This studio examined the potential of agonism (a strand of contemporary political theory) in architecture to open unexpected paths for the identification and confrontation of current architectural and social controversies. Its final aim was to test the potential of architecture design as a double (or secret) agent, working for opposite ideological agendas.
In 2015, 60 million people were forced to abandon their homelands, forming the biggest migratory movement of global citizenry since the Second World War. This displaced global population is principally fleeing warfare, climatic disasters and hunger, or from political ideological, gender- and race-related persecution that jeopardises their lives in their home countries.
A high percentage of these forcibly moving populations tried, in 2015–2016, to reach the European Union from Africa, South Asia, the Western Balkans and Middle East, yet the primary source of these migrants is the war in Syria that has displaced more than 5 million citizens. As a consequence, the European Union is rethinking its border-control policies and, in some cases, the very architecture of its national frontiers.
This studio explored the critical design of a constellation of walls and border-control gates in controversial current locations within the European Union, such as Calais (France/UK), the island of Lesbos (Greece/Turkey), Kirkenes (Norway/Russia), Horgos (Serbia/Hungary) and Brenner (Italy/Austria).