Elective Classes and Option Studios

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Fall 2019 Elective Classes

Theory

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Visual Representation

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Building Technology

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History of Architecture and Urban Development

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Also listed under Architecture, Culture, and Society (ACS)

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Fall 2019 Option Studios

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112

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‘The Earthly Paradise with the Fall of Adam and Eve’, Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel

The Earthly Paradise with the Fall of Adam and Eve, Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
(Co)Exist

  • Instructor: Beat Huesler, Tom McKeogh, Chad Oppenheim
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20-4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

We are the most connected species to roam this planet, possessing the technological ability to instantaneously experience the world beyond our physical limits. We are also the most disconnected, alienated from each other and our habitat. Our ancestors were said to live in a sublime utopia, in harmony with nature. For the last 5,000 years, this utopia has given way to an increasingly hostile coexistence. Man has sought to dominate, manipulate, and exploit the natural world, departing ever further away from an earthly paradise. (Co)Exist addresses man's increasingly adversarial and unsustainable relationship with the natural world.

As the number of humans on the planet exceeds 7.5 billion, technological advancements facilitate the efficient exploitation of nature at an industrial scale — all in the name of progress. If we do not create countermeasures to combat the cartel of destructive forces harming our planet, the future will be less habitable for our species. (Co)Exist will recalibrate the notion of destruction through construction, and craft experiences that connect us more viscerally with the world around us.

Future Primitive

The studio will disrupt established and contemporary structures, hierarchies, and systems. Our site, on the barrier island of Virginia Key, is ripe for reinvention. A protected ecological treasure, the once romantic island is home to the largest wetland mangrove in the state, but also 125 acres of landfill and the antiquated Central District Treatment Plant, built in 1953. Nothing is safe. We will mine crumbling edifices for future potential, invert creaking bureaucracies and liberate a potential new society, conceived with the land not on it, striking new synergies with emerging ecosystems and new economies for the next age of human existence.

Studio Methodology

The studio's methodological approach will oscillate between techniques of earthly, experiential model-making — enhanced and informed by four-dimensional drawing — and animated simulation. The studio includes a field trip* (September 21–29) to Miami, Virginia Key, and selected architecture and (natural) phenomena of the region.

*$500 field trip contribution per student is required.

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drawing of a side view of an apartment building with views to the interior

Other Medians: Perceivable Future (2018) by Studio Ames.

ARCH 4509
Architectural Representation and the City (AAP NYC)

  • Instructor: Daisy Ames
  • Time: F 2:30–5:30 p.m.
  • Location: AAP NYC
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

Architectural representations are specific forms of communication within the discipline, and most notably, an expression of the author who creates them. The author works within a time and place – a sociohistorical moment. In this moment, the author chooses to uphold the status quo or to challenge it. The reasons for upholding or challenging the status quo have everything to do with their influences, beliefs, and technical skills. These choices eventually shape our impression of the space being represented, and potentially how we experience the space in real life. For these reasons, architectural representations can be meaningful and powerful.

Lectures, readings, and class discussions will acquaint students with techniques of representations; drawing assignments will assist in developing these techniques. In developing the techniques, students will begin to locate their own interests within our current sociohistorical moment in New York City. Locating one's own interests leads to understanding one's own authorship, and in doing so, also furthers one's ability to justify and defend one's choices based on architectural precedent and history.

Students will select one building in New York City to analyze through the techniques from the lectures, readings, and class discussions. The students will produce a total of five drawings throughout the semester, including one final drawing in which the student will author their own architectural representation.

Students must be available the weekend of September 14 and 15 for an architecture tour of selected buildings.

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Golfers on a fairway with people on a fence in the background

photo / Reuters (2014)

ARCH 3308 (AAP NYC)
Bordering

  • Instructor: Sean Anderson
  • Time: Th 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
  • Location: TBD
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse

Exerting a powerful influence on how we visualize ourselves today, security "systems" define aesthetic, political, and material realities. Driven by transnational migrations, the design and imagining of boundaries affect spatial forms and ecologies of the future. This seminar recenters notions of seeing that have been engaged by architects and artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries as a means through which to detect and critique shifting meanings of conflict. Staged across three interrelated notions, the seminar will establish new domains for considering how architecture rescripts our approaches to architectural ideas and their manifestation.

This interdisciplinary seminar is organized across three platforms for independent and collaborative research. The first, Entanglements, observes a cross-section of diachronic architectural and artistic examples within a number of contexts to underscore thinking about the nature of borders and their making. Exhibitionisms will be a means through which to reframe and undo normative assumptions concerning the making of an exhibition. Here we will interrogate aspects of exhibition design and thinking from a functional and political perspective. Is the gallery a border? The third, Deviations, will allow each student to develop the first documents, questions, and critical lines of inquiry for the imagining of a thesis in architectural design. Our semester will be organized accordingly with unmatched opportunities to visit a number of museums and creative spaces throughout New York City that will be opening exhibitions of architecture and art alongside provocative conversations with curators, architects, advocates, and designers.

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Visualization of the Hessian of a volumetric field.

Visualization of the Hessian of a volumetric field.

ARCH 6509
Coding for Design (Cornell Tech)

  • Instructor: Panagiotis Michalatos
  • Time: F 9 a.m.–1 p.m., biweekly
  • Location: 81 Bloomberg Center, Cornell Tech campus, New York City
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

The class introduces students to fundamental concepts and techniques for the integration of coding within design workflows. The emphasis of the class is on the practical applications and design opportunities within such techniques while helping students understand the theoretical background and conceptual implications behind them. From a technical point, students will be introduced to a range of subjects including computational geometry, simulations, digital signal analysis, and computer vision. The aim is to develop the foundational skills and knowledge in order to be able to represent, analyze, and act upon geometric structures as well as handle real time, event driven, and temporal situations emerging in responsive architecture, robotic fabrication, and interaction design.

The class is structured as a series of lecture/workshops accompanied by practical tutorials that will help students develop their coding skills.

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A composite of five images of drawings of plant stages, plaster fasts, and tools

Top left: intermediate plant stages, Metamorphosis of Plants (Goethe); top right: fabric form plaster casts (Naomi Frangos studio); bottom: Fig Machine, production/detail (Naomi Frangos).

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
Coevolutionary Archetypes

  • Instructor: Naomi Frangos
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

In his 1790 treatise on botany, Metamorphosis of Plants, Wolfgang von Goethe's scientific understanding of "dynamic archetypes" focused on transformation and evolution rather than fixed forms and species. In current parametric design trends, this ideology can be seen as analogous to custom repetitive manufacturing of architectural or structural components or assemblies that aim to achieve variability in production, often for aesthetic results. The challenge remains to balance cost-efficiency and reusable effectiveness while maintaining design inquiry embedded in the technique itself.

Inspired by phenomena found in nature, this research-creation, fabrication-based studio explores symbiotic relationships and metamorphic states in the making process through coevolutionary and generative relationships between transformable molds and cast elements. As casting is no longer a process of replication (Chandler, 2017), employing this technique offers opportunities for both form-finding and form-making to occur. Tools and processes are informed by experiments in metal, plaster, concrete, ceramics, or glass, blending analog and digital modalities to revive humanism in the machine, and allowing for material intuition to have agency — with craft at the core.

Small-scale iterative studies test the limits and possibilities of materiality without a predetermined final scale in mind. Focusing primarily on the design of formwork that is transformable shifts the formal dialogue to include both positive and negative realms. One-to-one prototypical generations of forms are produced that can exist as individual serial or relatable details, or aggregate as an architectural structure/surface. The group work comes together as a curated installation, placing the archetypes in dialogue with site-specific installations inside, around, or just outside the school to create a spatial experience composed of fragments. When moving through the building, their memory is experienced as a whole.

Familiarity with 3D modeling software is highly desirable. Prior shop knowledge and successful safety training is required. A field trip(s) to Corning may occur sometime during the week of September 21–29.

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Scenes of a futuristic New York City skyline. Scenes of a futuristic New York City skyline.

New York City skylines.

