Studio 28

With/In Antarctic Extremes

Miranda Nieboer

Studio Description

At the core of this research by design studio lies Antarctica as one of the most extreme environments on Earth, with its everchanging icescape and its dynamic environmental forces.

Within the studio the overarching questions which the students will aim to address are:
- How can the Antarctic material conditions and environmental forces reinform our understanding of site specific design?
- How can Antarctica help us in rethinking architectural conventions when we listen to the continent and take its material and climatic conditions into account?
- What architectures can be developed when attending to Antarctica and embracing the notions of change, unpredictability, urgency and contingency?

In other words the students are encouraged to think and shape spatial propositions that embrace and care for a glacial thinking. Instead of a passive white empty screen or canvas, Antarctica acts here in this studio as a critical and dynamic environment for alternative architectures.

Studio Outcomes

Instead of visiting Antarctica, the studio will welcome in the first half of the semester (inter)national experts who can testify firsthand of the continent. These multiple perspectives from different fields, such as research, logistics, support, and medicine invite the students to look beyond the boundaries of the architectural discipline. Additionally, the digital tool Quantarctica (open access) provides Antarctic geographical, environmental, climatic, and glaciological datasets and visualisations that will form the basis of a site-analysis.

Through an in depth knowledge of the site, additional reading, and the student’s own research interest, a brief or program will be developed. Each student will individually propose a spatial concept and present a preliminary design during the midterm review.

The second half of the semester continues to have its focus on the design and includes an individual technical elaboration which involves the structure and detailing of the student’s architectural proposition. This process will be supported by engineering consultancy sessions. Students are encouraged to conduct their research through a wide range of experiments which include physical and digital models, sketches, drawings, and montages.

Studio Leader

Miranda Nieboer is an affiliated IMAS researcher in spatial and cultural studies. She has a background in Architecture and Building Engineering. Miranda was a practicing architect in the Netherlands and has been researching, exhibiting, and lecturing on human inhabitation in extreme environments for more than 20 years. For her research into Antarctic interiors Miranda joined a logistical Antarctic traverse to Concordia Station located in the continental interior. This expedition enabled her to develop an embodied understanding of inhabiting Antarctica. With an interdisciplinary approach her research builds bridges between different research disciplines that investigate the southernmost continent.

Readings & References

We will start with reading these three papers:

  • Brooks, Shaun T., et al. “Our Footprint on Antarctica.” Nature Sustainability 190, no. 2 (2019): 185–190.
  • Hemmings, Alan D. “Why Did We Get an International Space Station Before an International Antarctic Station?” The Polar Journal 1, no. 1 (2011): 5–16.
  • Wylie, John. “Becoming-Icy: Scott and Amundsen’s South Polar Voyages, 1910–1913.” Cultural Geographies 9 (2002): 249-265.

An additional list with recommended papers and videos will be provided to students in week 1. To bring Antarctica closer to home the studio will also involve guest lectures from Antarctic experts.

Schedule Mondays and Thursdays 09:00-12:00 Online

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