As part of radically changing geopolitical relationships at a global scale, tensions of a nationalistic and protectionist nature arise increasingly, often affecting the actual built environment we use and inhabit. As more nations, regions, cities or neighborhoods discuss how to close their borders and restrict access for the ones they might not know, changes occur at an immediate architectural level, where we see more and higher fences, more walls or multiple security-checks appear, while high resolution video surveillance and high-tech face recognition systems are in place 24/7, restricting access to the general public, and this way also eroding the public realm. The future of architecture is defined by its way of dealing with accessibility and permeability.
The master dissertation project within the Streetscape Territories framework (KU Leuven, Faculty of Architecture, academic year 2018-2019) will focus on the challenged accessibility and permeability in architectural landscapes and focus this year (after previously working on post-industrial landscapes in Brooklyn 2013-2018) on the site around the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States.
The idea is to develop and design an alternative architectural model for an open embassy, working within the hypothesis that a new Embassy would be built within the United Nations area, specifically for citizens that are denied access to certain countries, refugees, displaced ethnic groups, unheard minority groups etc. The building would be conceived as a fully collective space and as an extension of the surrounding streetscapes. Soon we will start developing the projects! Stay tuned!