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ADS1: Life Unincorporated

Amanda Dolga

Amanda Dolgā grew up in Riga, Latvia and moved to London five years ago to study architecture at UCL. Last year she was in ADS10 where her project looked at everyday food surplus in the contemporary urban condition and our unsustainable relationship to food and how this could inform the possibility of creating a new form of civic space for improved collective everyday eating rituals and nutrition.

Amanda sees architecture as a practice that offers the potential and carries the responsibility of positive transformations for communities. A certain extent of spatial generosity and ambiguity in design can give way to exciting and unexpected forms of spatial inhabitation and appropriation. Her current work responds to global socioeconomic factors and climate challenges and pursues the exploration of the relationship between nature and architecture. It is crucial to address the built environment as part of the totality of the existing ecological systems, starting from the ecology of materials and accommodating the everyday uses of future communities.

Campus in a Forest proposes the reuse of a former IBM corporate campus in Stuttgart, built in the 1980s and designed by the architect Egon Eiermann. Located in the suburban area of Stuttgart, the site has remained vacant since 2009, when IBM sold the site. Since then, the sealed corporate surfaces have started to break and nature has spread across the tarmac and into the abandoned interiors, reclaiming the space that was once covered in a dense forest. Surrounded by trees and overgrown grass, the campus is now perhaps at its most pastoral. The project implements sustainable adaptation through strategies of maintenance and repair across 3 scales of intervention – building, landscape and territory. The campus becomes the testing ground to host alternative forms of collective suburban life and work that address Germany's pressing ecological and socio-economic crises. Through the study of foraging, harvest, cultivation and regeneration of the local forest, soil and communities, the campus stages the dynamics between different and often unaccounted users, agencies and programmes, operating at different speeds and with different lifespans. The use of agroforestry practices and mindful land management policies help mitigate the severe consequences of climate change by capturing carbon, replenishing groundwater reservoirs, increasing local biodiversity, providing wildlife habitats and nurturing resilient ecosystems. Campus in a Forest reinstates and guides our misplaced priorities, attention and care towards the co-existence of space between humans and non-humans, towards new centres of suburban life fulfilling desires for social connection and closeness to natural landscapes. 

Communal facilities - health and daycare centre
Negotiated boundaries - permeable ground plane
Buildings, media item 6
All secondary partitions, carpets, homogeneous suspended ceilings, light fixtures and mechanical ventilation units are removed.
The former office landscape makes way for a new but strangely familiar homescape, filling the spaces with warmth.
The sealed, dilapidated corporate façade is dismantled. A new inhabited envelope constructed from locally sourced timber and reused façade components wraps the primary structure, creating a gradient of thermal comfort zones.
Shared living spaces open out onto balconies overlooking the forest.
An open-air native plant nursery sits at the heart of the pavilion, filling the courtyard with a range of potted saplings and generous heaps of fertile soil. A light mesh-like fabric is stretched over the timber structure, protecting the new leaves from the scorching rays of the sun, whilst allowing for natural ventilation.
The generosity of the floor slabs shelter the fragile seeds, whilst soft daylight permeates through the cuts in the existing structure, cultivating new generations of trees for transplanting and drying selectively harvested timber from the forest.

The gardens dwell at the ambiguous edge of domesticity and wilderness, somewhere between the home and the forest. The tarmac is removed, and through the process of gardening, the soil is improved. The ground of the campus between the buildings is transformed into a series of gardens for food production using agroforestry practices. The produce is used on site and is nurtured by the residents as part of a collective care agreement. Hugelkultur or mound cultures created from decaying timber logs and organic matter create an undulating terrain that circulates water and valuable nutrients down the plateau.

Care (infra)structures; 1x1 km territorial grid
Atlas of care structures
The old makes space for the new - a universal cycle, which is as much spatial as it is biological.
Like ruins, the architecture of care thrives in its most pure form, freed from the burdens of complex function, at one with nature.

Carpenters' Company Bursary Award Scholarship