ARCH 3308/6308
Design in Real Estate Development

  • Instructor: Henry Richardson
  • Time: T 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse, Architecture and Urbanism

Class Objectives

This class examines the role of designers as key value creators in the real estate development process. Design will be discussed at different scales of the built environment including urban design, landscape architecture, building, and interior design. Special emphasis is placed on the generative as well as integrative role of design in real estate process — specifically, the ability of design to create something out of nothing as well as synthesize different stakeholder agendas into built form. The value framework for analyzing the role of design will draw on the Austrian School of Economics, New Growth Theory, readings from Alberti and Palladio, conventional concepts of real estate valuation based on net operating income, capitalization rates, and discounted cash flow; and the more contemporary "Triple Bottom Line" sustainable for sustainable development. The class uses selected real estate development case studies and available research to illustrate design value creation. The format is class presentations immediately followed by engaged class discussion and analysis of case studies by teams. A roster of distinguished architects and developers complement class presentations with special webinars and on-site presentations of their projects. A special feature of the class is a short esquisse to prepare a development project in New York City in response to a request for proposal. The main requirement of the class is an individual or team term paper or project.

Class Organization/Assignments/Grading

The class is organized into five modules:

  • Module one covers design value creation at the scale of urban design. It uses the design of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan to uncover the perineal issues of culture and commerce.
  • Module two discusses architectural typologies, real estate product types, and guidelines and strategies for value-add design, such as branding, "the Bilbao Effect," iconic design, etc.
  • Module three focuses on concepts and strategies for placemaking, especially the role of "Culturepreneurs."
  • Module four covers value-add design processes including creativity and innovation in design.
  • Module five is devoted to presentations by students of their term papers/projects.
  • Student participation is required through class discussions, class assignments, and individual or team presentations. Letter grading only.

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Entrance to two rounded structures with a tree in front of the door.

Renzo Piano, Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New Caldedonia, 2002.

ARCH 4601
Ecological Literacy and Design

  • Instructor: Jack Elliott
  • Time: T, Th 10:10–11:25 a.m.
  • Location: 4301 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology

DEA 4220 is a design-oriented lecture/seminar course for students who are concerned about the role they play as design professionals in affecting the biophysical world. The course's prime objective is to develop a new worldview founded on a broader sensitivity for things living and an accompanying set of meaningful environmental ethics. The course's secondary objectives are to develop a deeper knowledge of environmental issues, construct conceptual frameworks for analysis of these issues and to demonstrate how ecological knowledge can be applied to design. The course consists of a variety of learning experiences as vehicles for developing ecological awareness as it pertains to design. The emphasis will be on maintaining a sustained participation by the student throughout the semester. Students will engage in readings, writings, guest lectures, and class discussions. Field trips and site visits are also possible. Course projects will include reading assessments, an eco-sensitivity project, and a real-world green team project. Student presentations will be conducted at the end of the term.

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black and white geometric figure with a black rectangle in a white box above it

Babel, from Citizens of No Place (Jimenez Lai, 2012).

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
Exquisite Corpse: A Whole with Many Parts

  • Instructor: Jimenez Lai, Mark Acciari
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

This studio examines a large mixed-use architecture — a building that contains multiple worlds within it. By subdividing this large building into parts, we can produce an architecture with character both on the outside and on the inside.

Students are asked to consider design at all scales, "from spoons to cities," so the saying goes. This range of design demands that the architect has a comprehensive understanding of human culture. Another way of framing this is the notion of Gesamtkunstwerk, or "total work of art" — a design ambition in which the architect fully anticipates the choreography of social dynamics within his or her designs. As such, design is not just a creation of hardware (architecture), but also a creation of software (culture).

In this studio, we will establish a part-to-whole understanding of the project. The "whole" being a collection of cities inside of a building, a mixed-use structure we will call a phalanstery. The "parts" being prefectures or jurisdictions that should each have their own architectural, economic, and sociopolitical agendas. Apart, this is a city of cities, but, when recombined together, this city becomes one oversized building with subpockets of plural cultures within it. Akin to a surrealist Exquisite Corpse, each individual jurisdiction will take on their own "thesis."

The site for this studio is Taipei, a city with high density and a housing shortage. Resultantly, people build (often illegal) buildings on top of buildings. We are proposing to formalize this approach by adding buildings onto an existing block in Taipei and studying its implications.

Through the lens of set theory, we will consider how superimpositions, differences, mergers, and other mathematical sets impact the architecture spatially, materially, structurally, and programmatically. We will also study the existence and formation of subcultures at the site.

Visiting Critic Jimenez Lai will be in Ithaca for visits on the following dates: August 30, September 13–16, October 11–14, October 30–November 1, November 13–15, and December 6 (or final review) and will also participate in the September 21–29 field trip* to Taiwan. Visiting Critic Mark Acciari will collaborate in the studio on a full-time basis in Ithaca.

*$500 field trip contribution per student is required.

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a historical black and white photo of a man holding a framed photo with a white statue in the background

ARCH 6801
Foundations of the Discipline (of Architectural History)

  • Instructor: D. Medina Lasansky
  • Time: F 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 211 West Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 4
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse

Explorations of seminal positions that established the disciplinary praxis of the history of architecture and urbanism, based on case studies.

Instructor permission required:

Please attend the first class to request enrollment.

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A wooden frame with spikes on top installed on a beach

Luigi Ghirri, Ravenna, 1986.

ARCH 3308/6308
Fragments: Contemporary Architectural Conditions

  • Instructor: Florian Sauter
  • Time: W 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 144 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse

In a time of anything goes that shows no uniform theoretical agenda but rather a series of very personal explorations into the possibilities of space-making, this seminar seeks to explore six different notions — presence, surrealism, archaism, freedom, space-time, and loss — of how to possibly frame the contemporary architectural condition.

It is no secret that from an operative standpoint the internet has proven its worth: as a tool that enables the easy transfer of data and communication, it has revolutionized architectural working procedures and allowed numerous offices to build globally on a hitherto unknown, at least quantitative, scale. Besides, in recent years several blog-based architectural sites have arisen, which, with their additive structures, have demonstrated perfect ease to track down the ever new. Both in terms of their pace of collecting information and their array of outlook they make the classical project-oriented and printed periodical look outdated. Gathering dozens of yet unheard of voices, these sites allow for the first time in history architects from all parts of the world to be present in the architectural discourse, herewith shifting the focus from a former elite and American-European dominated debate towards new centers of activity.

At the same time, however, the culture of criticism and theoretical production has also changed: while the architect increasingly seems to "just" build but very rarely writes — in basic terms, he or she follows the project-oriented online-demand — it is oftentimes hired historians that try à posteriori to analyze and situate their work. Counteracting that trend, this seminar will look precisely at the little that is written by mostly young, contemporary architects about their work, and position it in the wider conceptual framework of the six different notions.

In sum, the class intends to sharpen the students' critical sense, work with their memories and personal interests, besides expanding their general architectural awareness of what are important issues being discussed today. In its format, it is highly interactive and discussion-based. Short presentations on selected texts are to be made throughout the semester, while a short paper on a chosen topic has to be handed in at the end.

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gray-scale drawing of a floorpan

Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, floor plan of Oïkema, Maison de Plaisir, projected for the ideal city of Chaux, France (ca. 1789).

ARCH 3819/5819/4408/6308
Gender, Architecture, Intersectionality

  • Instructor: Samia Henni
  • Time: W 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse, Architecture and Urbanism

Intersectionality considers the ways in which different forms and norms of social stratification, such as class, disability, race, religion, and sexual orientation, overlap with gender. Intersectional feminism claims and promotes social equity and unpacks various systems of power and discrimination. How does intersectionality relate to design, architecture, urbanism, and spatial justice? In what ways do intersectional gender practices and theories impact architecture and the production and consumption of spaces? Why does intersectionality matter in architecture and urbanism? This seminar offers an introduction to the histories of intersectional gender practices and theories in their intrinsic relationship to designed and built environments.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend introductory class.

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Aerial view of the Lincoln Memorial with the mall in the background

Aerial view of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

ARCH 3822/5822/4408/6408
History of American Landscape Architecture

  • Instructor: Leonard Mirin
  • Time: T, Th 12:20–1:10 p.m.
  • Location: 157 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Urbanism

This course examines the development of landscape architecture as a distinctive expression of the American experience from the early sacred and communal land manipulations of the Native Americans through to Thomas Jefferson and on into the present. The course traces the intersecting influences of the physical landscape, the cultural attitudes and assumptions of democracy, technology and Capitalism, and the immigrant baggage of memory on the form of urban parks, world's fairs, private and corporate estates, campuses, suburban and public housing, transportation planning, recreation grounds and other contemporary aspects of open space design in which landscape architects have made significant contributions.

Course requirements include 1) a midterm and a final exam; 2) a sketchbook documenting the work of a significant American landscape architect, a typical genre associated with the American tradition and a specific landscape detail/or a carefully documented research paper.

