Taking Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theatre as a primary reference, this studio aimed to encourage architecture students to address current polemical issues from the discipline, the city and beyond. Students created architectural artefacts that not only resolved problems but rendered them visible. Instead of being pragmatic, students designed with the aim of creating an estrangement effect that would transform users into critical observers of architecture and reality.
This studio explored the design of theatres in contested areas of Sydney, examining the potential of agonism (a strand of contemporary political theory) in architecture to open unexpected paths for the identification and confrontation of current polemics in the field. Its final aim was to produce architecture operating as a double agent working for opposite ideological positions. Assuming that current architecture doesn’t seem to be interested, able or accepted in frontline confrontations of dissent, a central question emerged: Could architecture act as an infiltrated agent working with and against opposite ideological agendas?
The subject aimed to vindicate the role of the architect as a public intellectual; that is, a designer that is not only actively involved in discussions about the construction of cities, but also takes critical positions in topics that inform the evolution of cities and architectural typologies.