Savage Architecture

“Savage is the architecture that rejects the domestic man, refusing to impose the power of reason over his animal, symbolic, vital and therefore political dimension.

Savage is the architecture that looks at the primitive without the burden of progress or development but with the freedom of the barbaric and the wisdom of the ancestral, with a profound awareness of the collective character of architectural knowledge.

Savage Architecture is the difficult achievement of a field of tensions between control and freedom, narrative and technology, individual expression and collective rituals.

Savage Architecture is a constellation of forms, mechanisms and narratives that aim to give form and value to the irreducible dichotomies of mankind.”

ADS10 is an architectural design studio at the Royal College of Arts taught by Gianfranco Bombaci, Matteo Costanzo and Davide Sacconi.

2A+P/A is an architectural office established in Rome by Gianfranco Bombaci and Matteo Costanzo. The office works on architectural, urban and landscape design projects with a particular interest in the condition of the contemporary city and has been awarded in a number of international competition. 2A+P/A has exhibited his work and to realize site-specific installations for several international institutions – such as the 1st Biennale of Orleans, the 14th, 12th and 11th Biennale of Venice, the 5th Biennale of Brasilia, the Architectural Association in London, the FRAC Centre in Orleans, the CIVA Bruxelles, the NAI in Rotterdam and the MAXXI in Rome. The partners are also founders and editors of the magazine San Rocco and they founded CAMPO, a space for architecture in Rome. They have been visiting critics and tutors in several European schools and universities.

Davide Sacconi is an architect, PhD candidate at the Architectural Association of London and co-founder of CAMPO, a space for architecture in Rome. He graduated with honours in Architecture at the Università degli Studi di Roma Tre and earned his postgraduate research diploma at the Berlage Institute of Rotterdam. He worked for internationally renowned offices, such as IaN+ and MVRDV on a variety of architecture, landscape and urban design projects and awarded in national and international competition with his own projects. He is the editor of the books Interior Tales (2015), The Supreme Achievement (2016) and Savage Architecture (2016), which comprise an exhibition showcased in several institutions in Europe including the Architectural Association, the Polytechnic of Milan and the CIVA foundation in Bruxelles. He has been unit master in the MArch Urban Design program at the Bartlett UCL and at the Liverpool University. Since 2014 he is Visiting Professor at the Syracuse University London Program where he has been the Director of the program in 2016-17.

Francesca Romana Dell’Aglio is an architect and PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art. After having graduated from the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV), she holds a Masters Degree with Distinction from the Architectural Association in London. Francesca has previously been a unit tutor at IUAV and Oxford Brookes, and is currently a teaching assistant in History and Theory Studies both at Central Saint Martins, Architectural Association and Royal College of Art. For several years she has collaboratively worked on several exhibitions including projects for the last three Venice Architecture Biennale, and since 2011 she is editor of the Venice-based academic journal “Engramma”. Her PhD research focuses on the dispute between ritualistic and habitual actions and their effects on architecture and the city of London. Her writing appears in Lobby, STUDIO magazine and Engramma.

Theatres of Common Life

ADS10 continues to explore the idea of a Savage Architecture; an architecture that is not mere shelter and comfort, nor display and reproduction of wealth, but rather assumed as the material and symbolic basis of mankind’s necessity to come together and engage in collective rituals. 

Savage Architecture occurs when need gives away to possibility, when the will to represent supersedes the necessity to survive, when the individual reproductive life acquires a collective dimension. Recognised as a fundamental need of the human species, architecture can exceed building as economic activity – as the sheer management of labour, material and financial resources – to become an unrivalled instrument for political change. 

The most prominent character of our contemporary condition is the blurring of boundaries between the spheres of the human condition: labour, work and action are melted in the time-space continuous of capital, where no friction is allowed, no matter resists, no other rule is permitted. Our lives are captured within a continuous production line that endlessly trains our language, our capability to think, speak, remember and perform. Life circulates within the flattening horizon of growth producing the endless interior of urbanisation: building is everywhere, architecture is absent. 

Architecture has the power to engage with these three spheres of the human condition: architecture is labour, as the very material effort of designing and constructing; architecture is work, as an object that can represent something other than itself; architecture is action, as the stage where human activity takes place. By deciding production processes, representational forms and modes of use, a project articulates power in the forms of hierarchy or cooperation, exploitation or solidarity, individuality or commonality. 

