The Edge of Freedom

Jakub Nohejl
FA VUT - Brno University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture
Czech Republic

Project idea

The thesis analyses the ideas of Dutch structuralism in the 1960s and 1970s, and the reasons for its early end.

Through an analysis of its historical development, it discovers the background of its origin in the humanities and its later application in the architectural environment.

By evaluating the current social situation and showing projects that build on the original ideas of structuralism, the thesis finds arguments supporting the possibilities of its further use.

The final proposal reflects the desire to create an open architectural system that can react to the constantly changing needs of users, while supporting the dialogue of individuals in creating one undefined whole.

The image of the final architectural work allows more freedom for users and their influence on the final form of the environment. Unlike conventional architecture, there are no attempts at unification or iconicity, but rather the promotion of diversity, including contradictions and conflicts that create a multitude of unique and not pre-defined situations.

Project description

The proposal of this thesis aims to propose a new concept of the system, combining the dynamics of the New Babylon project, represented by the dialogue of individualities that, even without strict order, can form one unpredictable whole, and the Freeland project with its additive principle framed only by the necessary relationships between users.

Moreover, the project works with an alternative conception of the design and use of public space. The main aim is to shift the responsibility for design and management closer to the real users.

The outcome is a set of rules that allow users to define their space within a defined framework. As an example of the relationships that can arise in the system, the designed rules are applied to a fragment defined only by its total volume, and orientation to cardinal directions.

While this project tries to uplift the role of users and their influence on the outcome of the architectural project, it would be naive to believe that we can simulate the wishes, preferences and decisions of potential users. Therefore, the final form of the fragment is an example of what it would look like if the users' wishes were processed by only one architect.


The result of the thesis tried to answer the problem of homogeneity and dominant representation of the structural order, which was the main reason for the end of the original structuralist period in architecture.
The new system that was described and applied to the small fragment, consisted only of the abstract rules. Contrary to the presented examples that were materialized by some kind of physical module with the fixed dimensions, materials or architectural language, this system works only with the relations and the defined domain.

This concept provides a more open and flexible framework for a dynamic and diverse society. It is ready to absorb new changes in technology and society. A framework where each of the users has influence on a public space. This situation generates the unique spatial environment based of the real users than a definitive vision/order made by the "ARCHITECT".

Technical information

This project was conceived as a conceptual vision of structuralism for the present time. The main outcome is not an image of a fragment, but a manifesto described in text.

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