Glossary Definitions [lexicon]

Studio Definitions:

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CODE:

1. A systematic collection or digest of the laws of a country, or of those relating to a particular subject.

2. A system or collection of rules or regulations on any subject.

“3. A system of words arbitrarily used for other words or for phrases, to secure brevity and secrecy” (The Oxford English Dictionary).

Studio 15 believe code to be a means of regulating – either explicitly or implicitly – the way we, as agents perceive, comprehend, communicate and behave within the city. By establishing, demonstrating, and manipulating code, studio 15 hope to gain insight into these mechanisms. Following this, individuals from studio 15 will follow their own lines of enquiry which will inform new spatial manifestations of code. These will  subsequently be developed and tested.

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AGENCY:

Studio 15 embrace agency as a complex term of multiple meanings, embracing the concept that an individual or group should be able to act in the interest of both themselves and others, rather than be passive and subject to the power structures that constitute our society – or field incorporated within that society. [Studio 15 interpretation from (Group, Schrijver, & Kaminer, 2009)]

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AGENT:

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AUTONOMY

Studio 15 sees autonomy as the process by which architecture as a field and profession erects its own boundaries and removes itself from external influences in order to command its own output and discourse.

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BEHAVIOURAL:

1. a. Manner of conducting oneself in the external relations of life; demeanour, deportment, bearing, manners.” (OED)

For Studio 15, Space comes into being when activated/occupied by people. Thus space is strongly affected by human behaviour. Social space in particular, evolves from social codes that are fundamentally affected by human behaviour. Individual behaviour affects how space is used and perceived, also, one’s behaviour is often influential to another person who is in close proximity. Thus, one’s behaviour could also affect how others use and perceive space both implicitly and explicitly. It is important to note that behaviour codes are situational-based, and are therefore affected by other implied codes depending on specific circumstance.

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BOTTOM UP RESEARCH/DESIGN

A Studio 15 approach that looks first to the micro (small scale), and builds from this to construct the overall picture (macro), in order to understand code. Studio 15 look to combine this methodology with its binary opposite – that of top down research – in order to gain a better understanding of code.

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BUILDING CODES:

These codes outline both prescriptive [how something is to be acheived] and performance [minimum standard] requirements for new builds and alterations or renovations of existing buildings in the UK.

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CITIZEN:

1. An inhabitant of a city or (often) of a town; esp. one possessing civic rights and privileges, a burgess or freeman of a city

2. A member of a state, an enfranchised inhabitant of a country, as opposed to an alien; in U.S., a person, native or naturalized, who has the privilege of voting for public offices, and is entitled to full protection in the exercise of private rights.

3. transf. Inhabitant, occupant, denizen. (Of men, beasts, things personified.)

Note: Citizenship first formed in the Greek Polis where an active participation in the community was desirable due to the interdependence between the destiny of the individual and the community. “To take no part in the running of the community’s affairs is to be either a beast or a god!” (Aristotle)

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CITIZENSHIP:

To be legally recognised as belonging to a certain social, political or national community, therefore obtaining the rights and privileges as well as the obligations of that group.

From the Dictionary (OED 2nd Ed. 1989):

The position or status of being a citizen, with its rights and privileges.

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CONDUCT:

Responsibilities, or guidelines for proper practise tied to individuals in particular situations, groups, associations, agglomerations…. In this way they form a set of values or standards which should guide the behaviour of participants in a positive and mutually acceptable way.

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CULTURAL:

“The science or study of human society and culture, and its development” (OED 1)

“relating to the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a society” (OD 1)

For Studio 15 it emerges from society and social codes which is fundamentally based on human behaviour.

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DOXA, OR DOXIC ENVIRONMENT

A doxic environment is a term coined by Pierre Bourdieu. Studio 15 regard this as a scenario that appears so inevitable that no-one seeks to question it. It operates under the premise of ‘naturality,’ ‘misperception,’ and ‘arbitrariness’ (Stevens, 1998, p. 56-57).

Naturality; any particular field exists as a construct which seems so natural and absolute that the agents acting within it do not think to analyse or question it.

Misperception; the architectural field is ordered through ‘naturality’ which structures so successfully due to the illusion of a lack of structure.

Arbitrariness; that naturality and misperception cannot be seen by those within the field. The idea that it is a construct and could be different can only be seen by those outside of the field.

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ECONOMIC

Of, relating to, or concerned with the science of economics or with the economy in general; relating to the development and regulation of the material resources of a community or state.” [OED online 4a]

Studio 15 understands economic codes as one of the complex interdependencies that affect the ‘production of space.’ [Lefebvre] In a highly globalised world that relies upon the continual production and investment of money, space has become privatised and monitored by its owners. This has resulted in many spaces being solely accessible to those who participate in economic transactions or abide by the ‘rules’ of the owner. This has created cities where much of the so called ‘public space’ is actually controlled by a wielding of economic power that creates ownership. However, what happens if space can be inhabited without an expected economic transaction or the associated security measures that result from economic ownership? How would our experience of space fundamentally differ?

