Mind/hand and the habitat as critical statement


The workshop will explore traditions and appropriation of ideas of sustainability, heritage and energy with leading thinkers and experts, in the exotic and extreme setting of Iceland.

Participants get hands-on experience with basic natural building materials - turf, stone, clay, wind and water - in the context of critical theory.

We will examine the tactile qualities of various materials from the point of view of the participants´ own experiences, background and notions of sustainability, contemporary architectural and three-dimensional practice and possibilities.

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What do archaism, amnesia and anarchy have in common in relation to architecture? Are such approaches relevant conceptions of sustainable architecture, traditional building methods and contemporary design orientation? What are the roles of the hand and the body in a dialogue with such critical examination?

These questions will be explored along with .construction assignments that are comprised of hands-on methods with available local and somewhat unique materials, such as turf or sod, lava rock, basalt, clay / straw, and the utility of corrugated iron and timber. These assignments are grounded in the vernacular traditions of the Icelandic turf house with an emphasis on three particular themes or problematized aspects: 




The aesthetic qualities and relevance of recycled materials, such as glass bottles, scrap metal, wood, paper, plastics and rubber, will be critically explored. The questions of sustainability, import and waste in the critical context of availability and re-appropriation in the context of traditional / vernacular and contemporary architecture will be explored.


(Liquidity) Water:


The liquidity of modernity and theories thereof in terms of architecture will be explored with emphasis on parallels and subversions of water, hot and cold. Water as a natural phenomenon will be treated as an architectural and design substance on the grounds of its tactile, aesthetic and nurturing qualities.


(Cybernetic) Energy, scale - and spirit:


The complexity of architectural systems (social, political, energy) and the question of scale in the context of sustainability are issues that play a central role under the extreme local conditions. Solar (or lack thereof) and wind energy and abundant hydro- and geothermal powers are challenged in the context of the leaping scales of distances in a scarcely populated country. The question of energy-systems is ever-present and multifaceted.