The Global Summer School (GSS) is a platform defined by ambitious, multiscalar investigation into the implications of emergent techniques on our planned environments. Each year, international teams located in key cities around the globe explore a common agenda with projects that are deeply embedded in diverse local conditions. Because of this, participants have an international laboratory to test their design hypothesis, understanding how design conclusions derived locally can be tested and evolved globally in different cities where other teams reside. This intensive two week course connects each participant to ongoing research agendas in robotics, simulation, physical computing, parametric design, digital fabrication, and other relevant emerging design methodologies. Specific emphasis is placed on understanding the multiscalar implications of design conclusions, thus creating critical research advanced on the application of new technologies in design.
The 2015 ‘Urban Protocols’ global agenda seeks specific strategies for constructing our future cities. The agenda questions the urban planning methodologies of the 20th century and proposes a series of new priorities to consider when growing the next phase of our urban and suburban territories. How can we consider the recolonization of urban spaces which are now the result of antiquated priorities and at the same time negotiate the current forces driving the growth or decay of cities? This question will be asked in a variety of urban case studies with the desire to generate a series of proposals which are contextually, temporally, economically, and culturally relevant. From another scale, we have to recognize the urgent necessity to radically rethink the manner in which we fabricate our habitat at an architectural level. Spatially we have to reconsider materiality, tectonic logics, and temporality if we are to change the relationship between environmental decay and architecture.
What occurs when the very materiality we use to construct our built environment becomes a system of communication between a building and its inhabitants? This exciting propositions calls into question the very definition of a wall, a window, and any other constructive or spatial element. Suddenly any of these once inanimate objects now have multiple functions, straddling between an understood necessity for creating space and an agent of information with potentials to explore. The Responsive Built Environments theme builds on several years of research and experience at IaaC on physical computing and responsive environments.
How can we orchestrate a balance between the ‘unbuilt’ environment and our future constructions? Is it realistic to plan for the renaturalization of certain urban spaces and can this process be enhanced by a robotic agent that adds a layer of communication between the natural colonization and the existing urban elements? In the short term, we can imagine this process to be instigated by large scale urban farms operating autonomously through robotic agents which are capable of actuating as the needs of the farm change. The ‘Urban Robotic Farming’ theme is a continuation of ongoing research into autonomous robotic fabrication enhanced at IaaC.
Does a territory communicate its necessities? If so, how can we understand these dynamics, and how can we act and evaluate the response? Unmanned Aerial Vehicles offer a unique opportunity for understanding territorial dynamics on a scale more intimate than readily available satellite aerial images. Through their intervention, we can investigate new data horizons and arrive at a multidimensional understanding of a territory. There are further opportunities with UAVs beyond just reading site dynamics. Through a heightened awareness of territorial dynamics, we can generate new flight paths based on remediation campaigns to precisely deliver material or information to the territory, effectively tying together a communication cycle which aids in large scale land management. The ‘Territorial Computing’ theme is part of an ongoing research at IaaC which seeks to apply passive and autonomous protocols in the field of land management in large nature preserves.