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ECOLOGY:

The ‘study of the relationships between living things and their environment’ (Collins Gem English Dictionary, 1996). This goes further than the conventional view that it is a study of natural systems, having extended theoretically to include the study of human subjectivity and societal relations’ (Guattari, 2008). Studio 15 see these inter-relationships as fundamental to the understanding of code.

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ECOSOPHY:

Ecosophy is Felix Guattari’s response to a globalised capitalism and techno-centralism that is leading to a suppressed singularisation and in a way, passivity. He believed that ‘only an ethico – political articulation – which I call ecosophy – between the three ecological registers (the environment, social relations and human subjectivity) would be likely to clarify these questions.’ Studio 15 see this term as a potential route in to code, and its constituent parts as a means to structuring code (Guattari, 2008, p. 19).

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ENVIRONMENT:

The conditions under which any person or thing lives or is developed; the sum-total of influences which modify and determine the development of life or character. (taken from the OED – can’t put it better!)

From the Dictionary (OED 2nd Ed. 1989):

1. The action of environing; the state of being environed

2. concr. a. That which environs; the objects or the region surrounding anything b. esp. The conditions under which any person or thing lives or is developed; the sum-total of influences which modify and determine the development of life or character.

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ETHICS

“The moral principles by which a person is guided.” (OED online 2b)

Studio 15 understands ethics as being fundamentally related to space and being particularly driven by Bauman’s ethics, in which adopting “a moral stance means to assume responsibility for the Other” [Bauman, Z   Alone Again: Ethics After Certainty  p.19] This inclusion of the ‘other’ and the consequent acceptance of diversity and unpredictability is essential to the understanding of the way in which architects can affect people’s “political and phenomenal lives” [Till, J  Architecture Depends  P178] and therefore their relationship with space. The interaction between ethics and space produces the code by which we measure our success; an assumption of responsibility for an ‘other’ becomes the guiding principle by which spatial decisions are made.

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EXPLICIT CODES

Studio 15 see this as when a code is expressed directly through authorisation and/or formal legitimisation.

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FIELD:

An area or sphere of action, operation, or investigation; a (wider or narrower) range of opportunities, or of objects, for labour, study, or contemplation; a department or subject of activity or speculation (The Oxford English Dictionary).

Studio 15 deem the boundaries of any given field to be relative and in a constant state of flux. The field of code is one of multiplicity, and as thus is too large in scale to be comprehensively defined by Studio 15. Therefore Studio 15 has identified the content and boundaries of  their own field of code as those that have spatial and architectural consequences. The studio does not pretend that this is a defined, perfect and finite body of work. Instead we accept and embrace it’s contingency, and aim to persistently challenge and refine its constituents. Furthermore, it is expected that individuals will later define their own field of code, which will comprise their own specific interests and directly inform their studio projects.

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FORMAL CODE

A formal code is one that studio 15 sees as being readily communicated and/or stated, and cognitively adhered to (or broken).

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HABITUS:

‘a product of history produces individual and collective practices – more history – in accordance with schemes generated by history. It ensures the active presence of past experiences, which deposited in each organism in the forms of schemes of perception, thought and action, tend to guarantee the ‘correctness’ of practices and their constancy over time, more reliably than formal rules and explicit norms.’(Bourdieu, 1990, p. 54).

Studio 15 believe that what a person is exposed to – through their family, education, acquaintances, and the media, intrinsically affects how that person perceives and acts.

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IDENTITY:

The fact of being who/what a person/thing is and the characteristics determining this.

From the Dictionary (OED 2nd Ed. 1989):

1. a. The quality or condition of being the same in substance, composition, nature, properties, or in particular qualities under consideration; absolute or essential sameness; oneness.

2. a. The sameness of a person or thing at all times or in all circumstances; the condition or fact that a person or thing is itself and not something else; individuality, personality. b. Personal or individual existence. Rare.

3. ‘The self-same thing.’ Obs. rare.

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IMPLICIT CODES

Studio 15 deem this as when a code is expressed indirectly, and operates without authorisation or formal legitimisation, such as through word of mouth, shadowing of practices and informal legitimisation.

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INDEPENDENCE

“1. Not depending on something else for its existence, validity, efficiency, operation, or some other attribute; not contingent on or conditioned by anything else.”

