Measure

 

Play with measurements: reacquaint yourself with feet and leagues (if only to make it easier to read Stendhal, Dumas or Jules Verne); try to get for once and for all a clear idea of what a nautical mile is (and by the same token a knot); remember that a journal is a unit of space, it’s the surface area a labourer can work in a day.

Georges Perec, Species of Spaces

 

Just over two hundred and fifty years ago two men, Pierre-François-André Méchain and Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre travelled from Dunkirk to Barcelona to measure an arc of the earth’s surface in order to establish a universal unit of measure free of the imperfections of human dimensions. A length of exactly one ten millionth of the quarter meridian would define their universal ideal, which would be verifiable anywhere in the world. But as with all terrestrial affairs, our globe is not spherical and the metre could only be an approximation. But no matter, the search for the universal unit of measure had taken root in the Enlightenment imagination and ever more abstract definitions have been used to define the metre, the latest in 1983, as the distance travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458th of a second.

 

As architects we need not testify personally to the reliability of such definitions but nevertheless the concept of measure is at the centre of architectural production and experience.

 

In this elective we shall reacquaint ourselves with measure as a product of human experience in a series of actions or situations in order to measure ourselves in relation to each other and our environment. We shall use our great number as the primary instrument of measure and reflect on how relations of human experience and scientific faith has shaped our world and how we operate within it.

 

We ask you only to participate in as large a number as we can gather. Join us on Monday between 15h and 17h dressed for outdoor (rain or shine) for a series of practical exercises and personal reflections. We will not always meet at the same place, so every Sunday there will be an e-mail describing the following Monday's meeting point. All sessions have to be attended in order to gain credit for this elective.

 

Repair

Repair 

The world constantly decays. Moisture gets in. Damp hangs around. Ice expands joints. Surfaces wear thin. Particles fall out of suspension. Materials rot. Insects breed. Animals chew. All kinds of wildlife war with all kinds of fabric. Humans make errors.

Stephen Graham & Nigel Thrift

 

One scratch is called damage. A thousand scratches is called patina. The idea of repair is virtually invisible in contemporary architectural practice and completely absent from critical discourse, yet ironically it is the very process which sustains the discipline and leaves traces of human existence. The elective will examine the invisible back-room of the contemporary city, the systems of repair which sustain the architectural and urban fields. Using analysis, documentary and physical intervention, we shall examine the boundaries of production (i.e. architecture and urban design) and oscillation between decay and repair. It may be assumed that in a city such as Zurich, which prides itself on the efficiency and effectiveness of urban infrastructure, that repair does not form a central part of its visible metabolism. The relative invisibility of repair is a veil over an extremely productive system of renewal and even innovation.

 

repair_post_box2

 

You will be asked to find either a site or infrastructural network which bears witness, either explicitly or implicitly to the symbiotic relationship between physical being decay and repair; to document the traces of failure and history. The broad structure of the elective will require you to find a topic, a site and a process.

Submission
A document describing the topic, field analysis (drawings and/or photography or film), the process, research and intervention.

Measure

Measure 

Play with measurements: reacquaint yourself with feet and leagues (if only to make it easier to read Stendhal, Dumas or Jules Verne); try to get for once and for all a clear idea of what a nautical mile is (and by the same token a knot); remember that a journal is a unit of space, it’s the surface area a labourer can work in a day.

Georges Perec, Species of Spaces

 

Measure_semper

 

Just over two hundred and fifty years ago two men, Pierre-François-André Méchain and Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre travelled from Dunkirk to Barcelona to measure an arc of the earth’s surface in order to establish a universal unit of measure free of the imperfections of human dimensions. A length of exactly one ten millionth of the quarter meridian would define their universal ideal, which would be verifiable anywhere in the world. But as with all terrestrial affairs, our globe is not spherical and the metre could only be an approximation. But no matter, the search for the universal unit of measure had taken root in the Enlightenment imagination and ever more abstract definitions have been used to define the metre, the latest in 1983, as the distance travelled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458th
of a second.

 

Measure

 

As architects we need not testify personally to the reliability of such definitions but nevertheless the concept of measure is at the centre of architectural production and experience.

 

In this elective we shall reacquaint ourselves with measure as a product of human experience in a series of actions or situations in order to measure ourselves in relation to each other and our environment. We shall use our great number as the primary instrument of measure and reflect on how relations of human experience and scientific faith has shaped our world and how we operate within it.

Measure

 

We ask you only to participate in as large a number as we can gather. Join us on Monday between 15h and 17h dressed for outdoor (rain or shine) for a series of practical exercises and personal reflections. We will not always meet at the same place, so every Sunday there will be an e-mail describing the following Mondays meeting point. All sessions have to be attended in order to gain credit for this elective.