lille, France
2019: Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2018: Radio RaBe, Cultural Radio, Bern, Switzerland
2018: Garden State, Theatre Festival Basel, Switzerland
2018: Schwesterprojekt, Basel, Switzerland
2018: TEOK , LABA, Basel, Switzerland
2016: Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Malmö, Sweden
2019: Future Architecture alumna, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2019: Akademie Solitude Fellow, Stuttgart, Germany
2018: Suspended Garden, 1st prize, Paris, France
2014: Punctuation Garden, 2nd prize, Belval, Luxembourg
2010: Urban Art Prize, Séminaire R. Auzelle, Paris, France
2018: String gardening, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris, France
2018: Botanical illustration, Kew Gardens, London
2016: PHD Seminar, Criticizing Practice - Practicing Critique, Malmö, Sweden
2019-2020: Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany
2018: Maison du Japon, Cité Internationale Universitaire, Paris, France
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