Starting studio work as a Y6 student is a strange feeling.
It has to be the transition from participating in a live project with real clients, executed in real time, to going back to a mode of work which is almost completely removed from a sense of belonging.
With the end of the Live Projects questions about the legacy of these projects and the role of the architect arise (you can find more about this educational initiative at SSoA’s website: http://www.ssoa.group.shef.ac.uk). What is the true legacy of a Live project which only lasts six weeks? What is the true legacy of a project which quite literally disconnects architecture students from the clients and the community after the culmination of the project? It is inevitable, in order to accommodate the needs of the academic calendar and the RIBA validation (checklist), Live Projects need to give way to other modules and studio work. However, isn’t this rupture of communication almost antithetical to the School’s philosophy of the architect being an active member of a community?
Moving into studio, how ‘live’ can my education continue to be? What will be my role in the community in which Studio 07 is based upon? Should I, a future architect, be situated in that community? Often I wonder how can I utilise the skills I have developed over the years without being an “expert”? How can architects work together, and not in a feel good sort of way, really work with a community, and create a bottom-up view of a place? How do we maintain a sense of real time and liveliness in the process of creating spaces and social interactions?
Should architects be physically, emotionally, and mentally present in a community?
If so, what role do we assume and how do we influence decision making on a local scale? Should architects consolidate themselves on a site, in a community, empowering its people and facilitating conversations between stakeholders?
What do we gain from setting more (a)live practices?
What do we have to offer to communities through a more (a)live collaboration?