Design Studio 6 presents students, organised as small architectural firms, with the problem of designing a city for 6,000 people on a former industrial site on Newcastle’s urban periphery. It frames this task as an opportunity to propose ‘a city within the city’; an alternative community located within, yet operating independently of, its surrounding urban context. Course materials explore the nature of the distinction between private and public, and their spatial correlates (the individual dwelling and the city), in order to rethink architecture’s capacity to affect change at an urban scale. Fundamental to these explorations is the idea of domesticity, understood in terms of political economy. How do the ways in which we live produce and reproduce a wider social order? What role does the individual household play as an administrative device within our socio-economic and political structures? How can the domestic serve as the site for an affirmative politics; for a more evenly distributed and care-ful future?
Radical Domesticities, a dedicated stream within the Thematic Semester, will directly respond to these ideas as they are being explored by students in Design Studio 6. Visiting Architects and Experts will contribute to a curated, week-long public lecture series, interrogating the idea of domesticity in light of the current pandemic. Students will gain insight into how recognised voices in their field approach a similar set of questions to their own, enabling an international exchange of ideas about architecture’s capacity for shaping our collective future as we all tune in from the newfound safety of our homes.