The SCIBE London team were invited by the RIBA to run the first ever student workshop as part of the annual RIBA Research Symposium, which this year looked at housing retrofit. Jeremy and Deljana ran a day-long workshop with fifteen students, taking a Erno Goldfinger tower block as the starting point. After a quick exercise that exposed the limitations of approaching retrofit through normal design methods, the students broke into four groups (briefing, design, occupation, construction). This was based on the premise that under conditions of scarcity, creativity needs to be deployed at all stages of the production of the built environment, and not just limited (as it increasingly is) to the ‘design’ stage. The four groups were asked to come up with three instructions for retrofit under conditions of scarcity, which were then passed to the preceding group who developed three actions. This resulted in clear and radical proposals, which were much more complex and strategic than the original design exercise. Finally the students were invited to come up with a single statement, that collectively formed a ‘Scarcity Manifesto.’ We were genuinely overwhelmed with the quality and intensity of the ideas that came out of this short exercise, suggesting that scarcity thinking has wide implications for architectural education. The day is summarised in the presentation Jeremy made to the RIBA (beware, big 10MB file).
Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment
A Research Project funded by HERA