COURSE RATIONALE


Toolbox;  Course Methodologies & References
‘Performance Architecture’ is designed to enable participants to extend their spatial awareness, exercise critical thinking and enhance their portfolio with an alternative approach. The tuition is primarily focusing on the active engagement of the participants and hands on project based work. This is achieved with a mixed programme of lectures, physical (body and mind) workshops, study visits to various sites, individual and collaborative work, presentations and peer reviews that include both performance and spatial learning.

We will be working with image composition methodologies, movement improvisation exercises, site specific practices to challenge our bodies as a response to a selected site. We will be touching upon the theories of the ‘Dérive’, the ‘Space of Flows’, ‘Performativity’, the ‘Expanding Theatre’, the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, ‘Laban Movement Analysis’, et.c. in order to incorporate the everyday life in Athens’ dynamic urban landscape into a performative piece of work. In the core teachings of this course, we celebrate the idea that the whole world can be seen as a stage -Theatrum Mundi- where borders between performance and real life are blurred.

Study areas will include:
  • Theory; Architecture, Urbanism, Site-Specific Art, Performance Art; discussions on key works, concepts & methods.
  • Space-movement exercises; Activating senses and the embodied spatial awareness.
  • Introduction to composing / ‘shaping a concept’
  • Using the body as a tool to understand, measure and design the space
  • Observations; rhythmic motives within our bodies, within the city, choreographing the city, ‘directing’ everyday life
  • Sketching with movement and embodying the sketch
  • Identification of key architectural elements and their socio political affiliations through the use of performance art; scale, thresholds, viewpoints, trajectories
  • Understanding how we can radicalize action and transform it into a design thinking

Theory: What is Performance Architecture
‘Performance Architecture’ is an innovative direction of the architectural discipline originating as a term since 2006. It focuses on the sensorial and experiential elements of space and applies the interaction of space and bodies as a methodology for designing. Classes of ‘Performance Architecture’ have recently been incorporated in the curriculum of prestigious architectural colleges, such as the Architectural Association and the UCL Bartlett schools in London, UK.

This pathway of architecture deviates from the traditional role of a master architect who produces sculptural objects for a neutral user, and instead engages emotionally as well as cognitively with a participatory, dynamic improvisation between active individuals (a community) with the surrounding environment (space, community). The role of the architect is that of the storyteller, using the vocabulary of people’s actions; The human body is seen as a drawing, thinking, making, sculpting and cognitive tool, producing notational sketches in the duration of space; Space is considered as an extension of our bodies and our bodies as an extension of space. In both small and large scale, from a room to the city, humans are shaping their environment and are being shaped by it.

Engaging with the city
The city of Athens is a vast terrain for inspiration and action. We will be introducing the compositional approach ‘Site-Specific Outdoor’ where the space constitutes the prima material of the work and the concept derives from an interactive dialogue with the site, allowing it to form its content, research and evolution. Engaging with the city and performance, we will expand our thinking bodies in the urban landscape and merge with the mundane and exciting everyday life.