The creativity of AA Nanotourism Visiting School 2021

AA Nanotourism Visiting School,

Paul Sebesta, AA nanotourism archive,

Wörthersee, Austria,



The All-Year-Round Cultural Campus is an initiative of the AA Nanotourism Visiting School, an experimental academic programme in architecture based at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Since 2014 it has been working on projects all over the world with students and professionals who want to improve their knowledge, practice and competences in architecture. The 2021 project was conducted in Wörthersee, Austria.

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The creativity of AA Nanotourism Visiting School 2021 
Reflection on how we interact with the places we visit and live in is very important, especially for people who study architecture and will in some way be modelling the environment we live in. The Architectural Association School of Architecture in London has offered the All-Year-Round Cultural Campus initiative since 2014, a programme held in specific local settings to critically address their spatial, programmatic and social issues. Nanotourism as a subject of research is a term coined to describe a creative critique of the environmental, social and economic downsides with conventional tourism in its present form, as a participatory alternative oriented at the local, grassroots level.
Last summer’s workshop was held in Austria, on Wörthersee, a lake popular with tourists. But 83% of the lake’s shoreline is inaccessible to the public. At the same time, the summer residence of the Vienna Boys’ Choir on the lake’s southern shore is an underused property measuring almost 2.5 hectares, one of the last remaining places on the lake that can be opened to the public. 
The AA Nanotourism Visiting School project critically addresses both uncontrolled privatisation of the lakeshore and the lack of awareness of the cultural presence of the Vienna Boys’ Choir in the local community. To change this situation, the All-Year-Round Cultural Campus held three connected initiatives during last year’s two-week Summer School, all in the spirit of the AA. "AA nanotourism is an architectural school of critical thinking that strives to transform the everyday routine into a set of new and meaningful experiences of mutual participation,” says Aljosa Dekleva, programme head and mentor.
The results of the workshop, 'Exchange Fence', 'Stare!' and 'Sound Cannon’, are architectural and artistic proposals offering tools for a new form of cultural exchange between the choir community and the local people, in the hopes of transforming the structure into a year-round cultural site.
The 'Exchange Fence' critically addresses the traditional boundary fence and explores how it can be transformed into a multifunctional element. Part fence, part shop, the 'Exchange Fence' mediates the public boundary by encouraging material exchanges. 
'Stare!' criticises over-privatisation of the lakeshore and offers a functional example of a public space on a privately owned piece of property: a micro-auditorium, a public space with a private view, inviting the public to enjoy a new lake vista. While the 'Sound Cannon' installation challenges the absence of cultural awareness of the presence of the Vienna Boys’ Choir in the local community, offering the choir an opportunity to perform for the public and invite local musicians to collaborate. It is an analogue amplifier of the voice of local culture, standing knee-deep in the lake and singing. 
The three projects were all designed and built in only two weeks: an important experience for the students providing concrete input for Wörthersee. Architecture and art once again join forces to promote change, stimulating people’s curiosity and paving the way for dialogue with the local community while remaining physically in contact with the lake. 
The 2022 All-Year-Round Cultural Campus will be held in August and September in Dresden, Germany. More information at the website: https://nanotourism.aaschool.ac.uk/home/#/dresden-2022/

Christiane Bürklein

All-Year-Round Cultural Campus, AA Nanotourism Visiting School
Location: Sekirn on Wörthersee, Austria
Year: 2021
Images: Paul Sebesta, AA nanotourism archive


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