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a gridded wall with a desk and circular reflective tool on it

The Deckhouse, John Young, London 1980-90.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
Home

  • Instructor: Luben Dimcheff
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20-4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

The studio will investigate the evolving notions of domesticity and will propose a critical and creative redefinition of Home, and, more specifically, of the house as a formative building archetype.

Conceptual constructs of the reimagined new domestic will be developed initially as purely siteless propositions, focused on the rituals of habitation; then to be understood not only as personal reflections on self-identity but also as much broader statements probing the relationship between home and society, culture, and politics. These projective models will be submitted in early October to the international Home Competition.

In the second half of the semester, those original concepts of Home will be developed into tectonic, material form, and spatial realities, to be tested on radical sites varying in location, context, and climate. The architectural design, framed by critical examination of Home, will also advance our understanding of site, materiality and light, spatial atmosphere, and the human experience.

This studio is based in Ithaca.

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Axiom drawing with roof, roof supports, core, walls, slab, and template forms noted

Wexler and Harrison, Steel Development House with U.S. Steel Corporation (ca. 1960).

ARCH 6819
Infrastructures of Modernity: Concepts for Histories of the Global

  • Instructor: Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió
  • Time: T 2:30–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 4
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Urbanism

This course draws on recent theorizations of infrastructure in urban and architectural history, the humanities, and social sciences to rethink modernity and globalization in the 19th and 20th centuries. Taking as the starting point, not particular infrastructures, but the normative and analytic concepts that have historically been employed to enact or understand regimes of geographic integration will allow us to consider how infrastructures themselves are enmeshed in the production of particular ordering logics, spatial patterns, and territorial textures of globality. The ordering concepts under examination are constitutive of "the infrastructural" as a category that, while inflected through geographic and political specificities, describes a typical mode of (liberal) globalization which foregrounds technical connectivity, reliability, interoperability, and environmental endurance — though not always delivering these conditions.

In this sense, railways, waterways, communications systems, supply chains, land surveying techniques, urban planning practices, organizational management tools, and marketing technologies, among others, are all to be understood as "infrastructural" ”— large-scale, complex assemblages combining material and ideological processes that generate particular landscapes and constellations of globality. Infrastructures are the mediatory tissues of a modernity bent on universalizing growth; challenging this seemingly automatic growth requires opening the analytical lens beyond sites of production to examine regimes of reproduction and jurisdiction. In other words, infrastructures will be examined as distributive mechanisms for the political and the ontological itself — not merely the economic — thus suggesting critical approaches for decolonizing capitalist globalization, showing its co-existence with other alternative modernities and globalizations.

These critical theories and histories of infrastructure provide a grammar and a vocabulary for thinking capitalist globalization, and its multiple antitheses, through different ways of ordering concepts and space. In turn, this will allow us to consider the relation between the architectural, the urban, and the rural, anew, providing a critical framework to engage with new infrastructural thinking, like the Green New Deal.

Instructor permission required:

Preference for Ph.D., master's, and advanced undergraduate students. Students should email me a short paragraph (three sentences maximum) on their research interests.

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A white square set within a larger white square separated by rocks

Robert Smithson, Mono Lake Nonsite, 1968.

ARCH 3308/6308
Land Art and the City

  • Instructor: Gesa Büttner Dias
  • Time: Th 2:30–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse, Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Urbanism

Can we think of a city as nature? Can a place exist that is equal parts city and nature — and what would this be called?

The seminar will look at land art as a map for speculation on the dialectic between city and nature. Land art emerged in the 1960s with the creation of heroic scaled and remotely located sculptures. The artists questioned the institution of the museum and searched for a dialectic other, which they found in the raw elements of nature.

We will study the theory, tools, and creations of land art. We will catalog raw nature in selected cities. We will think, discuss, and write about concepts of dialectic urbanism, of architecture and nature. We will start an atlas of spaces that are entropic, peripheral, multi-perspectival, phenomenal, unproductive, and untimely.

This theory seminar will be organized through lectures, screenings, student presentations, and group discussions in class. Students will research selected land art projects and prepare case studies of selected cities/nature. In the final paper, students will present a topic developed over the course of the seminar.

Participation in the fall 2019 Preston H. Thomas Memorial Lecture Series symposium on November 7–8 will be expected.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

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Five topographical map sections

Geological Sections Through Trinidad, by H. G. Kugler, 1959. The Petroleum Association of Trinidad, 1961.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
Landscapes of Extraction: Climate Change and the Urban Infrastructure of Oil in Trinidad & Tobago

  • Instructor: Tao DuFour
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20-4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

This studio will explore the industrialized and urbanized landscapes of oil and gas extraction on the island of Trinidad in the southern Caribbean. Petroleum and other hydrocarbon deposits within geological strata of the island and its coastal waters were discovered in the 19th century when Trinidad was a British colony; as early as 1866 the world's first continually producing oil well was drilled in the south of the island. Today, Trinidad and Tobago is the primary oil and natural gas producers in the Caribbean, with one of the largest natural gas processing facilities in the Western Hemisphere located on the west coast of Trinidad. As a significant producer and consumer of hydrocarbons, the island is implicated in climate change; at the same time, however, as a small island developing state whose patterns of settlement and urbanization are primarily coastal, it is also vulnerable to the effects of climate change, specifically the interrelated phenomena of global warming, sea-level rise, and environmental hazards of weather — increasing frequency and severity of storms and hurricanes. Through interdisciplinary research methods — drawing on architecture, urbanism, geography, and ecology — the studio proposes to interrogate the overlapping territories of urbanized and industrialized landscapes of oil and gas production along the west coast of Trinidad, in order to discover and describe their complexity, and project possibilities for design in the face of the urgencies of climate change.

The studio will involve a week-long joint field trip to Trinidad with students in the Mellon Expanded Practice Seminar, titled Atmospheric Pressures: Climate Imaginaries and Migration in the Caribbean, cotaught by Tao DuFour and Natalie Melas and developed in collaboration with Mark Raymond of the Caribbean Collaborative for Architecture and Urbanism, University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. The field trip will take place from September 21–29.

*$500 field trip contribution per student is required.

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painting of a plate with lobster, silver jug, and fruit

Pieter Claesz, Plate with lobster, silver jug, large Berkenmeyer, fruit bowl, violin and books (1641).

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
Market Forces

  • Instructor: Kevin Carmody, Andy Groarke, Rodolfo R. Dias
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

Project: Remediating a ruin
Site: The ruins of Smithfield Meat Market, London
Program: Eating and drinking

The project will be set in the context of the rapidly changing relationship we have with the production, consumption, and representation of food within the city and society as a whole. Just like the paintings of the golden age of Dutch still life painting became more an aspirational representation of a lifestyle rather than what one might eat and drink every day (as the boastful Instagram shot of a restaurant meal may do today), our relationship with both the origins and also the enjoyment of food has become abstracted and mediated. The project seeks to speculate about architecture in a way that connects specific and vivid experiences and memories of food to the design of objects, rooms, and buildings.

The studio will take the partially ruined structures of Smithfield Meat Market, one of London's most historically important and prosperous food markets, although now subject to severe economic and physical decline, as the nexus of research. It will develop site-specific proposals for fitting new architectural form and purpose into an evolving physical, historical, and societal situation. Each project will seek alternative futures to the current redevelopment of the meat market into a Museum of London, in a way that instead reconnects this city center site to the experience and enjoyment of the production, distribution, and consumption of food once again.

The project will resist digital forms of representation in favor of making and recording physical models at various scales to develop the formal (urban and architectural), spatial, constructive, and atmospheric ideas about architecture. There will be three exercises in total to format the semester (two individual and one group work).

Andy Groarke will be in Ithaca for a total of four teaching visits (including project introduction and final review) and will be joined by Kevin Carmody for at least one of these visits. Interim fortnight reviews by Andy Groarke and Kevin Carmody will be run by Skype (from London) once per month. Rodolfo R. Dias will teach the studio full time in Ithaca. The field trip* will be to London, September 21–29, and may include visits to relevant projects by Carmody Groarke elsewhere in the U.K.

*$500 field trip contribution per student is required.

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an abstract sculpture resembling waves of cream colored ribbon

Tara Donovan, Untitled (2008), polyester film, altered light.

ARCH 4509/6509
Matter

  • Instructor: Tom McKeogh
  • Time: F 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

Focus and Goal

The premise of this intensive seminar is to produce innovative work that is experimental, personal, ambitious, weird, exquisite, and investigative — rather than definitive, preconceived, or referential.

