'Local adaptation’ is when a population of organisms has evolved to be more well-suited to its environment than other members of the same species. We seek the same outcome in architecture, an architecture of local adaptation to climate, culture, and context.
We want our students to discover a locally adaptive architecture through an immersive hands-on engagement with a place and the strategic use of digital tools. This year we have explored the theme of local adaptation by focussing on interstitial spaces within the city of Cardiff.
Students were introduced to the unit methodology in the primer project, ‘Constructed Analysis’. They were asked to measure and then construct a volume of sunlight within or around the Bute building using only analogue tools. In doing so they learnt the power of real time observation of an environmental phenomena and the curatorial and design challenges of turning that observation into a full scale material artefact. Students then learnt to use digital tools to extend their powers of observation such as LiDAR scanning to capture complex geometries and grasshopper and ladybug to examine environmental phenomena that cannot be experienced in real-time or place.
Students applied this methodology to explore gaps, underused, and failing spaces they identified within the city of Cardiff. Their thesis projects evolved in response to actual and virtual analysis of these sites followed by the testing of propositions through digital and material experimentation resulting in a set of projects that are uniquely adapted to their context.