Atelier SYN's Jean-Maxime Dufresne and Jean-François Prost present at the Risk Conference at Taubman College on March 30, 2012.
At the intersection of many often-contradictory trains of thought, the urban environment is evolving along lines that are increasingly difficult to grasp. In this context, the status of spatiality – from neglected leftover space to tightly controlled "junkspace" – raises many questions. Confronted by such zones of ambiguity, SYN- thinks it is important to capture their conceptual and experiential dimensions in order to inform a proactive practice. It is in this perspective that SYN- approaches urban exploration as an occasion for intervention and research.
SYN- is a Montreal-based urban exploration atelier comprised of architecturally trained artists Jean-Maxime Dufresne, Luc Lévesque and Jean-François Prost. Since its inception in 2000, SYN- has developed a wide range of urban interventions and public workshops, that include hypothetically mooring picnic tables on a constellation of residual, underused or trivialized sites; exploring Montreal's 30-kilometer long indoor and underground city as a single hyper-building; enquiring into design considerations related to winter microclimates; testing out possibilities for urban insertions and social catalysis with mobile fussball tables in Paris' 18th arrondissement; contributing to the informal expertise of urban gardeners in Dakar with a network of public equipment; engaging University of Guelph's campus as a locus for fostering new kinds of actions, social configurations and interrelations in common space. SYN-'s work has been featured in venues including: Canadian Centre for Architecture; Biennale de Montréal; Graham Foundation; 1st International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam; and UIA XXI World Congress, Berlin.