Our seminar is a space of intensely iterative exploration and inquiry into the spatial potential of material. You will think, make, and record with rigor, repetition, and an open-ended determination.

Constraints facilitate productivity. You will navigate matrices of catalytic variables, iteratively negotiating material potential, craft, and effect. The primary output of the seminar will be physical, produced within the precise constraint of a 9" x 9" x 27" volume that explores the following material categories:

  • Concrete
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Biomatter
  • Methodology

In 12 weeks, you will craft six material territories, each responding to specific criteria. The first week in every two you will create a new 9" x 9" x 27" material construct. You will then remake, interrogate, refine, and transform your artifacts in new media "landscapes." Critical positions and firmly held personal narratives will emerge informed by your material obsessions.

Our seminar is a platform for intense testing, trial, and exchange. We take critical dialogue seriously. You will perform as both supporter and critic of your seminar colleagues. You will benefit from productive contamination by the best of your peers, infusing your work with greater strategic intelligence.

Our seminar presumes a level of expertise — each participant will bring their previously earned technical capacities and their unique abilities that can be exploited to awaken material innovation.

Students must attend the first class. Bring something physical — made prior to this term — that is the result of your effort and makes you proud, with a back-story that you'd like to share with the group.

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Blackand white drawing a milk crate with dimensions ntoed

ARCH 4605/6605
Our Plastic Futures

  • Instructor: David Costanza
  • Time: T 12:20–2:15 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

Our Plastic Futures will unpack the use of plastic materials within architecture, while reframing the conversation around plastic from a cheap, weak, and disposable material, to a valuable, finite resource, with unparalleled properties.

Students will research plastic objects and systems, through the lenses of materiality, manufacturing, geometry, and structure, and will reimagine those systems in an architectural context through a full-scale prototype.

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Black and white photo from the 70s of six men looking closely at a surface

ARCH 4605/6605
Physics of Form: Force Based Design and Fabrication

  • Instructor: Martin Miller
  • Time: Th 10:10 am.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Representation

This course will explore the potential applications of physics-based solvers as a tool for the generation of behavior-based form and structure. Questioning the digital beyond visualization to a space of real-world informed prototype we will build upon previous research to find more efficient and elegant form derivative of a materials deformative behaviors.

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12 photos of geometric or structural details of buildings

Credits in text below.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
Rational Form Finding

  • Instructor: Angela Pang with Guest Lecturer Yoshiyuki Hiraiwa
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20-4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

In pursuit of freedom in aesthetics, the disciplines of architecture and structural design have always worked hand in hand in expanding new possibilities of form finding and space making. Rationality is at the heart of modernism's approach and can be traced back to Vitruvian principles of logic and order of Classical architecture. In the period since World War II, there have been two overarching trajectories in structural design. The first is the gradual reduction of mass, as exemplified in the Domino House and the Miesian language. The other is the transition from clear Euclidian geometries in spatial structures (such as the Pantheon) to a return of
naturalism and free forms.

Optimization precedes superfluous forms. This studio highlights the collaboration between architects and structural designers in exploring new possibilities of form finding. The dominant value in this collaborative relationship has been that of structural rationalism, as expounded upon by the work of Brunelleschi and Viollet-le-Duc. Students will learn from this studio the possibilities of close integration between structural concept and architectural design, contrary to the conventional practice of a linear progress from architect's imagery to structural engineer's implementation.

The main goal of this studio is for students to discover the differences between geometry-based form making versus structurally based rational form finding. Structure is not only a problem-solving process but a key to new possibility in design.

This research-based studio is organized into three parts:

  • Part I is research of major paradigms of form/structure with both historical and more recent precedents. Cases may include Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, Candela's Bacardi Bottling Plant, SANAA and Sasaki's Rolex Learning Center at EPFL, Ishigami and Konishi's KAIT Workshop, Nishizawa and Sasaki's Teshima Art Museum, Siza and Balmond's Portuguese Expo Pavilion, and Ito and Balmond's Taichung Opera house among others.
  • Part II is an experimental workshop. Led by structural engineer Yoshiyuki Hiraiwa, who will join as a guest lecturer, we will conduct a series of experiments through scale models to test structural concepts. Hiraiwa will also offer a series of lectures on principles of structural concept design and its symbiotic relationship with architecture.
  • Part III caps the studio with a design charrette that is based on the work between research information and empirical knowledge. Emphasizing the importance of experimental explorations on new form finding, the project is to design a pavilion on a neutral site on campus.

Photo credits:

  • Top row from left: Mamoru Kawaguchi, Jumbo Koinobori, Kazo 1988; Alvaro Siza and Cecil Balmond, Portugal Expo Pavilion, Lisbon 1998; Cecil Balmond and Anish Kapoor, Marsyas, Tate Modern 2003; Berthold Lubetkin, Penguin Pool, London 1934
  • Middle row from left: Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond, Serpentine Pavilion, London 2002; Shukhov Tower, Vladimir Shukhov, Moscow 1927; Antoni Gaudi, Sagrada Família, Barcelona 1882–current; Buckminster Fuller, Geodesic Dome, Montreal 1967
  • Bottom row: Junya Ishigami and Konishi, KAIT Workshop, Kanagawa 2008; Félix Candela, Narvarte church, Mexico City 1953; SANAA and Mutsuro Sasaki, EPFL Rolex Learning Center, Lausanne 2010; FOA, Yokohama Ferry Terminal, Yokohama 2004

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Six images of robots and cyborgs from old movies

A) Greg Lynn; B) Coop Himmelb(l)au; C) Diller Scofidio and Renfro; E) Nicholas Negroponte; F) Haus Rucker Co.

ARCH 4408/4509/6509
Robots, Cyborgs, and Architecture

  • Instructor: Rachel Dickey
  • Time: T 2:30–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

Premise: As our bodies, buildings, and cities are being retrofitted with technology to gain dynamic intelligence and contextual awareness, how might we, as designers, provide visions of new spatial typologies and new modes of practice? The purpose of this class is to explore the space between architecture and technological paradigms specifically through the lens of the robot and the cyborg (which emerge from several overlapping dichotomies: man vs. machine, organic vs. mechanical, object vs. subject, myth vs. reality, freedom vs. restraint). This class both recognizes and critiques the fact that the current majority of architectural robotic research focuses primarily around digital fabrication and material optimization and strives to produce examples of architectural robotics and integrated technologies which are translated from human-generated data and perception to form and processes, particularly as it pertains to occupation of the built environment.

Methodology: As part of the class, students will acquire some hands-on experience with physical computing, programming, and responsive environments as well as learn from a library of historical and contemporary precedents ranging from infrastructure-scale robotics to body-scale architectural prosthetics. This polemic history presented through readings, lectures, and discussions will help to inform student proposals which frame a narrative response to robot cyborg paradigm in architecture. Students will work in groups to design, test, and build working prototypes of their final projects. The final project presentation format will be decided upon collectively by the class and will include an event such as a cyborg runway performance, an epic battle of the bots, etc.

Format: Each class session will consist of lectures, discussions of readings, progress presentations from students, and hands-on technical workshops.

Prerequisites: While it is not necessary to have prior technical expertise for this class, a patience for experimentation and interest in technical systems is necessary. Exposure to scripting is a plus.

Evaluation will be based on presentations, preparation for class discussions, and final projects.

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a painting of a room with bar yellow walls with a doorway into a blue room

Pezo von Ellrichshausen, 71707161201 (2016), oil on canvas, 180 x 240 cm.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
Sand Castle

Despite the current confusion, there are buildings and there are representations of buildings. The former is a physical construction (a material object in a certain context) and the latter a virtual construction (or an intellectual apparatus, an illusion) "about" that physical construction. Of course, there are also representations of sheer architectonic ideas, even of unbuildable dreams. We were told that architecture is no other than the fictional reinvention of mere buildings (sand, air, or black castles). Within this literary license, the studio will tackle the spatial problem of a deep plan (from the topographic extension of a ground floor to the topological distinction between boundary and core). Extending our paradoxical attempts to inhabiting nature, we will further explore the overlap between living and working in the format of a small house with a large library (or vice versa). Thus, buildings will be understood as the temporary custody (and delight) of a vast repository of "vegetal memory" (after Eco). Under the assumption that following a total takeover of digital data, important human knowledge carefully printed on precious volumes will be turned into a collection of rare items (almost with the status of a work of art). The otherwise central social and urban role of the library, for the purpose of the studio's romantic pursuit, will be displaced to a marginal place (to Fire Island, an eroded wilderness trapped between the metropolitan exodus and the ocean's tides). Thus, barely beyond the urban protocols, this priceless collection of books will be an extravagant destination at the seaside. Following our Naïve Intention program (intimate research on the apparent contradiction between intentionality and chance, rationality and futility, prediction and circumstance, authorship and anonymity), every student will elaborate a precise "inventory" of architectonic propositions, a selection of which will be developed through handmade models, drawings, and paintings.

