In his 1995 text ‘The Generic City’, Rem Koolhaas described hotels as being the “most common building block” of a city. The ‘Hotel Paris’ studio, part of the Architecture – MArch programme at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), encourages students to challenge the conventional idea of a hotel. After embarking on two trips to Paris as part of the project, student Jake Warrington spoke to web intern Rachel Lee about the experience.

Led by Giorgio Ponzo, Dr Christina Nan, and Sophia Banou, the Architecture - MArch ‘Hotel Paris’ studio is an opportunity for participating students to push themselves creatively and experience the iconic architecture of the French capital.

The year-long design studio is divided into two semesters; during the first semester a conceptual framework is created to prepare for the second semester, which is focused on developing and refining the ideas for the final project.

“This project raises some serious questions, both culturally and environmentally,” said Jake Warrington, MArch student, “and these are aspects that will no doubt continue to be considered and implemented in future careers and projects.”

Image: Jake Warrington
Image: Jake Warrington

“It’s a worthwhile experience. Our tutors challenge and push our projects to explore new avenues and possibilities.”

Jake Warrington, Architecture - MArch student

The project required students to make two trips to Paris – one in October 2017 and the second in January 2018 – in order to gather visual research as well as gain a better understanding of Parisian culture, before returning to develop their design concepts. “They were both great fun and very academically beneficial,” said Jake.

Jake’s project focuses on the combination of living, sport and work in order to encourage a healthy lifestyle in a co-existing community complex. He imagines this construction would be located near the Eiffel Tower. “It uses an existing sports centre as the foundation for the project,” said Jake, “and the design proposal essentially wraps these large volumes with working and residential facilitates.”

In addition to the weekly feedback sessions with ECA tutors, during the second trip, students presented their work at the Architecture School of Paris-Malaquais and were constructively critiqued by both local professors and students. “It’s a worthwhile experience,” said Jake, “our tutors challenge and push our projects to explore new avenues and possibilities.”

“It was also a great chance to see what our Parisian counterparts were working on and their methods for working in the design studio,” said Jake.

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