The summer school is driven by the belief that the built environments have to transform to meet the future challenges climate change, decreasing resources, food waste, and lifestyle diseases pose to contemporary welfare society. Houses, schools, hospitals, kindergartens, elderly homes, work offices, retail and restaurants are the focal venue of our consumption habits as well as of our sense of joy and wellbeing in everyday life.
Hence, built environments form the basis of change, both technically with regards to energy usage or food production, and aesthetically with regards to the perception of our surroundings. However, it is visible both in the present-day construction industry and in the food industry that the aesthetic potential of this transformation is easily oppressed in tight economical and technical conditions.
A multi-disciplinary approach is therefore needed reformulating or rethinking our built environments, if the necessary transformation is not to be conceived solely as a technical matter but also as a means to bring not just art, but joy, experience and wellbeing to future city dwellers.
With the Feed Europe Summer School the students are introduced to a “turn-around” joining the research and educational forces of engineering, art, architecture, city planning, and food studies. Under the theme: 8 Urban Farming Scenarios, the summer school propose a synergy of growth, consumption, form, space and structure.
With the purpose to bring together diverse theoretical, methodological, and operative perspectives on Urban Farming the pedagogical strategy and structure of the summer school is therefore an interdisciplinary approach born within the problem based learning environment (PBL) that characterise Aalborg University. The students invited to participate will be grouped in interdisciplinary teams, across the fields of engineering, art, architecture, food studies, and city planning.
During the summer school a number of theoretical and practical approaches to the field of urban farming and built environments will be introduced to the students; both through lectures provided by the participating universities. The students will be introduced to the classical and magnificent architecture – the Villa Rotonda – designed by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio. The specific task of the students is to analyse one fundamental architectural element (such as a window, column, stair, portico, vault, dome, door or loft) and one artistic element (such as a sculpture, surface, ornament, colour, landscape, view, material or light). Taking their point of departure in the original villa design, the task for the students is then to pair this analysis with one farming function (such as to grow, produce, harvest, prepare, share, cure, dispose, or reuse), and transform it into a series of new urban farming scenarios.
This means that the students, during the summer school, must critically consider these architectural and artistic elements as growth potentials, as inviting spaces, as structural details, as art forms, or as eating environments and turn them into 8 new solutions/suggestions for how to handle the current challenges on climate change, decreasing resources, food waste, and lifestyle diseases pose to contemporary welfare society.
As the primary result of the summers school a series of these new Urban Farming Scenarios are set up in 1:5 and exhibited at the International Venice Architectural Biennale. Thus, setting the scene for an international and interdisciplinary discussion of future educational and research perspectives related built environments.