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painting of an English manor house on a wide lawn with a lake in the foreground

John Constable (1776–1837), Malvern Hall Warwickshire (1809), oil on canvas, 51.4 x 76.8 cm (detail).

ARCH 4509/6509/4408/6408
Second Nature: Landscape 02

  • Instructor: Mauricio Pezo, Sofía von Ellrichshausen
  • Time: W 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Representation

As an extension of our Naïve Intention program, Second Nature is a seminar that explores the degrees of consciousness after a "mechanical reproduction" of hand-made pictures. Naturally, the selected machinery is not a digital tool but our own automatic action, our unavoidable handwriting (perhaps as a shortcut for self-expression), those instinctive gestures, tediously repeated over and over again, so as to become a "deeply ingrained habit or skill." Literal and figuratively, the study is about painting painting; an exercise that employs the technique of painting as a means to wonder about painting (in a sequence going from landscape to room to still-life). As part of a rhetorical tradition, we read painting as an illusion in its own right: not only as the deceptive impression of space contained on a flat surface but also as the emotional invention, almost a daydream, of an idealized foreign domain. Under the blessing of our scarce resources (somehow following Cusa's "learned ignorance" or reverting Borges's improbable figure of Funes the Memorious) we will compress the roughly two centuries that turned Romanticism into post-painterly Abstraction. By carefully looking, reading, and repainting a collection of classical paintings, we are going to explore notions of source, mimesis, forgery, translation, and originality in its broadest sense. The depicted scenes will cover a wide range of natural landscapes, from monumental mountains to bucolic prairies, from ancient trees to ruined buildings, from the sublime to the picturesque, pastoral or primitive beauty. Moving our painted surfaces from reality to abstraction, back and forth, we will venture into the definition of a puzzling aesthetic (or rather ethical) paradigm: a profound flatness with severe outlines and a loose definition of tone and character, a tacit enigma, a silent drama, in other words, a form of inexpressive realism. By doing so, we believe, architecture will be to painting what nature is to poetry.

Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen, associate professors of the practice and founding partners of Pezo von Ellrichshausen, will be based in Ithaca with a full-time commitment to the seminar.

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modern white room with living and dining furniture

Shinohara Kazuo, House in White interior. photo / Murai Osamu

ARCH 3308/6308
Shinohara Kazuo and Contemporary Architecture in Japan

  • Instructor: Angela Pang
  • Time: Th 2:30–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: 144 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse

In postwar Japan, Shinohara Kazuo and Tange Kenzō independently established the two most influential and consequential schools of architectural thought. While Metabolism's techno-rationalist determinism dominated architectural discourse, Shinohara stayed true to his belief that, "A house is a work of art." This famous declaration is coupled with the leitmotif in modernism that interprets traditional Japanese houses as being about simplicity, balance, and abstraction. Known as the Shinohara School, his works have become the basis of many of the most exciting contemporary architecture, such as the works of Ito Toyō, Hasegawa Itsuko, Sakamoto Kazunari, Sejima Kazuo, Nishizawa Ryue, Tsukamoto Yoshiharu, and Ishigami Junya. Shinohara's importance has extended internationally capturing the attention of Rem Koolhaas and Herzog and de Meuron, and greatly influencing the works of Valerio Olgiati and Christian Kerez and many more.

This class will be structured as a series of case studies starting from Shinohara's early houses, from his first to fourth styles, and onto his later large urban scale projects that he described as "ModernNext." Chronology is an important aspect of his work and we will be studying his houses in sequences to understand how he developed his architectural ideas linearly through each project. We will also situate this development in the works of contemporary Japanese architects as a framework to understand architecture in Japan in recent decades.

There is an optional field trip to visit an exhibition on Shinohara, designed by myself, at Harvard GSD. Many of his original sketches, drawings, and models are being shown for the first time and it is a unique opportunity to have this level of immersion in his works.

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Graphite drawing on a paper model.

Visiting Michael’s Grave (1984), by Chibbernoonie, a re-representation of Domestic Landscape, drawdel, graphite on paper model.

ARCH 4509/6509
Signature Style

  • Instructor: Mark Acciari
  • Time: T 2:30–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: 144 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

In 1985, Michael Graves Architecture and Design began work on a series of projects for the Walt Disney Corporation. The commissions involved the design of not just the buildings (a headquarters and three resort hotels), but hundreds of complimentary design objects ranging from wallpaper, rugs, and murals, to furniture, flatware, and souvenirs. While certainly an example of design in service of commercialism — a role we should be reluctant to condone — the explosion of creative production that the Disney commissions prompted should not be overlooked. Michael Graves Architecture and Design was able to apply their distinctive style — developed over the course of nearly 25 years of practice — to an externally provided theme, as a methodology for producing an immersive architectural environment. In short, the marriage of the Michael Graves Brand and the Disney Corporation Brand produced a prolific amount of work that served to strengthen each corporation's visual identity.

In the first quarter of the semester, students will be assigned a "starchitect" (e.g. Michael Graves, Zaha Hadid, Liz Diller, Frank Gehry, etc.) and, through a series of exercises, re-represent their signature styles through an alternative medium — for example, Grave's yellow tracing paper sketches get translated into renderings or Zaha's paintings translated into models. For the second quarter of the semester, after establishing an understanding of the signature styles of their given starchitect, students will pair their starchitect with a large corporation (e.g. Disney, Nike, Planet Fitness, McDonalds, Whole Foods, etc.) and re-represent the same precedent images with the added theme of their corporate brand. During the final half of the semester, students will develop their own signature representational style and pair it with a fictional corporation of their own making. The final review will take the form of an advertisement for the starchitect-corporation collaboration. The seminar's goal is to provide a platform for students to construct a unique design identity and working methodology, characteristic style, and personal brand.

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extravagant bedroom with a white fur bed cover

Bedroom in the Lina and Adolf Loos apartment, 1903 (reconstruction). Exhibition MAK, 2014. photo / Peter Kainz/MAK

ARCH 3308/4408/6308/6408
SingleHousing: The Architect's Home

  • Instructor: Rubén Alcolea
  • Time: F 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse, Architecture and Representation

"To be free at least once in my life! To combine in one person the function of architect and client, I decided to build myself a house . . ."

~Konstantin Melnikov

The houses the architects have built for themselves are simultaneously a self-portrait, an experiment, and a manifesto. The single house typology has been in the very center of the battlefield to address the ideals of modern and contemporary architecture. And the private residences the masters have designed for their own use are even more critical to understand how these universal topics are developed along their intimate architecture goals. Starting with Sir John Soane's house in London, built between 1792 and 1837, the houses of the architects are a very particular typology, where extraordinary accomplishments coexist with many other failures. Those homes combine the self-absorbed daring of the painter while looking at himself at the mirror and the insatiable curiosity of the physician who uses his own body as a test for a new cure. This built and narcissistic self-portrait of the architect has been developed by many of the great architects, such as Asplund, Barragán, Broner, Bottoni, Coates, Dieste, Eames, Eierman, Erskine, Gehry, Gray, Jacobsen, Johnson, Kikutake, Loos, Melnikov, Moore, Navarro-Baldeweg, Neutra, Niemeyer, Prouvé, Schindler, Tange, Venturi, Williams, or Wright.

These and many others will be discussed, as clear examples of intense rhetorical experiments both functional and inquisitive. This theory class, SingleHousing: The Architect's Home, will address the specifics of those desires for the designers to build their own private spaces. Theory lectures will present in deep the houses, and will also address the concept of defining a client or who the architect really is while trying to distinguish how architecture differs when architect and user merge into a unique soul. The houses will be studied and arranged by topics instead of by author, so the buildings would be somehow dispossessed of their authorship to be part of a common body of architecture places. In addition, students will research the houses by focusing on their very specific parts and elements, which define the intimate scale of human interaction within the built nature of the space.

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Grid of photos past projects

Selection of work produced in the Sabin Lab at AAP, Jenny Sabin Studio, and Sabin and Jones LabStudio, 2006–19.

