Calculated indolence

September 19, 2018

HKH - Line Drawing 005

 

Calculated indolence on the part of the architect … produces great work by others
– Cedric Price

 

Africa is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, their infrastructure is not developing with the same pace. According to Fosters + Partners, only 1/3 of Africa’s population lives within 2 km of an ‘all-season road’ and these roads can often be in terrible conditions. As an opportunity to leapfrog Africa’s infrastructure ahead, ‘africanist’ Johnathan Ledgard saw an opportunity in the emerging drone technologies. Ledgard and his many partners are investigating the opportunity to use the airspace above the hostile terrain to transport goods between towns and villages in Africa. One of his partners; Norman Foster, has been leading the process of developing a concept for a place where the drones can land to be re-stocked, re-charged etc. Together with MIT, EPFL and other universities Foster + Partners have created the Drone Port. A conceptual idea of a simple structure that is acting as a hub and support system to the drone traffic.

The architecture of the Drone Port is simple vault structures constructed by the local community using local materials. It almost sounds absurd that multiple great organisations like MIT, ETH, EPFL, Fosters + Partners and more has been involved in a project that ended up in such a simple structure. However, I believe this is where Cedric Price’s quote about the Architect’s indolence should be remembered. The architecture of the Drone Port is deliberately designed as a mere framework which the community can inhabit and change however they see fit. The idea is that the community; people of different ages and gender will to some degree take ownership of the spaces and the place created by the architecture. The users are meant to adapt the construction to their needs and therefore create a place which is more than just an infrastructural hub. I suppose you can also draw parallels to many of Price’s unbuilt ideas, i.e. the Fun palace, a ‘framework’, designed to be altered by and adapted to the user. Keller Easterling describes his architecture like this: His constructions were essentially choreographies of human and non-human actors unfolding over time. One can argue that the Drone Port allows for more important choreographies to take place than the ones imagined by Cedric Price in his Fun palace.

Task 1 // Henrik Holte

 

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