MIRIAM JACOBSEN / Los Angeles, USA

As a child, the idea of creating spaces which responded to the sun path, fascinated me. That’s what I thought architecture consisted of in its most simplistic way, adapting human tendencies to universal law. At the same time, I found mathematics to be the key that has the power to decipher the interdependencies between what we do and
comprehend, hence my studies in civil engineering. As someone who studied both, the knowledge I bring to the FSA can be predictable; I am technical and creative, a physicist and artist, pragmatic and idealistic. What might not be foreseeable, is the innate ability I possess to change my perspective, to find patterns, and connections; abilities that continue to be enhanced as a consequence of my background and changes of place in the world. I have always easily predicted mathematical outcomes, but when I solved 1+1, I didn’t only see 2, I also saw 1+1=11, 1+1= a couple. The unconscious nature of seeing many possible outcomes to a problem got refined once I entered architecture school. I developed and tested theories of space-time and human-interconnectedness through the formalization and evolution of comprehensive projects. I became captivated with encountering patterns. My belief is that the secret to solving any global issue can be achieved when we decipher them.

It was July 2016; I was visiting Brazil when I received an email with opportunities for fellowships. I started reading the email, without realizing that my life, as I knew it, was about to change. The Steedman Traveling Fellowship, offered by Washington University, caught my attention. The fellowship grants the winner support for international travel and research in, “Adaptation”. The goal is to investigate how buildings can keep pace with changing cultures and context, to explore how flexibility can be incorporated into the design process. I thought of the topic as a great opportunity to further enhance my education. We have the commitment to society and to ourselves, to be “forever students and travelers”. My thinking tests the capabilities of a whole learning experience, as one which is constantly pushing us outside of our comfort zone and makes us question truths that others accept as given. The accumulated application of these beliefs led me to discover the reason as to why I am in this world.

I came back to Los Angeles thinking of the theme, adaptation in architecture; I wondered – how can I explore this enquiry without factually and scientifically researching human adaptation? The trend nowadays is sustainability and global warming, but we are not analyzing what is at the center of the problem – the evolution of human consumption and consumerism. We draw people gazing at our design, connecting to what we build; in other words, we aren’t understanding how consumerism defines and changes user and designer. We depict an architectural-driven utopia by romanticizing a connection between a pre-technological society and digital architecture. Architects’ one-dimensional understanding of how people are adapting to the exponential growth of technology consumption, clouds the possibility to accurately prepare to the consequences exerted over the future reality. The philosophical, socio-economical, and political connection between human and architectural adaptation, led me to propose a developed system of adaptation, Transadaptation. Transadaptation adapts the content to address time-place
relativity; it provides a method by which cultures adapt objects, materials, and tectonics; attempting to translate the architecture of regionalism, globalism, form and program into a localized consumerist approach. This proposal was only the beginning, it opened up a new world of unorthodox inquiries which I continued to study past the submission in my work and other fellowship. It allowed me to bridge from colonialism, permanencies, consumerism, to global inequality, gathering and use of space, macro-economic models, building in space, and last but not least, to the ethics and consequences of inevitable transhumanism – which is said to be the next step on human evolution.

I have awakened to the path we are collectively pursuing and have decided to be an active participant in defining our future. What type of architecture is needed rather than wanted? Are we truly designing for the future human? I want to debate with people who possess different convictions and backgrounds, people who want to tackle issues that are a physical consequence of the intersection between human-adaptation and accelerated-globalism, through the lens of design, science, and philosophy. For me, this is what the FSA is to society; you are setting up a scenario for students to change our perspective, in essence, a tool to try to better understand the world. I would be honored to share with you, to better learn how to think and not what to think. The setting you are creating will allow us to think consciously, differently, and individually. After all, if everybody is thinking the same, no one is thinking at all.

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