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ADS9: Aura - A Call for An Open Architecture

Anna Kokkota

Anna is from Athens, Greece. Moved in London to complete her undergraduate degree in architecture in UEL. During her time back in Greece, she got involved with interior renovation projects in Athens. Then started her masters degree in RCA. 


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Degree Details

School of Architecture

ADS9: Aura - A Call for An Open Architecture

I am mainly driven by unravelling, through in-depth investigation, the social, cultural aspects that define human conditions in both global and local scale. Develop an understanding of the community and user group, through meticulous research, as an integral part that mainly informs the design decisions. In my time in RCA, I had the opportunity to explore and develop an architectural agenda that addressees environmental and human conditions and how they interconnect with each other. Developed a great interest in degrowth movement, depletion of energy resources and speculate unconventional methods of sustainability. Mainly try to question and challenge how to create circumstances that reinforce a highly engaged and collectively aware society. Explore different ways to redefine the norms by speculating alternative lifestyles, that stray away from dictated biased ones. Throughout the projects, speculate on how to encourage the society to embrace new ways of social engagement. Experimented with a series of models that demonstrate in smaller scale, how to create sensorial immersive environments, that formulate a certain experience or event.  

Collecting solar energy — In the middle of the garden is located the major feature of collecting energy resources. The central receiver, in a form of a frail tower, turns the heat into electricity. Reflective mirrors attached to the surrounding veil are angled in order to channel the light to the tower, according to the maximum annual sun exposure.

Transfiguration of energy resources into festive aura — The combination of collection of solar energy and water during the day, formulates the festive aura. The recycled water through the sprinklers that water the plantation will make the air composition quite moist. The solar energy turned into electricity, will radiate direct light from projectors attached to the tower veil ’s, into the iridescent coated mirrors. The mirrors are arranged to direct these reflections in the garden’s surface. These reflections will be transfigured into a series of dense and sparse green iridescent beams scattered across the garden.

Embracing immersive festive aura — At the start of the night festive events across the garden will begin. The iridescent aura formulates the essence of these festive events. An embracing secondary “veil” that completely transforms the scenery in the garden, to celebrate the end of the day, of this unique lifestyle. One that strives to create a feeling of participation and belonging within the city of Barcelona.

The Festive Garden is the centrepiece of celebration of an emerging alternative lifestyle, where all caring and collective exchange of labour and leisure revolve around. The project is situated within the highly dense urban context of Barcelona for Can Masdeau activists, as a reaction from a society resulted by unreasonable consumption of energy, lack of participation and a shared sense of non-belonging in the city.
The garden, is located in the inner centre, enclosed by the collective periphery’s veil. There are 5 patches of land for 4-5 members assigned each day to tend the vegetation. The curvilinear veil’s edge forms around the garden various openings, that allow smaller and larger gatherings to occur there, like different kinds of cultural activities and outdoor collective cooking.
In the very centre of the garden, is located a tower, that collects reflections from iridescent coated mirrors attached to the veil and turns heat into electricity to sustain the community. Then, at the eve of night, festive celebrations across the entirety of the garden begin, as a way to commemorate all these series of collective exchange that happen during the day, within the garden and the collective periphery. The converted collection of energy will create the iridescent aura that formulates the essence of these festive events. An embracing immersive experience of variant flashing light beams that transforms the scenery to celebrate this unique lifestyle.
The collective periphery, protectively embraced by the veil, is located between a series of low-cost housing sectors of 4, 3 and 2 levels and the garden. The veil’s weaving and organic form will provide openness and protection from the heat. Its pattern’s levels of density with openings varying from 5 cm to 1.8 m will offer variable levels of privacy, light, physical and visual access, defining in that way openness. Across the periphery’s length, there are a series of collective rituals of everyday domestic labour and leisure to engage, preserve, prepare and collect like dining, cooking, bathing and washing.
This alternative community is striving to create a hybrid way of living, through the collection of energy resources to be self-reliant and sustain themselves. While at the same time, be more open to the outside forces, by collecting all like-minded and curious visitors to embrace and celebrate for as long as it is desired, from years to fleeting moments, their way of being. The iridescent aura will formulate the very essence of celebrating this emerging feeling of participation and belonging within the city of Barcelona.
activismalternative lifestylebarcelonadegrowthenergy resourcesfestive gardensolar power

Enclosed garden — Across the entire building’s length, in the middle, is located one of the main entrances. There, even from afar, a few glimpses of the central garden, can be seen. Vernacular walls are surrounding the outer edges that face the dense urbanscape, contrasting with the patterned veil that the inner walls are dressed, enclosing the whole garden.

Layers of inhabitation — The building is divided in 3 main layers. The 1st main one is the garden, that reinforces self-reliance, by gathering water from the domestic and collective area’s plumbing system to sustain the garden’s trees and plant, as well as a central receiver to gather solar power. Then, the collective periphery, is covered by an organic shaped veil, that is embracing protectively within, the collective exchange of daily labour and leisure activities like dining, cooking, bathing and washing. Lastly, in the outer edges, there are low-cost housing sectors of 4, 3 and 2 levels.

Collective periphery — In the periphery area enclosed by the veil, for each housing sector, there is a 4 sets of cluster rooms of variable sizes for cooking, bathing and laundry. The rest of the space between these activities is filled with areas for relaxing, exhibiting and dining. On the outer edges of the periphery are rooms for housing the visitors.

Blurred boundaries — In a closer look, the pointing arrows suggest possible ways to enter the periphery, from the garden through the veil’s wide openings. While, inside the periphery, the boundaries between each different domestic activity is blurred. The housing units in the outer edges, as they are for the individual, they are detached from the rest with polycarbonate walls.

Flexible residency — Around the veil’s collective periphery, the individual rooms reside, to provide the ability for each visitor to be part of this lifestyle for as much long it is desired. Some can stay for years, while others can join for one day. Each of the housing sector can host up to 80,60,18 and 24 residents ,184 in total. In each housing unit, there is a set of similar sized rooms to promote equity among residents and flexibility in the inhabitation. Between the balustrades of the houses and the edges of the veil, a connective system is formed.

Veil fabrication technique — The veil is custom-made weaved, from low-cost recycled hardened synthetic fabric. The balustrades are supporting it, through a lightweight structure of wire rods. These wire rods are firmly knotted to the edges of the organic form’s pattern. In that way, a lightweight airy structure to embrace the community’s collective exchange is being composed.

Main entrance — At a close-up human scale, as someone is approaching one of the 2 main entrances of the garden, the continuous ring that the veil is forming, of different levels of visibility and pattern size, is gradually unfolding suggestively before their eyes. There can be found 3-4 of the community members assigned to tend the garden. For each cluster rooms there are a few glimpses of some of the activities that reside within.

Inside communal bath — While being inside in one of the biggest bathing collective areas, since there is less sun exposure, the pattern is enlarged. That gives the ability for more immediate interaction between the garden and this communal area. On the contrary, in one of the cluster rooms seen across, that has one of the smallest communal baths, the permeability there is almost impossible. These comparing differences across the cluster rooms suggest that visitors can choose the how much interactivity with the outdoors can have.

Fabricating aura — An organic form was created with variant weaving density levels. The iridescent reflective elements are applied to various levels of density into the veil’s surface as an integral part of it.

Production of the festive aura — Interaction between steam and direct light, in a dark environment, based on the position, density and angle of these reflective elements, is formulating a series of unique glowing beams.

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