ADS10: Savage Architecture – Museums of the Everyday
Amanda Dolgā grew up in Riga, Latvia and moved to London five years ago to study architecture at UCL. Amanda’s undergraduate projects explored the impacts of anonymous automated landscapes and renegotiated the weightless transmission of data as a tangible form in the city. Through the realisation of a private program, support is given to new forms of public space through conscious reuse of building by-products and residual resources.
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.
School of Architecture
ADS10: Savage Architecture – Museums of the Everyday
The Museum of Everyday Surplus
The production, storage and distribution of food has been one of the fundamental activities of cities throughout history. Market places are one of the earliest forms of civic space in the city and have been the common grounds for the trade of food. Today all that is left of this network is consumption. The vast, global chain of food production, distribution and services is seamless and invisible. Most of us are unaware of the origins of our food, the miles travelled, and the natural resources and labour deployed to produce the food that appears on the shelves of our local supermarket. They are essential to the running of cities and for many people the primary source of food.
Canteens are natural meeting places and stores that sell food and provide space for collective nutrition. Architecture that reflects and celebrates nutrition as an important communal affair, every day eating ritual and moments of escape. Refectory, as well as its continued use in the historic monastic meaning, is often used in a modern context to refer to a café or cafeteria that is open to the public attached to a religious or educational institution. It derives from the Late Latin refectorium, which means "a place one goes to be restored". It is a space for communal dining, gathering and serving of simple food in moderation.
The distribution and consumption of food produces a lot of waste. Current gross food production could feed more than the entire population of the world, yet one in nine people remain malnourished. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), at least 30 per cent of all food produced globally is wasted. This accounts for 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions alone. It is worth considering the costs of the convenience of supermarkets.
Of all food purchased in the UK 31% is thrown out every year, equating to a staggering 16 million metric tonnes of food waste. In light of recent events - the global pandemic and Brexit - a rise in concern about the UK’s food security and self-sufficiency has become more urgent. Located in London the project could critically look at the challenges facing the UK’s existing food supply and distribution network.
Supermarkets were never built as civic spaces, however under the various restrictions of the pandemic they have unwittingly become theatres of the everyday. Through necessity, they became at times the only places for social interaction, two metres apart.
The proposal is a combination of a new type of supermarket, public canteen and civic space. It uses the typology of a supermarket as a critical space of reflection on the current urban condition of everyday eating. There is a need for a shift in attitude towards food and reconsideration of our everyday food consumption rituals.
The project imagines the future supermarket and highlights the issues of food waste and surplus as a trigger of change in our unsustainable consumer habits. It puts forward a new super - a new architecture for everyday food rituals. A civic space of collective engagement in everyday shopping, cooking, and eating whilst dealing with the existing amounts of food surplus and waste in the city. A platform focusing on the exchange of knowledge and skills, supporting good everyday eating practices and attitudes towards food. A factory producing nutritious and sustainable meals. The architecture serves as a new form of public space to eat and spend time – a civic space that reduces food waste, improves everyday nutrition, and brings together communities.
In Term 1 the project explored the archetype of the screen through the analysis of its architectural importance and use in the Garage Museum in Moscow by OMA. The symbolic gesture of its 11m rising garage screens visually signals a public invitation for civic engagement and suggests openness, transparency and collective projection. The video reveals Soviet Union’s approach to cultivation, consumption, and trade of food, as it was one of the largest collective food rituals still present in modern Russian eating habits. The Garage Museum becomes the screen itself - the stage where human activity takes place. A blank canvas for projection and a catalyst of the collective production and knowledge exchange. A theatre of the everyday that stages the tension, labour, and action in relation to food rituals that were continuously and collectively performed under the Soviet regime.
The final perspective section reimagined OMA’s building as a space of empowerment and the emancipation of emerging collective subjects. It does not shelter or comfort, display or reproduce wealth or power, but rather provides the material and symbolic basis of coming together and engaging in collective rituals both in their failure and glory, surfacing as spaces of resistance, demanding an architectural project that could host them as alternative examples and potentials of collective life.
Investigation through model making
From the initial investigation of the archetype the proposal can use the screen to reveal the invisible, seamless, often wasteful stages of the food supply chain. It can provide a spatial form for the spectacle of the everyday loss and surplus of food and the potential life beyond misshapen produce, unsold items and expiration dates.