Spaces for Knowledge Exchange: New Worlds of Leisure

Dora Sweijd and Theo Sarantoglou Lalis

Will we soon experience the end of work? Are we moving towards a jobless future where we will indulge in self-serviced and frictionless lives, with algorithms anticipating our desires? Over the last two years the unit has explored the physical implications of information and communications technologies in the context of spaces for learning. This year our investigation of spaces for knowledge exchange will centre on 'New Worlds of Leisure'.

As the Internet continues to infiltrate every sphere of life, the distinction between spaces for working, dwelling, learning and leisure is collapsing. At the same time, outsourcing, the robotisation of industry and the digitisation of services are all making the future of work increasingly uncertain. This is the context in which we will rethink spaces for leisure within the city. Avoiding the cliché of a commodified space of spectacle and consumption, we will instead concentrate on the political and humanistic function of leisure, defining 'leisure' itself as an existential project involving creative, physical, intellectual and social activity integral to the urban. Leisure as a source of realisation that engages the fundamental essence of our being: enjoyment.

Diploma 17 prioritises the behavioural attributes of architectural form, their capacity to enact and affect participation, stimulate the corporeal experience of space and enhance socialisation and the collective. We will develop architectural projects that engage a socio-political context, focusing on the coupling of leisure practices and other activities within the city. In Diploma 17, we encourage creative thinking that runs concurrent with formal and material experimentation as a way of negotiating our speculative ideas with the real.


Unit Staff


Dora Sweijd and Theo Sarantoglou Lalis are the founders of LASSA, an international architecture studio with offices in London and Brussels. They have lectured internationally, led workshops and taught undergraduate studios at Chalmers, LTU in Sweden as well as the AA since 2009. Theo has taught postgraduate studios at Columbia and Harvard GSD.