critic: Ferda KOLATAN.
assistant instructor: Michael ZIMMERMAN.
This project investigates the hidden potentialities of informal settlements in Cairo through five distinct speculations. Each of these speculations departs from a real condition and develops a fictitious narrative outlining possible tactical maneuvers to either improve the situation at hand or to see it in a different, more empowering light.
Our premise was driven by the following questions: If we were to strip away all preconceived connotations of informal urbanism, what would we actually see? Where would we locate architectural qualities (be they performative or aesthetic) inherent in the dynamic material activities of informality? And how could we produce unprecedented architectures without having to venture outside the “real” of the current situation?
The five resulting fictions touch on emergent real estate markets and urban revitalization in “Realist Estate and Conglomerate Urbanism,” on the transformative ecology of garbage collection in “Conveyor House,” on the utilization of left-over spaces in “The Highway’s Underbelly,” on a new urban territories enabled through infrastructure in “Inverted Bazaar of Maspero,” and on a reclusive event space in “The Vault.” All five fictions are intended to be specific in their design yet prototypical in their application.
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“Real Fictions” was developed by the Design Research Studio of Prof. Ferda Kolatan at PennDesign/Architecture and exhibited in the Egyptian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016.
Student Team: Fan Cao, Dunbee Choi, Joseph Giampietro, Heng Gu, Yanghui Huang, Hyemi Kang, Grace Kim, Brett Lee, Rachel Lee, Hadeel Mohammad, Chi Zhang, and Xinju Zhang.