S.E.A. (Sustainability + Everyday Architecture)
S.E.A. is an architecture course based on relational design that takes architectural elements as its main target and the Mediterranean Sea as its context.
We do speak about the relational because of the need of highlighting this quality that is obvious yet not evident. This course states DESIGN is setting multiple relationships between the different layers of reality that form the context within it operates: the social, the cultural, the political, the economical, the environmental, the personal, etc. In fact, design makes all these relationships evident through the object’s figuration itself. On the other hand, this extended and complex understanding of Reality is the one defining our concept of Sustainability in Architecture as well as its contemporary condition.
Following this conviction, the course assumes the following thesis: “Design ability is directly related with the ability to restitute and scrutinize Reality.”
For this reason, the motive force of architectural creativity, innovation and critique has always been a detailed description of Reality. This was the case of Close City (2009-2010), Urban Tribes (2010-2011) and W.A.T.C.H. (2012-14). In Close City the architectural object to be refigured was a pile of micro-places where the “ordinary” was collectively celebrated (Supermarket, Pharmacy, Tennis Club, Gay Sauna, etc.); in Urban Tribes it was a handful of some “extraordinary” forms of collective subjectivity from certain groups of people (Mods, Darks, Emos, Otakus, etc.); in W.A.T.C.H. it was about spaces of conflict and existing controversies within the city. In all of them, the reality context was kind of “self-imposed” by the city of Alicante. In the same way, they were all refigured in other architectures: in Close City and Urban Tribes they became cities for 10.000 inhabitants and single-family town houses respectively while in W.A.T.C.H. they became new municipal policies through low-cost strategies.
In S.E.A. the objects to refigure into other architectures are those architectural elements that determine everyday situations of a great cultural subjectivity: the window, the louver, the chimney, the door, the courtyard, the lattice… In this case the context moves from the city of Alicante to the territory defined by the Mediterranean Sea.
In a second phase the course strives to set complex relationships between these architectural elements, the situations created around them and the Mediterranean cultural context. All concepts that may arise after a detailed description of Reality (the social, the conflict, the power, the eroticism, the representation, etc.) must be articulated through and in relation to the architectural elements that enable them. In a third phase, these relationships must be refigured into new architectural objects.
Finally, in a first phase (1st semester) the course is based on an instrumental development where students define a group of architectural strategies that must be characterized by the strategic use of a certain architectural element. For this purpose, plenty of architectural projects have to be analyzed.