ADS10 searches for those unexpected urban conditions and collective rituals that continuously surface within the flow without end of urbanisation as forms of resistance. These rituals of exchange and production of knowledge demand an architectural project that could host and represent them in the public sphere as alternative examples of collective life. Ultimately, Savage Architecture is about imagining theatres of common life that can stage the savage power of being human together.

Museums of the everyday

ADS10 pursues the hypothesis of a Savage Architecture, an architecture that empowers the emancipation of emerging collective subjects.  

Confronting the irrelevance of conventional design and building practices in the face of the tremendous planetary challenges, ADS10 believes in architecture as a fundamental need of the human specie and as an unrivalled instrument to propel political change. 

We need architecture not as shelter or comfort, nor as display and reproduction of wealth, but rather as material and symbolic basis of our need to come together and engage in collective rituals. As such architecture exceeds a purely economic activity of resource management to become political: Savage Architecture occurs when need gives away to possibility, when the will to represent supersedes the necessity to survive, when the individual reproductive life acquires a collective dimension.

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Building Common Knowledge

We began our journey toward a savage architecture by looking at Rome as a city paradigm that is an alternative to the current dominant models of urbanisation. Rome is a city made of finite pieces and parts that respond to the symbolic needs of collective rituals, rather than conform to the functional urgencies of continuous expansion. We then examined more closely the relationship between architecture and man, exploring the idea that architecture is not about shelter, or wealth, or power, but rather about providing material and symbolic forms that satisfy the human need of gathering.

In 2019/20, ADS10 will delve further into the necessity of coming together. We will understand the collective as an anthropological category and a fundamental trait of our species. While many other beings live together cooperatively, the particular character of humans is our ability to use collective relationships for the production and exchange of knowledge. As a result, culture is to construct our environment by conquering, framing, organising and contemplating ‘nature’. From this perspective, architecture is not a technical problem, or a creative act or economic tool, but rather the embodiment of a common knowledge – one that has its roots in the anthropological relationship between man and built from.

We build because we are human, we are human because we build.

We intend to explore the three forms of building through its relationship with knowledge. Firstly, building as an object, a material configuration that can be measured, or contemplated, and can represent symbolic, political or economic relationships. Secondly, as a space that frames the activities, rituals and conflicts inherent in the collective exchange of knowledge. Finally, as a process that can give form to the needs, ambitions and desires of a collective subject.

ADS10 will explore the school as the paradigm of knowledge exchange. School not as a predefined institution, but rather as a process, form and space that celebrates what we have in common – our capability to produce by thinking, relating and making. The architecture of the school needs to recognise and represent those rituals of exchange and production of knowledge, which are struggling to emerge from the gelatinous spreading of urbanisation. These are theatres of knowledge that stage the savage power of being human together.

Forms of Gathering

ADS10 will continue to explore the idea of Savage Architecture by using an anthropological lens to question the relationship between architecture and man. We will be look closely at the complex relationship between built form and the collective use of space, with the aim of proposing an architecture that challenges the norms and behaviors imposed by the current process of urbanization.
If contemporary architectural practice is completely identified with the management of resources – which is to say with purely economic practice – ADS10 maintains the relationship between man and architecture is founded on a political reason that exceeds a mere quantitative logic. At the root such relationship is not the provision of comfort and shelter, or the reproduction of wealth, but rather the human need to come together. Of engaging in collective rituals. Architecture provides the material and symbolic elements to satisfy this necessity.
At the very heart of our investigation is the built form – a form we believe expresses the idea of the collective in its cognitive, political and ritual aspects.
At the intersection between form as an object of knowledge, political decision and ritual action lies the notion of archetype, a paradigmatic form that governs the relationship between a collective subject and the space it occupies. The archetype is a way of thinking, a set of instruments and a method to produce architecture.
Using a wide array of tools – from drawings to models to images, texts and video – ADS10 will seek to untangle the complex relationship that occurs between the from of a building and its collective use.
Working at the intersection of curatorial and design practices, we strive to produce an architecture that has no ambition other than giving form to collective rituals and re-imagining the savage need to live together.

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