Temples of the Periphery, 2020-21
3rd year Arch Design Studio
University of Technology Sydney
Subject coordinator: Guillermo Fernández-Abascal

Studio leader with Jack Cooper

Every other day we read that more than half of the  world’s population lives in cities. Highly densified urban environments occupy our imaginations, but in reality, most people live in the suburbs. This phenomena is amplified in Australia. In fact Sydney is pure suburbia; it is all we’ve got.

The temples of the periphery articulate a new postanthropocenic civic strategy; they produce urbanity as well as absorb it from their immediate context. They attempt to organize the outer context’s overabundance of information in a crystalized architectural form. As a consequence, it is not always about beauty. Yet, at the same time, it is only about beauty – and sometimes even about the possibility of a contemporary monumentality.
These infrastructural systems preserve the facade from the influence of the interior layout and avoid a strictly functionalist approach. The design of the facade is a major concern – something that will occup an important part of the semester - involving all our technical skills and the best part of our imagination. Both ambiguous and overambitious, the traditional architect’s repertoire is no longer able to provide the means to negotiate the multiply fields that coalesce in infrastructure. A new set of tools is required to straddle science and culture and mediate technical and social aspects of infrastructure.

The studio proposals are defined by robust political agendas, strong territorial gestures, convincing contextual approaches, majestic formal strategies, sophisticated appropriations of architectural precedents, obstinate spatial tactics, simple organizational schemes, clear structural systems and banal technical details. The architecture of infrastructure scrutinizes the performative role, financial logic, ecological repercussions, civic value and aesthetic impacts of the temples of today.