This studio investigates the space of diplomacy through the design of an Interstitial Consulate. Specifically, the brief calls for the design of a consulate that can be occupied by a newly established nation before they are able to configure a more permanent diplomatic mission. It is imagined that the Interstitial Consulate will operate as a pop-up space to be inhabited by a series of diplomatic missions; each using the entire building temporarily before vacating the premises to allow for occupation by another state’s consulate.
Newly established states are required to develop a new political presence, establish diplomatic connections, and redefine systems of economy. There are a number of common challenges that new nations face post declaration of independence, these include; the lack of full recognition as an independent state, a reconfiguration of economic resources and strategies, as well as ethnic tensions within the new country and border disputes at its periphery (Taylor 2014). It is expected that the Interstitial Consulate will provide a mechanism to promote resolution of these conflicts.
Unlike its traditional architectural model, the Interstitial Consulate is required to employ spatial design not to represent a nation (South Sudan, Palau, Montenegro) but to represent the idea of what it means to be a new government. It is not the intention of the brief to incite works that are politically neutral – rather, to architecturalise the political significance of statehood-in-development. The project therefore should not be about designing democracy, designing monarchy, designing anarchy or designing autocracy – but rather, designing diplomacy.