ARCH 7151/4605
Matter Design Computation (Cornell Tech)

  • Instructor: Jenny Sabin
  • Time: Th 9:30-10:45 a.m.
  • Location: 091 Bloomberg Center, Cornell Tech campus, New York City
  • Credits: ARCH 7151, 6 credits; ARCH 4605, 3 credits
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology

Although there have been tremendous innovations in design, material sciences, bio- and information technologies, direct interactions, and collaborations between scientists and architects are rare. One approach is to couple architectural designers with engineers and biologists within a research-based laboratory-studio in order to develop new ways of thinking, seeing, and working in each of our fields. This course is an introduction to fundamental concepts in Matter Design Computation. Course work includes exposure to different theories, research, and practices of emerging technologies, digital fabrication, computational design, experiments in building construction techniques, new materials, bio-inspired design, and human-centered adaptive architecture. Project work will be closely aligned to ongoing research in the Sabin Lab at AAP with new collaborations established at Cornell Tech. Emphasis will be upon material systems, generative design, simulation, intermediate computational design, physical modeling, and digital fabrication within a hybrid lab and studio setting. Project work will follow two parallel topics: 3D printed componentry and bio-steered generative design. The course situates itself at the forefront of a new direction for 21st-century architectural research practice — one that investigates the intersections of architecture and science and applies insights and theories from biology and computation to the design of material structures. In particular, this course will unfold long-standing traditions of shared relationships between architecture and biology, with subtopics that include sustainability, ecological design, biomimicry, digital fabrication, experimental structures, and materials science.

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black and white schematic of a series of houses

Generic housing grammar corpus. image / D. Benros

ARCH 4509/6509
Architectural Housing Systems for Single Housing

  • Instructor: Deborah Benrós
  • Time: M 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

Single housing constitutes an important challenge for most architects. Throughout the last five centuries, the brief and programmatic challenges presented a few changes, despite design languages differences, tectonics, and specific approaches. Functions such as living, sleeping, food preparation, services, and storage remain as important requirements as ever. This class proposes a new methodology for single housing design by prompting a process to design a family of solutions rather than singular designs. The elective class will be composed by three stages:

  1. Analysis of a case study
  2. Design systems
  3. Generic housing grammar

A case study of three architectural languages is presented: Palladian villas, Wright's prairie house, and Siza's Malagueira houses. Theoretical classes to explore different languages are to be held. Different design solutions will be exposed for each example of case study. Discussion is encouraged. Potential to propose field trips to visit houses of one of the studied languages (or if unattainable to visit local houses) from a distinguished language. The second stage encompasses research into different types of design systems. Reflection on rule-based systems, parametric design, and shape grammars. Examples of each system should be given. The third stage focus on generic housing grammars. The concept of shape grammars is explained and discussed as a means of analysis and design methodology. The exploration of the potential of housing grammars is exposed.

Students are required to develop and propose a design system illustrated through a grammar, rule-based system or other strategies which can showcase clearly a design system applied to single housing.

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drawing of lines and numbers

Iannis Xenakis, Study of Polytope, 1967.

ARCH 3818/5819/4408/6408
Systems, Entropy, and Organized Complexity: Cybernetics in Architecture and Art 1946–72

  • Instructor: Branden Hookway
  • Time: T 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 144 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse, Architecture and Urbanism

As software and computation take an ever more central role in contemporary practice and culture, the postwar discourses of cybernetics have received renewed attention. Both architecture and art have sought out precedents for their engagement with digital technology in postwar practices informed by the new sciences of information theory, communication theory, systems theory, and cybernetics that emerged out of the Second World War.

The aim of cybernetics, in the words of its most prominent theorist Norbert Weiner, was "to find common elements in the functioning of automatic machines and of the human nervous system, and to develop a theory which will cover the entire field of control and communication in machines and living organisms." It was inherently interdisciplinary in ambition, expanding from a basis in engineering, physics, and physiology to encompass work in psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, ecology, and philosophy, and exerting a profound influence on architecture, art, and urbanism. For architect and planner Richard Llewelyn-Davies writing in 1960, "our architecture is influenced at an unconscious level by our ways of thinking: … The new mathematics, developed as it partly is from the need to solve human and biological problems, problems of organized complexity, as Warren Weaver has called them, is worthy of great architecture." A number of postwar practices may be viewed as cultural responses to problems of organized complexity: from Team X to the Metabolists; from Fuller to Archigram and "Non-Plan"; from Kepes's language of biological form to Banham's "gizmo"; from the Eames' multimedia practice to office landscapes and systems furniture; from the Independent Group to the Situationists; and from Smithson's entropy to Lippard's dematerialization of the art object.

This seminar will focus on the influence of cybernetics on postwar architecture and art, with an emphasis on how this discourse forecasts and illustrates issues in contemporary culture and practice. The course will include lectures, seminar discussions, and short student presentations intended to help develop projects that align with both course content and individual interests. Readings will be drawn from historical treatments and foundational texts of cybernetics; postwar era publications in architecture, art, urbanism, and media theory, and contemporary reappraisals of postwar culture.

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Close-up of angular wooden pieces

Vidy Theatre Pavilion Lausanne, designed by Yves Weinand, Atelier Cube.

ARCH 4605/6605
Tectonic Timber

  • Instructor: Katharina Kral
  • Time: M 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Representation

Tectonics is defined as the art of using material and construction methods in such a way that they form an integral component of the design and actively help to shape it. The Greek word tektōn means carpenter, wood-worker, or builder, which indicates that historically, wood played a critical role for the understanding of buildings as such. Today, population growth, urbanization, and climate change challenge us more than ever to develop visions for sustainable architecture. In that context, wood is of particular interest, as it is a renewable resource, relatively easy to process and has good structural, thermal, and aesthetic properties. This course will explore the tectonic quality of timber buildings, looking at the unity of design, execution, and material. Structural properties, construction systems, and joinery will be studied in depth through lectures, hands-on exercises, and small design projects.

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A series of stairs running between three levels with a parking lot below and an auditorium above

Hans Scharoun, Berlin Philharmonie. photo / Mila Hacke

ARCH 4605/6605
The Stair

  • Instructor: Rodolfo R. Dias
  • Time: Th 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation

"When you enter a building there's a moment when you come to a stair and you have to stop. Then you must make the effort to position your feet, and then hold onto the handrail, otherwise, you’ll fall. For this reason, it is a crucial episode in a building and this is always extraordinary."

~Alvaro Siza Vieira in conversation with Kenneth Frampton

  1. Rationale: Special Topics in Construction seminar that focusses on the stairs as one of the remaining elements in architecture that rely entirely in the knowledge, responsibility and talent of the architect. Stairs connect spaces in different levels and introduce vertical voids to the planimetry of a building. Stairs represent a unique opportunity to sparkle spatial qualities and spice light conditions.
  1. Course Aims and Objectives: Present to the students a vast overview of inspiring stairs of contemporary architecture. Bring the ability to identify stair elements, their particular design and importance in the overall experience on architecture. Develop skills in the representation of architectural stair details, per standards following the professional field.
  1. Format and Procedures: Course will consist of lectures, discussion upon material presented and presentation of students' research work. First part of class to be dedicated to visuals of notable contemporary architectural stairs, and concurrent open discussion with students. Lecture format to be a conversation between instructor and students. Students expected to individually research assigned case study stairs to detail level. As a second part, the students will individually design and detail a stair for the school, that builds on the collective knowledge from the first assignment research.
  1. Instructor Assumptions: Technical drafting and representation will have a critical role in execution of weekly assignments. Autocad proficiency is required.

Instructor permission required:

Autocad proficiency is required. Students must attend the first class to request enrollment.

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stacked series of diagrams showing the progression of a house

James Stirling, diagram of unit growth scenarios, PREVI; John Habraken, Supports; Tatiana Bilbao, Sustainable House

ARCH 3808/6308
Time Builds: Designing for Change

  • Instructor: Lily Chi
  • Time: Th 12:20–2:15 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Discourse

The rising interest in "loose fit" architecture, flexible design, and incremental building springs from diverse ecological, technological, economic, and sociopolitical concerns. Ecologically, adaptability extends the life of buildings, minimizing waste and obsolescence — "slow" architectures in a speeding context of rapid technological change, mobile livelihoods, and indeterminate environmental futures. They are the opposite of tight-fit design (optimized, expressive, or "functional"), arising instead through tactics of tolerance — for the ebbs and flows of biological and social life, for unknowable customs and imaginaries, for the vagaries of context and circumstance. Loose fit and adaptability have also been pursued to enable bottom-up urban, cultural, and political formations. For a discipline of global reach but finite knowledge, designing for change makes room for difference and a virtue of disciplinary limits.

