Diploma 4 - Polity and Space, The Coast of Europe
John Palmesino, Ann-Sofi Rönnskog

The Coast of Europe: Polity and Space

Today the European project presents itself as a series of delays, accelerations, overlaps, retractions, consolidations, extensions and fragmentations that mould, carve and shape institutional, political, economic and cultural spaces through a myriad of initiatives and transformations.

Diploma 4 has investigated the complex and shifting relations between the reshaping of international, supra-national, sub-state, non-governmental, individual and local polities and the changing material structures and forms of the inhabited territories of the European peninsula. The inquiry into the liminal conditions of the shores of Europe reveals territories, cities and networks that are undergoing vast reorganisations where expert rationalities, protocols, cultures, policies and interests interact with material, natural, infrastructural and technological configurations.

Integrating projects, plans, design, investigations, analysis, actions and advocacy, the unit has explored how architecture can and is interacting with the complex mixture of form-generating practices that are modifying cohabitation in Europe. The projects presented here make up a composite image of a tumultuous set of changes, both in the form of the institutions that shape cohabitation and in the many ways in which contemporary inhabited spaces are reorganising their materiality.

During the year Diploma 4 has interacted with the complex conceptualisations of change shaped by international and local institutions: from the integrative procedures of the European Commission to the reinvention of Icelandic polities, from the International Criminal Court’s understanding of environmental transformation as a form of genocidal war to the investigations of spatial specialisation of the ICTY and the territorial policies of the Committee of the Regions, from the small incremental practices of local NGOs to the imperial sweep of global circulations. 

Activating architecture as both the object and method of our investigations, Diploma 4 has operated as a think-tank design studio in the architecture of devices of institutional and territorial change. We are rethinking architecture as a practice that is amongst many others: interacting with a space in transformation.