Studio at Laval School of Architecture

Studio at Laval School of Architecture


March 28, 2024
Studio at Laval School of Architecture
Nous avons failli commencer sans vous
September 10, 2023–May 9, 2024
Laval School of Architecture
1 Côte de la Fabrique bureau 3210
Québec QC G1R 3V6

During the academic year 2023–24, BUREAU (Daniel Zamarbide, Carine Pimenta, Galliane Zamarbide) was invited to lead a studio at the Architecture School of Laval, in Québec city, Canada. This text is a synthesis of the approach that was proposed to the students and the first results of the studio.

The studio is named after a very common French expression, “we were about to start without you”, that refers directly to a short scene of Luis Buñuel’s film The Phantom of Liberty, one of his most radicals that displays a very enriching creative methodology where fragments of physical experiences are intertwined with imaginary moments.

The studio aspires to navigate fluidly between fiction a reality without a clear hierarchy, using extrapolations and metaphors and as tools for project making. The title is also and above all a direct allusion to the many “others” without whom architecture has been operating forever. It proposes that as much as we might have failed to start many stories without them, we are not going to. Inspired by the writings and thinking of philosophers Baptiste Morizot and Vinciane Despret the studio is concerned with the inclusion of inter and multispecies relations in the transformations of our inhabitations.

A scenario acts a basis for the research, projecting ourselves into a saturated world in a present-future where there are neither the resources nor the will to pursue the construction of new buildings, new structures inhabitable by humans. A world where we, the human community (insofar as we constitute one), finally live with the collective awareness that we share with other communities the territories that support us, admitting thus that this sharing implies a vital co-dependency.

The possible world breaks with dichotomous thinking once and for all: nature-culture, human-animal, male-female, inside-outside, public-private. It’s a dislocation from the categories and catalogs of thought that condition our ability to imagine outside certain precepts firmly rooted in our architectural practice. In architecture, catalogue-thinking has a well-known reality: it’s called typology, or classification by type.

The notion of topological spaces (George Teyssot) might be more useful. it suggests in-between-spaces, mid-places. These spaces possess the capacity to transform themselves without transiting through breakups, by constantly working on neighborhood relations that enable them to metamorphose.

Our proposal wishes to investigate thresholds, those that bring together and welcome our neighbors, earthly cohabitants. Totoro lives with us, in the interior and exterior extension of our home, and on the threshold between the physical and the dreamy.

Our homes constitute the context of intervention. They are familiar spaces, that we will survey and study. We’ll be spending time observing them, understanding them, tracking our own habits and routines, projecting new and future uses onto them, speculating on how our lives will evolve and how places will adapt to inevitable changes.

The study of these environments can be based on our lived experiences, but also through our architects’ costume, capable of observing and working in, with space and its configurations. 

Our homes are the places that we open to others.

The invitation concerns other forms of living beings, non-humans to whom our homes will open a place to “make the territories we inhabit habitable by other species, on a large scale, by making ourselves sensitive to their invisible demands, by seeing over their eyes.” (Baptiste Morizot, On the Animal Trail).

What we’re talking about here is transforming an age-old state of domination over non-human forms of life. Admittedly, this requires a major paradigm shift in the way we operate in architecture and the transformation of spaces, but it seems fundamental to us to consider the spatial implications of this consciousness of collective habitation.

If the first dogs were domesticated around 30,000 years ago, isn’t it time we gave them a place in our homes? Inviting other species around us to cohabit with us in our homes is an essential invitation, and one that may call into question our collective way of occupying the world. It’s also a way of questioning the typological achievements on which much of the history and practice of architecture is based. 

Films (selection): Johanna StengerDonovan DubeNAFCSV Xavier CaronKatherine PageauZacharie ForestMatisse Lebrun.

Studio leaders: Daniel Zamarbide, Galliane Zamarbide.

Students: Dave Desmarais, Donovan Dubé, Elizabeth Gagnon, Félix Bergeron, Florent Goffinet, George Petrosel, Gokulakrishnan Kanesaratnam, Johanna Stenger, Katherine Pageau, Laura-May Riverin, Laury Rondeau-Thibault, Lili-Jeanne Branconnier, Maïka Bellavance, Mareet Alsahwi, Mathis Fortin, Matisse Lebrun, Maude Poirier, Raphaelle Jean, Rose Boissonneau, Solène Ramudu, Teodor Merla, Xavier Caron, Zaccharie Forest, Zian Charron

Special thanks to: Alexis Gagnon and Charlotte Lavoie.

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March 28, 2024

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