As part of Archifringe 2018, Missing in Architecture were asked to contribute to the ‘Uncommon Lives’ exhibition along with a series of new practices from around the UK. We were asked to build a model that questioned the theme of ‘Uncommon Lives – Frankentypes’.
When looking at ‘Uncommon Lives’ we were keen to investigate the inequalities that exist within society and how they manifest themselves within our architecture of the everyday. We are also aware that in our everyday lives we are in many cases too busy to stop and reflect upon the inequalities that exist within our built environment and how architecture can play a part in engaging with a variety of different sectors of society. Our output is designed to start a conversation and to allow individuals to express, through interaction with our response, their feelings about our architectural proposition and architecture in general.
We have drawn on the Human Rights Act and The Equalities Act of 2010 as our starting point with regards to the lives of the everyone.
The Human Rights Act states
‘Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death.
They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life.
They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security.
These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence.
Human rights are relevant to all of us, not just those who face repression or mistreatment. They protect you in many areas of your day-to-day life, including:
your right to have and express your own opinions
your right to an education
your right to a private and family life
your right not to be mistreated or wrongly punished by the state’
The Equalities Act came into force in 2010 and is designed to legally protect people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
Within the Equalities Act there are 9 protected characteristics which are as follows:
marriage and civil partnership
pregnancy and maternity
These groups identified in the 2010 Act have suffered from discrimination in the past and continue to be marginalised and isolated in some form or another within our society. This along with someone’s financial status seems to underpin the best and worst aspects or our urban life and our Frankentype looks to challenge and support these people by creating a new type of architecture which explores our attitudes inclusivity.
The resulting continuously changing and flexible architectural response draws on a variety of architectural influences from Mary Duggan and Aalto to Koolhas and Aries Mateus. The isolation of groups, communities and individuals is reinforced within our everyday architecture, from foodbanks, to luxury apartments and our Frankenstein of a building, looks to open up a discussion about a more inclusive way of living.
The building, the Institute of the Everyday, is a building for all. There are opportunities to design places to lives, sleep, work, eat, relax and discuss. This may result in the design of a flat that is flexible to allow elderly people or people in financially unstable positions to stay somewhere beautiful. It may result in the design of a dining hall where people can meet and cook and dine together. Someone may develop a series of individual spaces that act as confessional spaces, meditation spaces or areas of breast feeding and equally someone may design a new space that brings together a different mix of activities, and give it a title.
These individual spaces are able to connect with one another in multiple fashions and are designed to be adaptable in both plan and section to allow a multi-level building to emerge or a single storey building to develop. Everyone who interacts with these building blocks will have a different response resulting in a whole host of different and unique configurations which allow us all to see how architecture can be interpreted by different people in different ways.
The model is designed to be played with, taken apart and put back together in multiples of different ways. The internal spaces are able to be adapted and enhanced with each ‘architect’ making decisions about materials, fabrics, colour choices, wall positions, furniture and most importantly the inhabitants. The elevation is designed to be manipulated in the same way and allows for a variety of responses to be considered.
Similar to Frankenstein, our Frankentype is a collection of element stitched tougher to create something individual and unique and the various building blocks offer each person the opportunity to design a personal response to the Institute of the Everyday and to recognise we are all diverse and need protection in one way or another.
This co-creation process looks at the removing historical hierarchical constructs of design and investigates how this can lead to more innovative and responsive user specific solutions which are built on the underlying themes of equality and collaboration that are fundamental to MiA.
This project was a collaboration with a group of students from the Mackintosh School of Architecture.