“2. Not dependent or having to rely on another for support or supplies.”  (The Oxford English Dictionary)

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INFORMAL CODE

In the eyes of Studio 15, this is an implicit or ‘doxic’ code, in that it is indirectly enforced through apparently ‘natural’ discourse.

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INTERDEPENDENCY

In this, ‘the world is understood as interdependent – connecting imagination, conversations, climate science, politics, ecology, the animate, the inanimate, technology and handiwork (Tyszczuk).

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LEGAL:

concern national/regional legality. To those affected, these codes carry legal, binding significance.

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LONG TERM CODES

Codes that Studio 15 believe have an impact (or take place) over an extended period of time.

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MACRO / MICRO:

Literally from large scale to small scale, or XL-XS. Macro represents the idea of a large or wide scale (generalised?) view (eg. that of the entire city or a global network) whereas micro deals with details and focussed views. CODES may have macro or micro effects or causes.

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MULTIPLICITY

Studio 15 sees this as a large number of instances of a code – or constituents of that code.

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PARTICIPATORY

‘The action or fact of having or forming part of something; the sharing of something” (The Oxford English Dictionary).

Studio 15 believes participation in the architectural realm involves the process of engaging with the client and/or user meaningfully in the research and design of architectures.

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POLITICAL

Of, belonging to, or concerned with the form, organization, and administration of a state, and with the regulation of its relations with other states.” (OED online 1a)

For Studio 15 it is important to note that the word politics is derived from the Greek word polis, meaning citizen. A citizen is an “inhabitant of a city or (often) of a town; esp. one possessing civic rights and privileges”. (OED online 1a) It is important to note that citizens have both rights and responsibilities. Space is deeply political because it affects everyone’s personal and collective lives and as citizens we have a ‘right to the city’. Lefebvre argues that “there is a politics of space because space is political” [Lefebvre, h Writings on cities  p.23] and it is this interface of space and politics that is important to consider when understanding codes and who creates them. Till describes the “playing out and manifestation of politics…[as] inherently spatial” [Till, J  Architecture Depends  p.126] and this highlights that Studio 15’s search for tactics to reclaim the ‘right to the city’ will always be political.

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REGULATORY:

Regulatory codes are rules or restrictions which control behaviour at a personal or community scale, generally made and maintained by an authority. In this way they represent codes which facilitate social cohesion and order. “Regulation” has a more informal usage, denoting ubiquity through familiarity and [over] use.

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RULES:

Represent explicit or understood principles order/govern behaviour and interaction [also personal and peer to peer conduct] within a particular activity. As such they represent codes assigned to govern activities or actions.

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SHORT TERM CODES

Studio 15 consider short-term codes as being those that have an impact (or take place) over a small timescale.

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SOCIAL

“Of a human being: living or disposed to live in groups or communities; naturally inclined to be in the company of others. Also of a person’s nature: characterized by a need to live in groups or communities.” (OED online 6a)

Studio 15 understands social codes to be highly influential over spatial production. In order to examine the link between social codes and space it is useful to turn to Lefebvre’s description that “(Social) space is a (social) product.” [Lefebvre, H The Production of Space p.26] This statement clearly removes any notions that space is abstract and enforces its social context. It also opposes the opinion that space is produced by one person ie. the architect. Lefebvre argues that space is ‘produced’ through “a complex set of overlapping societal agencies: the representational, the economic, the phenomenological, the conceptual, the spatial practice of the individual, the collective practice of the political, and so on.” [Till, J  Architecture Depends  p.126]  It is these societal/social agencies/codes that produce space and are vital to explore if we are to negotiate new forms of spatial productions and hence new or adjusted social conditions.

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SOCIETY:

“I. Senses relating to connection, participation, or partnership.

1. The fact or condition of being connected; a connection.

a. With with or between. Obs.

2. a. The state or condition of being politically confederated or allied; confederation.” (OED)

“1. The aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community

the community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations:” (OD)

For Studio 15 it is important to note that the word Society and Social are both derived from the Latin words socius, meaning companion.  Companion is ‘one who associates with or accompanies another; a mate; a fellow’ (OED 1a), thus society relates to space in a similar manner to the relationship between social and space. Society differs from social in the sense that the companionship denotes in society has the responsibility of obeying the codes which are embedded in society; the customs, laws and organisations. Social codes on the other hand derive from the people and they are interdependent to society codes. If “(Social) space is a (social) product” as Lefebvre describes, then society provides a framework to which social space is produced.

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TOP DOWN RESEARCH/DESIGN

A Studio 15 methodology that looks first to the macro (large scale), and consequently breaks this down into its many different constituents – the micro. Studio 15 look to combine this process with its binary opposite – that of bottom up research/design – in order to gain a better understanding of code.

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