Winy Maas (The Why Factory), appointed visiting professor at CTU in Prague

31 August 2022

Winy Maas, the recently appointed visiting professor at the Faculty of Architecture of CTU in Prague, will instruct, together with Javier Arpa Fernández, Adrien Ravon, Lex te Loo and Šimon Knettig, two semesters during the academic year 22/23 with the The Why Factory, the think-tank he directs at TU Delft in the Netherlands.

During the Winter semester (Next Planet design studio), The Why Factory will look at the current planetary urgencies and to possible interventions to construct alternative futures for our planet (please see description below). In the Spring semester (Czech Checks design studio), the focus will be put in the analysis of the Czech Republic and the proposal of a myriad interventions aimed at triggering a discussion around the country’s future (description of this studio will follow shortly).

Fall Studio:

Earth is our home; Earth supports us and contains all known life in the universe. But our home is threatened: climate breakdown, population growth, deforestation, pollution, income disparities – just to name just a few – are accelerating tremendously. These urgencies demand action and -more than ever- imagination from all of us, from citizens to designers to policy makers.

It is obvious that it is time to begin thinking about our planet in completely new ways. Both the built and the non-built environment have become fundamentally different in many aspects, but we are still trying to physically define it in the same way as before. And we are almost paralyzed in what seems to be a splintered and contradictory reality. On the one hand cities and communities are highly individualistic and increasingly based on the individual unit, and on the other hand global connectivity and awareness is proliferating in almost all our daily activities. There is a need to find ways of bringing together these two extremities – the individual and the collective – from both ends and both conceptually and practically, into possible constructions.

Next Planet is an invitation to pursue collective aspirations instead of cultivating individual dreams by elaborating a new common, global, agenda and formulating hypothetical planetary scenarios for the future. During the design studio at CTU, students will explore a myriad of issues (from the smallest to the largest scale) -one by one-, trying to reveal how the planet will change in technical, social, or economical terms when looking at one variable at a time.

Can we make a planet that can cool down instead of warming up? Can we make a truly green world by reforesting the deserts and covering our cities in vegetation?
How does a scenario of overall equality, freedom or self-sufficiency materialize on our planet? How do automation, nanomaterials, robotics, or biotechnology contribute to the production of a healthier world? If the dense, diverse, and intense city is the one that best responds to the collective need of saving resources and limiting global warming, how can it fulfil our individual desires at the same time?

What urban forms might appear from those scenarios? What architecture, what landscape, what urban design could support such urbanity? What ecosystems, transport networks or infrastructure would emerge?…