Architecture, Energy, Matter 2:

Energy Economies the Karoo - 2014/15
South Africa
Lindsay Bremner & Roberto Bottazzi

“What we have then is a kind of 'wisdom of the rocks,’ a way of listening o the creative, expressive flow of matter for guidance on how to work with our own organic strata.”1

During 2014/15, DS18 sited its investigation into architectures of energy, geology and computation in Graaff Reinet, a small historic tow n in the Karoo in South Africa where hydraulic shale gas licenses were pending. These were opposed by legal challenges and community activism and have subsequently been withdrawn due to the drop in global oil prices. The studio began with a series of computational exercises to investigate and simulate the behaviour of matter in motion using the fluid simulation software Realflow. This was undertaken as a way of visualising material processes and beginning to cultivate an aesthetic sensibility to be developed later in the studio.

At the same time students mined and represented data on South Africa's resources and how they are transformed into energy and value and circulated through society. After a 10-day long field trip to Cape Town and the Karoo, the studio developed energy masterplans for Graaff Reinet and the surrounding hamlets using solar, wind, shale gas, solid waste or more experimental technologies. Each student then identified an architectural project within their strategy and fully realised and represented it in spatial, material and aesthetic terms.

Central to the design agenda promoted by DS18 is computational software, particularly Rhino, Grasshopper and Realflow.
1; Manuel DeLanda, "Non-organic Life" in Incorporations Zone 6, eds. Jonathan Crary & Sanford Kwinter (New York: Urzone, Inc., 1992) p 143

Guest Critics:
Christos Antanopoulos, Jennifer Beningfteld, Richard Difford, Jeg Dudley, Neil Dusheiko, Jon Goodbun, Dirk Lellau, Costas Grigoriadis, Jennifer Juritz, Constance Lau, Lorenzo Pezzani, Dimitar Pouchnikov, Francesco Sebregondi, Maria Veltcheva, Filip Visnjic, Etienne Turpin, Robert Wall, Alex Watts

The Reinet Foundation for sponsorship for the field trip to South Africa; Jan Glazewski for organising the Shale Gas Symposium at the University of Cape Town; Christos Antanopoulos, Jennifer Beningfield, Stefan Cramer, Jeg Dudley, Ian Fraser, Derek Light Gabby Shawcross and Robert Wall for additional input to the studio

More can be read here