These aspirations have in common a redirection of the agency and object of design. The designed artifact is not a terminus, but a point of departure for ongoing formation by other actors. Far from being less relevant, design becomes all the more critical — the most flexible space is not necessarily an empty envelope. Flexibility, adaptability is as much about making visible and enabling (alternative) possibilities as it is about leaving room. Design thus aims not just at a finished form, but at multiplying its possible mutations, growths, transformations. The object of design is more akin to a tactical framework created through strategic dimensioning, suggestive adjacencies and materiality . . . No longer just aesthetic shape, form operates as improvisational prompts — matter loaded with virtualities. While contemporary technology is rife with promises of micro customization and interactivity, this seminar focuses on unplugged virtuality: Time Builds explores how static matter acquires multiplicity and latency through tactical design, aiming at longterm resilience and open-ended relevance.

Current interest in adaptable and incremental architecture echos a robust postwar discourse and prolific design current. Experimentation was most active in social housing, the apex of which was the extraordinary Proyecto Experimental de Vivienda in Lima to which some of the most influential international architects of the time contributed. Interrupted by political instability and economic crises, these bold efforts — failures and successes — offer intriguing thought (and design) experiments for concerns that remain relevant and pressing today.

Time Builds explores this material along with more recent work in Latin America, Asia, and Europe. Students will participate in weekly topic discussions, present and lead debates on one to two texts/projects, and research one case study using analytical, critical, and speculative drawing.

Instructor permission required:

Strong experience in architectural analysis and extrapolative thinking. Students must attend the first class.

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Three vertical diagrams showing cities at night

The Masks of Los Angeles, Erik Jakob. image / Variable Typologies Studio, Naomi Frangos

ARCH 4509/6509
Urban Fluxus

  • Instructor: Naomi Frangos
  • Time: F 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 144 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Representation, Architecture and Urbanism

"Map devices such as frame, scale, orientation, projection, indexing, and naming reveal artificial geographies that remain unavailable to human eyes . . . the surface of the map functions like an operating table, a staging ground, or a theatre of operations upon which the mapper collects, combines, connects, marks, masks, relates, and generally explores."

~James Corner

At a few thousand feet above the earth's surface, one notices intersecting lines, natural landmarks, or iconic structures. A city's grain, fibers, networks, nervous systems, connective tissue, hidden realms, natural evolution is marked by patterns, peripheries, edges, nodes, and centers that make up its various field conditions. Yet, as defined by theorist Stan Allen, field conditions are "bottom-up phenomena defined not by overarching geometrical schemas but by intricate local connections, [where] interval, repetition, and seriality are key concepts." Through evolutionary growth and decay, consistencies and interruptions, disturbances, and irregularities in the urban fabric created by geological, topographical, and environmental infrastructures, historical and cultural framings, social systems and political governance, etc., a city makes and remakes itself as a "macrofield" through unfinished "microworlds" — its grain and identity in constant "urban flux." This phenomenon is best understood through interscalar investigations. A few decades since Charles and Ray Eames' film The Power of Ten offered a revolutionary visualization of the importance of scale and interconnectivity of the universe to the nanoscale of human cells, Google maps along with GIS software and the ability to zoom in and out, rotate panoramic views, turn layers of data on and off, seemingly allows us to imagine and virtually experience multiple representations of the world. While statistics are generated through live-data tracking, what they don't perform is a critical analysis of the human and nonhuman relationships or effects of one data set to another, in the past, present, or future. This seminar seeks to unveil a city's hidden dimensions through interscalar analysis, a process that is part of and not precursor to productive design. Using a combination of readings, mappings, measuring devices, visualization, and representational techniques as vehicles for gaining insight into the dynamics of a city and its various forms of agency, students will study a particular city and construct a set of serial drawing-narratives that will also evolve to imagine and reconstruct a 'new city' as a possible future reality engaging multiple sites, ecologies, topologies, and scales. The classwork will culminate in a rigorously formatted Atlas of Urban Fluxus curated as a mini-exhibition/publication.

Instructor permission required:

Prerequisites: ARCH 1501-1502, ARCH 1802, ARCH 2301, ARCH 3301. This seminar involves making "artifact-drawings" as a mix of printed and digital material. Knowledge of Illustrator/Photoshop is encouraged. Knowledge of GIS software would be advantageous. This class is intended for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students.  Please email instructor:

  1. A 250-word statement of interest in the course
  2. Indicate/list how many mega cities you have been to and whether you visited or lived there
  3. A 250-word statement on what you think "Urban Fluxus" is about
  4. A three-to-five page PDF sample of your representation skills

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an overhead view of Rockefeller Center on the left, a scene of street dining on the right

Rockefeller Center.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/7112
Virtual Places: Real Time Experiential Design and Visualization of Urban Spaces

  • Instructor: Henry Richardson
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20-4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

Taught in collaboration with:

  • Christopher Morse, SHoP Architects
  • Alexandra Pollock, FXCollaborative
  • The Project WREN Team from Epic Games

There is a paradigm shift taking place in architecture and urban design. It is a shift from designing in space-time to creating place and occasion. The former is top-down, relies on masterplans and abstract, conceptual models; the latter is real time, experiential, and immersive. In this fall's studio, we will design virtual urban places using selected urban typologies and immersive virtual reality (VR) tools based on Epic Inc.'s gaming engine. The studio will simultaneously explore two sets of design agendas. The first, urban design, will examine concepts of placemaking and their use in simulating virtual cities. Urban typologies we will study include the street, the plaza or square, urban edges and waterfronts, and green infrastructure drawn from real-world examples as well as fictional environments used in games, movies, and literature. This initial phase of exploration will be followed by the design of a specific, mixed-use, hybrid, urban precinct in a given city.

The second agenda, "tools and methods," will comprise learning and applying VR design and visualization software based on Epic's gaming engine UE4. A special VR studio equipped with computers and VR headsets will support the semester's explorations. Live hands-on workshops and webinars will be offered to "tool up" for the studio. Familiarity with, and basic skills in, CAD are a prerequisite.

There will be no physical travel as in most option studios. Instead, this course will be teleporting and let you virtually experience several famous cities and urban places in real time. A detailed course syllabus, work plan, and bibliography will follow.

This studio is supported by a research grant from Epic Games, equipment from Hewlett Packard Inc., and software licenses from ESRI and Mindesk.

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ARCH 3702, ART 2907, CS 1620, ENGRI 1620
Visual Imaging in the Electronic Age: Virtual and Augmented Reality

  • Instructor: Donald Greenberg
  • Time: T, Th 11:15 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium, Milstein Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Representation

No part of today's digital environments is changing faster than virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality. Initially focused on gaming, these powerful immersive technologies are now being improved so rapidly that they are impacting the entertainment, simulation, education, medical, and design industries to name a few. As mobile phones have changed the telephone and photography industries, VR and AR may become our most popular means of communication between humans and certainly between man and the machine.

What is not realized is that VR and AR technologies are only in their formative stages, somewhat analogous to the difference between the early computer graphics of the 1960s and digital cinema of today. It is not just the exponential increase in computing power and bandwidth but the convergence of many disciplines which enable this improvement and growth. Devices being created — from goggles and glasses to multiple-resolution displays — depend on perspective imaging, color science, perception and the understanding of the human visual system, computer science, graphics algorithms, human-computer interfaces, hardware manufacturing, as well as the fundamentals of math, physics, and chemistry. All of the topics above except the fundamentals are covered in this class. This year new topics such as multi-resolution displays, digital cameras which create 3D images, foveal rendering algorithms, and how signals from the retina are interpreted by the human brain will be included.

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ARCH 3308/6308-106
Gaming Architecture

Content

This class will explore the use of augmented and immersive virtual reality in real time design at the early stages of the architecture and urban design process. The focus will be to examine these emerging technologies as integral to design thinking and not merely as a tool for post facto visualization. The class will examine several gaming platforms to determine the possibilities they present for real-time architectural design and visualization in augmented and immersive virtual reality space. In addition to reading and class presentations and discussion, there will be hands-on workshops and presentations by staff from gaming companies like Epic Games Inc. on the architecture of their gaming engines and design platforms. One of the expected outcomes of the course will be to prepare specifications for adapting Epic's gaming platform for design. Students will also beta test the software builds that will be developed from their specifications. And yes, there will be some game playing as well.

Format

Weekly seminar with periodic workshops and presentations by industry experts.

