Project 3: Autio:Tupa

Finnish for “bothy”, or “Wilderness Hut”, the autonomous site-specific Autio:Tupa group project will grow from the “Compo:Site” drawing and “Instrument” observations and readings to propose a seasonal space for transient production, observation and dwelling located on or near Georges weir, Oxford, at the intersection of the transitional landscape and the city.

An Autio:Tupa is a contained self-regulated space housing a transient people and their activities that connect them to the changing landscape of water, ice, trees and rock.  In the land of a “Thousand Lakes” the Autio:Tupa provides lodgings for a night, a week, or maybe a month: bunks, a wood burning stove, a bench and a roof.  For the Autio:Tupa wedged within Oxford’s “Dreaming spires” the length and nature of the occupation will be defined by the activity that draws them to the city: to learn, to visit, to write, to draw, to make, to cultivate; and the seasonal cycles of the transitional landscape of harvest and flood, exams, fairs and festivals.

The Autio:Tupa may be permanent or temporary, mobile or static, singular or one of a network, in seasonal or constant use.  It will be big enough for one or two people, but will be compact and designed to cater precisely for the occupants lodgings, the specific activity that brings them to the city and the chosen site, informed by the available resources, and seasonal fluctuations.

The Autio:Tupa will explore how the intensity of the city can be amplified to become more productive and actively and densely occupied, harnessing the cities potential “abundance”, inserting/ overlaying/ integrating additional activity and occupation within the existing increasingly mono-vailent urban fabric; there will be a social agenda.

The result will be a space of purpose and delight, and a city that is more generous, joyful and sustaining, but also more particular in purpose, sense of place and spatiality, with the possible bye-products of cleaner air, greater bio-diversity, moderated heat-island effects, and reducing flooding and transportation costs.


Each group will work together to develop their ideas through sketches, models, experiments, images, drawings, and construction drawings to produce a highly crafted 1:10 articulated model of the final proposal.  The groups will be encouraged to engage and experiment directly in the activities proposed to be housed, and with the proposed materials and methods of construction to inform the development of the design.

To begin the process, you need to get beneath the skin of the urban fabric to understand what it offers, how it is shaped and how it responds to the reality of place; your “Instrument” and “Compo:Site” projects together with your groups skills, obsessions and associations will fuel your proposals.

The concluding phase of the project will be for each student to individually propose how the group Autio:Tupa proposal might evolve and be re-configured or designed to be appropriate to be relocated to Helsinki, Finland

The documentation of the project within each students portfolio will draw on all the group work produced by the group, acknowledging the original author of any drawings/images or models.  The layout, sequence, design, format and narrative of the portfolio sheets will be unique to each student emphasising their contribution to the groups work.

Three phases of work:

1.  “Propose”

  • Working in your groups of four/five students
  • This phase overlaps the completion of the “Compo:Site” project
  • Drawing on each students Instrument readings and Observations, and the developing Compo:Site drawing to establish:     The site and territory for the proposal
  • The typical duration of occupation and purpose of the transient dwellers stay in the Autio:Tupa
  • Available materials and resources
  • Document your process and proposals through drawings, models, experiments, and investigations

2. “Prototype”

  • Working in your groups of four/five students
  • Explore and experiment with the processes and activities proposed to be accommodated to be documented in models and drawings forming a spatial brief for the proposal
  • Develop your “Autio:Tupa” proposal in detail through drawings, models, and prototypes
  • Complete a thoroughly tested, crafted and documented 1:10 articulated physical model of the Autio:Tupa proposal for the Group Review
  • Document your process and proposals through drawings, models, experiments, and investigations

3. “Redeploy”

  • Working individually
  • Through drawings, models and experiments, explore the urban, spatial, cultural and practical implications of a relocating your groups “Autio:Tupa” proposal from Oxford to Helsinki, Finland
  • Consider how the proposal might evolve and be re-configured to respond to the re-location
  • Complete drawings and models your proposals to capture the implications for the Autio:Tupa and  the city for the Portfolio Review

Materials, Media and Drawing:

Use any media, material or technique that is appropriate to best communicate your ideas


  • Introduction:                            Thursday 17th October       Week 4
  • Interim Review:                        Thursday 7th November      Week 7
  • Group Review:                          Thursday 28th November    Week 10
  • Portfolio Review:

2nd yrs     Monday 9th December        Week 12
3rd yrs     Thursday 12th December     Week 12



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