How to teach architecture? On The Architecture Player we are glad to announce a series of strips on the theme of the students’ workshops: starting with the Copenhagen Architecture Festival Summer School (CAFx), through the Domaine de Boisbuchet and the Strelka Institute (for the series The New Normal: The New Arctic), let’s dive deep into a new field of experimentation, where architecture meets video through a wide range of different educative approaches.
Not all schools are the same, not all approaches are the same: the goal of our exploration is to capture glimpses of the most inspiring architecture workshops that take advantage of the use of the video medium. Then, if CAFx Summer School focalizes on the interactions between the body and the space and on how to facilitate connections between people in a small Danish town, Strelka Institution allows Liam Young and Nathan Su tutoring students in the Siberian city of Magadan, where students captured the sense of the "New Arctic" in the time of progressive automation of work. Results of both workshops are a series of videos, either collectively made or by architects turned video makers.
The Boisbuchet's case is different, though: here video is used to maintain a trace of the ephemeral quality of the wide range of workshops that take place every summer in the Domaine de Boisbuchet. Videos are here directed by professional authors and retrace the various phases of each workshop, adapting their narrative to the vibe and the nature of the subject and the teacher. From wood design to landscape architecture ("Niwa - A new garden for the Japanese House"), from drone and shells ("Future Earthen Dwellers") to material robotics ("Autonomous Timber Structures") and self-forming construction ("Interior Wildness"), Domaine de Boisbuchet has selected for The Architecture Player a series of videos from its 2018 summer school edition.
Each video is equipped with a review, written by The Architecture Player's editor Sara Marzullo, that investigates the whys and hows of the single workshop, enlighting their singular features, in order to make the link between the subject and the documentation evident to the reader. Using the search engine on The Architecture Player is possible to watch more videos from the Domaine de Boisbuchet, including the ones from the Ila Bêka- Louise Lemoine's workshop at La Datcha by Alexander Brodsky (such as "House of Eternity” by Valentina Cafarotti and Maria Fernanda Valdés), located in the architectural park within the Domaine.
Let’s hear about the Boisbuchet’s teaching program, in the words of its director Mathias Schwartz-Clauss:
THE DOMAINE DE BOISBUCHET is an international center for design, architecture and applied arts, in the southwest of France founded in 1989 by cultural entrepreneur, museum director and collector Alexander von Vegesack, parallel to his direction of the Vitra Design Museum. The Domaine de Boisbuchet is a unique place of research, creation and mediation in all fields of applied arts and sciences. Here, the way to work becomes a way to live – mindful, innovative, and responsible. Design at Boisbuchet is a practical, social and individual experience. We are cross-linked regarding disciplines and an international network but independent of political or economic control, constantly fostering new approaches and including the richness of all cultures.
Our week-long workshops are tutored by internationally renowned practitioners and attended by participants from all over the world. While about half of them are students and the other half are professionals, they all aim to experience real case problem-solving working alongside the most innovative designers, architects and artists. The program offers workshops combining product, interior, and lighting design, craft and architecture, choreography, scenography, curating, landscape, bionics, architecture, yoga, food design, film, and sculptural installation. Boisbuchet's 150-hectare estate allows the hands-on realization of all kinds of projects inside our many buildings, including a 19th-century Chateau, as well as in the outdoors with forests pasture, lakes and the river Vienne.
CHALLENGES TO IDENTIFY, tackle problems and gaining new insights are always met in an atmosphere of individual freedom and social solidarity. This is an ideal environment to develop one's own critical view and authentic creativity and therefore some of the world's best universities and companies are joining our workshops. At Boisbuchet they find concrete practice alongside distinguished experts in un-competitive freedom that no academic or business context can allow.
VIDEOGRAPHY IS NOT JUST an occasionally included discipline of our workshop program, it has a permanent and important role at Boisbuchet. The ephemeral nature of our workshops makes the use of video an obvious way to document and archive the activities. At the same time, the recordings allow us to create attractive communication and didactic material for further education. Each year, different video-makers from all over the world are invited in order to shoot the action with a personal and singular perspective. That way, each year's documentation has its own unique handwriting and each film becomes a key element in the creative process of Domaine de Boisbuchet.
This video is part of a series on the Domaine de Boisbuchet’s workshops. The Domaine de Boisbuchet is an international center for design, architecture and applied arts, in the southwest of France founded in 1989. Find more videos following the tag #Boisbuchet.
Tutored by architects Stephanie Chaltiel and Shameel Muhammed, the "Future Earthen Dwellers" workshop took place in the month of August of 2018. The challenge for the participants was to build a permanent inhabitable vault structure – entirely made of local natural materials but using novel robotic fabrication principles – in only 5 days.
The video, briefly, summons the various stages of the project and the overall atmosphere of both cooperation and enthusiasm of the participants for the techniques used: in fact, these two responses synthesize well the characteristics of the two architects in charge of the "Future Earthen Dwellers"' workshop.
Stephanie Chaltiel began her career in French Guyana and Mexico developing innovative sustainable housing technique using local material, fabricated by hand with local dwellers. She practiced at Bernard Tschumi in New York and OMA, and then taught in London at the Architectural Association London, where, paired with her experience at Zaha Hadid, she learned about the latest parametric and digital fabrication techniques. Chaltiel has been one of the selected Innochain researchers (Marie Curie Horizon 2020 funding) and is currently based at IAAC and UPC Barcelona: the “Future Earthen Dwellers” experience itself is funded by the Marie Curie EU program and being developed at IAAC in Barcelona.
On the other hand, Shameel Muhammed, principal of Studio 7, also worked for Zaha Hadid in London. Aggregate at GCPIA - India, he taught also about "Collaborative and engaged practice", which is an essential characteristic of the experiences promoted at Boisbuchet.
The video, directed by Alex Harrison and Diego Delgado, recounts the building of the structure and the efforts of the participants in constructing the shell and creating the coverage, made with textile bags filled with earth. However, the most surprising appearance here is the professional drone pilot, that sprayed - along with the participants that through a double remote controlled speed and pressure of the clay's application - 3 types of coatings (depending on the level of viscosity and density of fibers) on the structure, creating an impressive choreography.
Harrison and Delgado are here able to present a project while it is still being completed, putting the focus on the cooperation mechanisms and on how an idea becomes reality. Working on a project entirely made of natural and poor materials, they are able to convey the materiality of them, while, of course, letting us enjoy the drone choreography.