How can a traditional, freestanding, public building be translated into a contemporary, wooden building made for public debate?
In the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome, the heart of every city was the Agora or the Forum. Public spaces where people met, socialized, traded, got their news, discussed, debated and made decisions. Places where ideas, knowledge and goods were exchanged. Today, the format of these interactions have gone from analogue to digital. What once was a specific physical space is now available everywhere and anywhere, with both positive and negative consequences. With the degeneration of the public debate and discussion climate, along with polarization and threats towards freedom of speech, both digital and in real life, could architecture play a role in improving the state of these subjects? The aim of this master thesis project is to investigate how the antique forums and the modern internet forums and social media platforms could be combined and converted into a modern, wooden, free standing public building. Wood has for long been seen as a material for smaller scales such as villas, summerhouses or smaller apartment buildings. A material for cheap or rural projects. Stone on the other hand, has always been considered the public, urban material. A material that symbolizes the strength, wealth and robustness of the eternal city. Traditionally, free standing public buildings made out of stone were often inspired by the classical architecture of Rome and Greece. However, the origins of these classical orders has its roots in early archaic wooden architecture.
The proposal strives to create a sustainable architecture, both in terms of architectural robustness as well as the use of sustainable materials. A wooden construction has therefore been chosen as the main material for the thesis investigation. With this in mind. How could wood be used to resurrect the lost typologies of ancient Rome and Greece. Furthermore, how could these classical references be translated into a contemporary, wooden, freestanding public building, made for the freedom of speech and the joy of conversing.