Artificial Paradises

Nerea Calvillo + Cristina Diaz Moreno + Efrén García Grinda. Graduate program
Architectural Association, London, 2013-2014

The studio inquires what was formerly known as public space, trying to reactivate the physical realm of the common, nowadays kidnapped by economic and political agents.
The origin of the word paradise gets back to ancient Persia, and to the Avestian term pairi-daêza, composed by pairi, "around" and diz "to construct", literally enclosed space, that was coined to refer to the first Persian Gardens, such as Pasargadae, the earliest known example of chahar bagh. The shift of its meaning to the Garden of Eden comes from the use of the Greek word parádeisos to translate "garden" -gan or pardes- from the Hebrew. In this unattainable place of ideal conditions -that the medieval Mystics believed that actually existed in the form of an island somewhere there, where the Sun rises- the enjoyment comes from the experience of a particular space and a perfect weather.
Replacing the notion of building by pairi-daêza, the concrete and everyday paradises on which the students will work will be not confined to an abstract, ideal realm but will be products of the impure imagination, corrupt and alive places, filled with the intoxicated air of new and unexpected forms of beauty and pleasure.
Students defined, as visionary engineers of artificial paradises, the cultural ingredients and associated techniques to trigger publicness in a particular physical and social context, defining public rituals and their relationship with their built environment. Sheppard’s "space sickness ", his overlapped "thousand replicas of himself from the past and future" and the inexhaustible desire and curiosity of Poliphilo, who has multiple philia and sees himself as a carnal and mundane owner of numerous connections with memories and stories, with other people, living beings and machines, will accompany us in our exploratory journey to uncountable walled orchards of wild, toxic and artificial species.

More info here.

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