Power – The Energy Bonanza

The politics and economics of renewable energy are society’s contemporary topicality par excellence; a market-driven urgency around which some of the most unabashed politicized lobbying is performed.

However, the technological savvy of wind, solar, hydro, tidal, geothermal, and biomass energy hold – without exception – no fundamental spatial intelligence. These technologies are commonly applied onto the most efficient territories or structures available. The spatial output is residual and secondary. The juxtaposition of all these individual decisions clutters exponentially the limited space at hand. Moreover policy guidelines related to the spatial application of renewable energy are chiefly defensive, passive and reluctant in their ambition. Behind this political lassitude lies – amongst others – a fundamental shortage of spatial and architectural imagination on how these new technologies can strengthen and steer near-future metropolitan landscapes.

For the 2016 fall semester we will focus on the social and spatial possibilities of massive energy production in dense and socially challenged areas; investigating how architectural strategies of energetic abundance can produce unseen yet fruitful concepts for metropolitan cohabitation. Our first testing site will be Brussels.

As a studio we are interested in educating future architects who understand that architecture is by definition a political practice, and that the architect must become a vigorous policy-whisperer, if anything.

Poster_Studio Swinnen