suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
olya PISKUN: This project argues for the reprogramming of urban construction infrastructure based on a localized response to nomadic networks of workers in Dubai. In recent years, globalization has led to increased levels of migrant construction workers around the world. Migrant construction workers in Dubai account for fifty percent of the working class in the United Arab Emirates. However, all expatriates in Dubai, even those born in Dubai, are on short-term, renewable visas, living in overcrowded conditions.
This project explores the potential for architecture to accommodate the flexible and ephemeral nature of nomadic populations in newly urbanized areas such as the UAE.
The process of generating urban nomadic scaffolding creates a symbiosis between the nomadic construction workers and the infrastructure required in the process of building construction, as a social and spatial urban experience. Within this symbiotic process, the nomads co-exist with the host infrastructure enabling, them to both activate and create the city’s infrastructure. As a result of this co-existence, urban nomadic scaffolding is not only involved in the construction, but also participates in its evolution. The process introduces additional infrastructure necessary for the workers self-sufficiency, such as access to water and social spaces. Subsequently, some aspects of this infrastructure remain embedded in the architecture after the completion of construction as a trace of the workers’ presence. This trace transforms itself into a social space available to all workers of the city.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
oP: Poor conditions of migrant constructions workers in Dubai, Robotics Revolution, Plug-in City by Archigram, Swarm Intelligence, Hawkins’s Theory on Intelligent Machines.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
oP: Jeff Hawkins’s On intelligence, Nicolai Ouroussoff’s “Building Museums, and a Fresh Arab Identity,” Andrew Benjamin’s “Parasitism in Architecture,” and Sanford Kwinter’s Far from equilibrium: essays on technology and design culture.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
oP: The fashion designer Hussein Chalayan.
Additional credits and links:
Nataly Gattegno, my fabulous thesis adviser.