The Institute of Incidence

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The Institute of Incidence

John Wong


The university was created as a means of knowledge production and dissemination, with early examples existing as concentrations of knowledge. However as technology is becoming a more and more integral part of our lives, we find that they are no longer the only option for a formal education.

Information is now so easily obtainable, anytime and anywhere, people are now able to work or learn in any area of their choosing through digitized learning and working platforms, eliminating the physicality of the learning experience thus becoming a journey that is devoid of social encounter, as well as raising the question as to what this digitization brings forth in regards to the building obsolescence of the typology of spaces of learning.

Through the coupling a distributed network of academic cells across the city transport infrastructure, the project aims to rethink the process of learning, by addressing it as a continuous venture, extending beyond the reach of the university. Where teaching and learning is fostered through a constant interaction between the university and the city as well as between separate individuals. And formalising a relationship between online and collective learning, as well as between learning and movement.


Who influences you graphically?
Neil Denari, Jan Kaplicky, Toyo Ito, Zaha’s AA work, to name a few, the list goes on, and isn’t just limited to architects or artists, to be honest it includes just about anything; I enjoy the high contrast, ultra wide perspective drawings that is present in Denari’s work; the intense detailing in Kaplicky’s work, or even the user interface in Mass Effect and Borderlands (both video game titles). There isn’t a specific influence from a specific place, but more of a combination of everything that I like or might pick up along the way.

What dictated the choice of the colour palette? Does it relate to context/content in any way?
The colour scheme used largely originates from a series of simple colour organizational diagrams that I did at the beginning of the project, and slowly as the project progressed, a realisation that by having a complex program structure within the project bred separation amongst the users of the space. So through the simplification of what I deemed necessary within a space of learning, 2 or 3 typologies of space which are closely woven together, represented through the red to orange gradient that is present within the drawings.

You talk about academic cells as a means of rethinking the process of learning, nonetheless the proposal relies on the classic desk/chair room interior space, to what extent can learning in the future be devoid of a physical space and be purely through experience and interaction? Will the university as an institution still be necessary in 2100 or will typologies like these academic cells take over 100%?
The classic desk/chair interior space is intended to convey the notion of a continuity, by removing any hint of faculty or department within the university. Where cross-disciplinary work is more than encouraged. The classrooms aren’t bookable, nor any form of scheduling, however are all interconnected, if not physically then digitally.

Having said that, the goal is not to remove the physicality of the learning experience, nor eliminate the need for a physical space, but to encourage a connection between individuals that engage with the space. So in fact it is more important for a physical space be present in order for these connections to be made, rather than being a fully digitized presence.

Ultimately, the project offers an alternative to the traditional learning institute, not a replacement, through exploring the relationship between the university, the student and the city; Where the city, through infrastructure and social context bonds the university to the student, and seeks to shift this relationship by using the university as a bonding agent between the student and the city, by integrating education into the city as part of a lifelong venture opposed to something that ends at graduation; to provide a chance of learning to people that might otherwise not be able to attend a university because of work, or family.

You mention collective learning but seize to show any interaction between the people in the images why so?
I believe in a certain flexibility in terms of how a person projects themselves within my images.
I choose to withhold people within my images, and replace them with furniture, as I believe it allows for a greater freedom for the imagination of the viewer, how he/ she imagines the space being used. I talk about interaction, but interaction could be represented in countless ways through the eyes of different people. So I choose to have 2 constants within the image, the object (the building) and the furniture, which show hints of inhabitation, everything else is open to interpretation.

To what extent can the proposal be developed so that it becomes a continuous and integral structure/landscape where the form itself, through its integration with technology becomes the means through which we learn?
The final images showcase a system developed for application to the local scale, however the scope of the project is not simply the singular platform, but also heavily relies on the notion of a network it exists on. And it is from this network of academic cells it does begin to become part of the landscape of the city.

You mainly represent the proposal as an object, how relevant are these when you talk about people and the exchange of culture/knowledge?
The project acts as an enabler for which exchange of culture/knowledge takes place through creating moments of incidence between individuals. The object is the result in dealing with the consequences of merging a transport infrastructure with a learning facility, of which was designed around the idea of flow or movement. But it is also through the object, that these moments of incidence or connection between individuals take place.

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