SLUM is an informal occupation structure for emerging companies, designed by the architect and completed by its occupants. This project aims to accompany an informal movement of territorial occupation by the design of a mutable structure on the margin of the city. Genuine micro-community, SLUM contains studios for emerging companies as well as affordable creative workshops.
SLUM considers self-building by the occupants to be a legitimate architecture as an integral part of the project. Here, the architect no longer conceives an architectural object frozen in time. The latter takes a different role according to a bottom-up and incremental approach. It offers an open source building, a living organism that grows, changes and mutates continuously, depending on small successive decisions by those who inhabit it. This is half of a building that is offered to entrepreneurs, leaving them the opportunity to complete the other in their own image.
Slowly, spaces are created, connected and barricaded. A real patchwork of materials storms the concrete structure. Over time, territories expand and contract within the building itself, in contrast to the stratified and compartmentalized organization of traditionally occupied buildings. Community entrepreneurs are tirelessly altering it to meet the changing needs of their businesses. The project evolves in symbiosis with the groups. SLUM represents a fertile architectural laboratory where unusual and innovative interventions are encouraged rather than reprimanded.
Who influences you graphically ?
The structuralists plans of the 60s greatly influenced me for this project, think Hertzberger, Aldo Van Eyck or Piet Bloom. These works represent a complex composition of simple elements that give the impression of being expandable to the infinite according to an apparent logic difficult to decipher. They are very graphic, but hide an impressive complexity that passionate me.
You mentions Slum as a project designed by the architect and completed by its occupants however you seize to reveal the second part, why so ?How could a series of more drawings as speculations on how the inhabitants might personalise and change the architecture reinforce your proposal and also address the contemporary issue of architectural standardisation ?
Indeed, the project is expressed in two parts. First of all, the structure of occupation, as conceived by the architect, on day 00, which is the day of the end of construction works. Then, the second part, expressed in the second plan and the axonometry, represents a staging of possible scenarios of occupation. The project then takes the form of a collection of pieces with multiple functions and varied atmospheres; A labyrinthic universe becoming more complex to generate unique, incongruous and unlikely situations. An infinity of variations and staging could have been drawn separately. I rather opted to combine several on the same document. I wanted the project to remain open and to avoid imposing definitive solutions. This desire for openness is expressed in particular by the last image which is a representation of the beginning of the occupation movement on the roofs of the project. What will happen on the roofs? Are occupants entitled to settle there? Where is the limit of the architect’s control over his work?
How could the medium of animation be used to reveal the effect of time and change on the architecture ?
The question of animations has long been considered. Indeed, since the project is expressed in time, it would have been interesting to use this medium. However, I did not want to venture into this type of representation. In my opinion, animations are problematic when you want to showcase them, whether in a portfolio in a presentation, for example. I’ve always conceived my projects as a series of graphic documents of a fixed moment whose final product takes the form of a poster.
What defined the choice of drawing as a means to represent?
In addition to the plans, axonometry was chosen as the main project document. Since the project gained strength in the accumulation of a simple element, the cache, it was important for me to use a medium that expressed the entire project in three dimensions to illustrate its complexity. Moreover, since the self-construction of the occupants is mainly done from the inside of the structure, I decided to cut the axonometry to reveal all the activities of the occupants in the heart of the project. Thus, the drawing highlights what is conceived by the architect and what is constructed by the occupants.
What dictated the views you chose to reveal the proposal through?
The views express a gradation of the project over time. First, we find the main view of the structure. It’s a view from the outside. It represents the pivotal moment between the end of the initial works and the beginning of the anarchic occupation. Then, slowly, we see a gradual appropriation of the project. It begins with the presence of a campfire almost extinct on the site just under construction. The structure seems to have welcomed visitors during the night. Then, we observe that partitions begin to form quietly to generate spaces and rooms. The project concludes with the image of the roofs, which represents an opening to the possible limits of the occupation.
How important was the plan as a tool for representing the proposal ?
The plan was undoubtedly the most important tool of representation for this type of project. Indeed, SLUM posed a problem of understanding what was conceived by me, the architect, and what was a staging of possible scenarios of occupation. The solution was therefore to draw two plans at two distinct moments. Like the structuralists, the plans also express the underlying logic of the project