Annemie Vermeulen


Annemie Vermeulen, 2AD Space Architects
My interconnected worldview flows from the 1960s change in perspective, initiated by Jane Jacobs book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962). These women's views were radical in opposing the dominant Industrial worldview of the 1960's. Their individual views stem from a long developing relationship concerning the natural world and the perceived boundary between it and humans. This boundary should be obliterated to move towards a holistic understanding that we are equally part of the cosmos, just as the dandelion, worm, bird, and bee are all intertwined. In architecture, this refers to a building and its context working as a unified system with closed loop processes, as Sustainable and Regenerative design paradigms showcase through resilience and holism.

A resilient city is one that harbours complexity and diversity through its functions and systems. The capacity of the city to adapt and allow for change over time, a bounce-back ability, is enhanced by rekindling interconnected relationships, starting at micro scale with small interventions, leading to large scale positive change.

The word palimpsest refers to layering, or partly erasing something to reuse and overlay anew. Translated into design this refers to adapting existing buildings to create new spaces whilst leaving traces of heritage and enabling appropriation by people, fauna, and flora for continued palimpsest.

When designing a building the architect should recognise that change may happen; it is inevitable. Time is continuous, but to capture multiple moments in time is to capture architecture. Therefore, considering architecture in its morphological context allows for a palimpsetic design to emerge that changes and expands while remaining durable and robust throughout the different uses it hosts over time. The spaces should respond to the climate and the changing of seasons to represent the passage of time, palimpsest in motion.