This post was written by Andrea Paoletti
A screen shot of Alexa Getting project designed in CCA Fall studio 2010. A vision into the future of the Golden Bear Building on University Avenue, San Francisco. It was given an AIA award in Spring 2011.
Always expect the unexpected. And I will start a new adventure. It will be an interesting experiment, I will be involved via skype in the CCA Spring studio Fluid Working, that focuses on comprehensive building design. Margaret Ikeda and Evan Jones are adjunct professors of architecture at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and they invited me to be part of that in an innovative way. We think it will be fun to try and set up a new way for me to be part of a studio review using the internet. We will have face to face times plus we will use a drop box where we will share the work at everyone convenience (there is a 9 hours time change from San Francisco and Milan) and leave comments. The architectural studio focuses on sustainable and innovation projects in the bay area. The Hub business model will be the ideal starting point for new architectural explorations in order to investigate varying spatial possibilities and designs of what the office, now, might be. The context of the studio is:
The evolving systems of information technology and the ascension of carbon as a global currency are challenging architecture as a spatial practice. Information technology is dematerializing the traditional office of fixed walls, desks, and paper. Hand-held electronic devices and the shift towards cloud computing now allow for the dispersal of the production cycle across a new digital workspace transcending geographical boundaries. Prioritizing the electron over the atom enables the efficiency of the virtual office. This distinction puts an ever increasing demand for a new infrastructure of external data centers to store electronic information, which is doubling every two years. It has also supported the emergence of a new typology of co-working. Co-working suggests a plurality of possibilities for re-materializing new office spaces. Workspaces, under this model, are not assigned but occupied in ephemeral ways and in a more diverse array of spaces akin to urban neighborhoods. Shared spaces exemplify a more efficient way of utilizing resources at the scale of a building as well as the larger context of the city.
The studio will focus on the materialization of these new paradigms within the context of San Francisco’s historic Mission Creek which was a navigable waterway leading into a dock at Division Street, now 16th. Subsequent infrastructures onto the site, of a railway and a modern freeway, form a rich history of overlapping systems. The method of the studio will be to uncover opportunities to develop office space within a new digital urban infrastructure incorporating the ecological and circulatory flows of the city. The re-materialization of the office will concentrate on European high-performance precedents of wood construction techniques as the manifestation of more carbon neutral building systems. The overarching aim is to understand the urban context as a series of flows within which a transformative architectural paradigm is infused.
Two interesting questions asked: has the HUB found a need to design its own building in any city? Or would the formalization of a building conflict with the fluid nature of the HUB business model?