Terratories, Maps, Colonies, Saprophites. A note for students of architecture, if there are any.

Having ceased to exist as a distinct geographical and phenemenological experience, the contemporary city is now exhausted of traditional significations. What remains of urban experience is prefigured by the form and force of the media message. The city, per se, has lost its signifying power to the media spectacle, becoming mute and inarticulate as its historical meanings are appropriated and re-cast.
To this extent modern city form is a hollow memory of historical and geographical distinctions: a simulation of relationships constituted by palpable regional differences which have since ceased to exist. Only the formal signifiers of territorial and geographical differences remain. And remain to be ultimately colonised.
The modern city signifies the location of global power-capital as spectacular figure. The totalising figures of the city; its signifying moments, are the nodes between which ‘unlocated’ institutions situate themselves. The points at which urban values are appropriated. Only the continued ‘siting’ of institutions within this net of significations maintains the the value of the city per se. Without this colonization and without the support of the media spectacle itself the city as figure would fragment.
Geographical contiguity of urban functions in the city has been rendered increasingly unnecessary by the proliferation of media and communications technologies and by the continuing move towards a service based economy. A free association and interchangeability of building uses is now possible and immanent within the existing city hulk.
Appropriating existing buildings of note the unit will examine the possibilities of operating within this degree zero urban context. Students will be invited to propose a comprehensive extension /reuse of the general bulk of the appropriated building as an intrusive addition.
Proposals will take the form of an intervention which seeks to explore the possibilities for colonising both interior and exterior parts of the building as well as existing services and structures. Disparate programmes will be grafted on to the host body in order to examine the possibilities of radically altering territorial values, enriching social mix and extending the disposition of contiguous uses.


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