Archetypes are examples of architecture that make visible the construction of a specific mode of order, power, and reality. They negotiate and mediate between a set of forces that are otherwise in open conflict and tend towards chaos.
This year Diploma 19 began by investigating commodities or practices that give us a sense of temporary relief amidst experiences of depression, anxiety, uprootedness, or disorientation. Those sources of relief then led us to a forensic, typological investigation of the architecture, infrastructure, social relations, and archetypes out of which that commodity’s production, distribution, and consumption have emerged historically. The archetypes of power we discovered ranged from 16th and 17th-century Spanish Encomiendas and Estancias in Argentina; to dams, data centres and long houses in the American West; to pilgrimage temples in Taiwan; to the camp and campus in ancient and present-day China, to the ghat in India, and to city voids in London.
Ultimately, the Archetypes we encountered taught us about how form is a nexus that filters and weaves realities, how form constitutes a threshold of a shift in paradigm or mode. Forms can be as dangerous as they are potentially ‘emancipatory.’ This year in Diploma 19, we questioned how Form might invite the unknowable, the ungovernable, and the Other in. Other modes of living, working, and being are already always emerging and just as quickly being shut down. How might we carve out spaces for those thousands of radically different worlds to finally, and actually realise themselves?
(materials currently being updated - (right) Mark Tzu-shuo Wu, City Temple House)
Architectural Association Diploma unit 19 with Brendon Carlin and James Kwang Ho Chung (AA 2023)