Requirements

  • Class attendance and full participation in class projects.
  • Preparing wish list specifications for software development
  • Beta testing of software builds by game developers
  • Paper on the use of AVR in architectural design. Specific topics to be announced
  • Class is open to upper-class undergraduates and graduate students

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intricate, colorful rendering of city street from an aerial perspective

Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion by Interboro.

ARCH 3308/6308/4408/6408
Architectures of Resistance and Empowerment In an Age of Late Capital

  • Instructor: Sarosh Anklesaria
  • Time: W 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

"The right to beauty is as important as the right to drainage . . . And when a new, planned building rises in the slum — be it a public toilet or a sewing cooperative — it immediately becomes a monument. It was conceived by an architect, it indicates things are changing . . . The philosopher Felix Guattari once said that aesthetics are fundamental and revolutionary!"

~Jorge Mario Jáuregui, "Brazilian Heatwave: Mr. Jáuregui's Neighborhood," interview, Visionaire (August 2001)

"We must defend architecture from the pessimism that has been attributed to it in order to utilise the practice's true potential. Such action, intellectual and practical, calls for a deeper reorientation between politics and aesthetics, not simply a reordering of power relations between groups, but the creation of new subjects and heterogeneous objects."

~Camillo Boano, "Architecture must be defended: informality and the agency of space," interview (April 2013)

If the normative production of architecture entails its inevitable collusion with the forces of capital, the present age of late neoliberal capitalism has only seen an intensification of this trend. Architects have increasingly lost the ability to shape cities to real estate and market-driven trends, reduced to designing condominiums for the one percent. That architecture can and should have a socially and politically progressive agenda was, after all, a defining attribute of modernism — to bring design to the masses, to produce not only a new aesthetic but also a new egalitarian order. Form thus became a political instrument of reducing social inequity and shaping the city. The present global crises of housing, economic disparity, ecological Armageddon, and political obscurantism have led some architects to seriously question the dominant tropes of architecture as both discipline and praxis. What are the tactics, strategies, manifestos, and actions through which architects can resist, upend, destabilize, and reinvent normative mechanisms of architectural production? How do such practices seek new modes of conceiving the architectural project and its representation; radically reinvent the brief, site, program, construct, tectonics, and/or notions of ownership? The seminar seeks to unpack new ways of conceiving and drawing an architecture of empowerment through a questioning of both the terms of architectural engagement as well as the means of architectural drawing and representation.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

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Edvard Munch, The Scream of Nature (1883).

ARCH 3308/6308/4408/6408
Melancholy and the Metropolis

  • Instructor: Werner Goehner
  • Time: T 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

Melancholy, as Freud described it, is the inability to come to terms with loss. The goal here is to address the loss, which has been experienced during this traumatic period on the way to modernity, the transformation of the city into the metropolis. It is the intent of the seminar to investigate the effects of these transitions on the city's inhabitants, not as a pathological condition but use melancholy as a refined, reflective emotion with its own qualities. The seminar intends to look at how melancholy with its reflective trait found its way into cultural representations in literature, social studies, art, film, and urbanism, where melancholy emotions serve as an explanatory model providing additional insight. Through the lens of the concept of melancholy as the inability to come to terms with loss, the seminar wants to engage the student in a critical assessment of the consequences of the birth of modernity and the metropolis. Key urban phenomena accompanying the birth of the metropolis and their impact on the city and their inhabitants will be investigated.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

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ARCH 3308/6308/4408/6408
Urban Temporalities: Materialities, Practices, Subjectivities

  • Instructor: Jeremy Foster
  • Time: Th 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

A critical part of cities' attraction derives from the way they combine the qualities of an artefact (a material trace of human imaginaries, technologies, and governmentalities) and a landscape (a territory in which human and nonhuman are articulated in a constant state of becoming). The common thread linking these two conceptions of the city is the passage of time: each suggests a different kind of 'relative permanence,' a co-ordering of times and space that lends orientation to human existence. This class explores the diverse implications of this ontological temporality of cities, both in terms of their physical evolution and morphology, and how they are imagined, used, and experienced. In particular, we will consider how conventional ways of thinking about how cities mediate the passage of time (ie. 'collage,' 'palimpsest,' 'memory theatre') are disrupted by various phenomena associated with neoliberalization (hyperurbanization, place-consumption, construction urbanism, migration) as well as accelerating environmental change, urbicide, and the emergence of Anthropocene, spectral and 'posthistorical' time-consciousness. This simultaneous 'speeding up' and 'dehistoricization' of the passage of time is paralleled by an array of contradictory urban conditions (ie. urban shrinkage, postindustrial ruination, informalization, 'ephemeral urbanism,' museumification etc). All of these conditions suggests a need to rethink relations between human and nonhuman time, and less conventional understandings of the passage of time that have consequences for design, construction, and sustaining of built/grown environments. Using a combination of readings and mapping/plotting/scoring/other representational media, students will research and analyze the pasts, presents, and futures of a particular city through three rubrics: materialities/ecologies; mobilities/practices; and subjectivities/ temporalities. These exercises will come together in a miniexhibition at the end of the semester.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class. This course is intended for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students. Representational skills would be advantageous, but not essential. With instructor permission, the class is open to students in landscape architecture, planning, and preservation, as well as other disciplines interested in the intersection between society, culture, and constructed environments.

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Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) and Jane (Nastassja Kinski) in Paris Texas (1984), by Wim Wenders.

ARCH 3308/6308/4408/6408
What is a House? The Living Space in Movies

  • Instructor: Rubén Alcolea
  • Time: M 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

Human interaction gets domestic in spaces where architecture is more than just a plain answer to our basic needs. The evolution of our living environments through history has defined a research field for spatial, perceptive, and constructive experimentation, but also has transformed the way we live. Ever since the invention of photography (1839) and film (1895), media has been used not only to portray domesticity but at the same time to alter its nature into an alternative and rich reality where our dreams and fears are projected.

The theory class What is a House? The Living Space in Movies examines how the human condition and domesticity have been depicted in movies. It is a journey, a sort of search for a better understanding of the way we inhabit, and how whether daily routines or profound experiences are performed at movies. Rather than films as pure case examples, they provide an open field, allowing the conversation to focus on how the stories are told by filmmakers through the use of constructed spaces. In addition to the analysis of the way some of the most influencing homes have been depicted in the history of film, alternative domesticities will be also part of a wider conversation which will address how 'The Home' is globally disseminated.

Lectures will be complemented with short projections and discussions. Both a presentation and a paper should be produced as a result of personal research, as well as original material to show a deep investigation on one of the concepts, spaces, or movies studied through the semester.

Some of the work produced in previous electives is compiled in the volumes What is a House? and Spaces of Discomfort, both available at Cornell Library and online at issuu.com.

Instructor permission required:

It is strictly required to attend the first class. Instructions will be given then to submit a research proposal afterwards.

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ARCH 3309/6309/4409
Elements, Principles, and Theories in Japanese Architecture

  • Instructor: Leonard Mirin
  • Time: Th 12:20–2:15 p.m.
  • Location: 157 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

For early 20th-century architects like Bruno Taut, Walter Gropius, and Frank Lloyd Wright, visiting Japan and imbibing Japanese design sensibility was both a revelation and a confirmation of much of their thinking regarding the direction of their own work. The class is an introduction to and an analysis of the architecture and gardens of Japan. Interpreting the unique geopolitical situation of Japan, as a sheltering archipelago longing for continental sophistication, will suggest how isolation and borrowings continue to shape the forms of Japanese architecture and gardens. In a related context, we will investigate how the revered and ethereal craft of shaping paper, wood, stone, and water has transformed the simplest of materials into archetypical constructions. Cultural phenomena such as ma (space-time continuum) oku (the inner depth) yohaku no bi (the beauty of extra whiteness), shakkei (borrowed landscapes), and others will be explored to reveal the forces shaping structure and space. Since an understanding of the evolution of social and political discourse in Japan is necessary to fully comprehend the unique meaning of its constructed environment, additional attention will be given to these aspects of the culture — especially the spiritual — as they exert an influence on various expressions of form. Class format will consist of lectures, films, discussions, and readings. Two exams will be given during the semester. In addition, each student will be required to complete either a project that represents an exploration of a concept, form, characteristic, or influence associated with Japanese architecture and gardens, or a topically related research paper.

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photo / Fox Photos, Getty Images

ARCH 3819/5819 (Preston Thomas Master Class)
History of Architecture: A Realist and Environmental Approach to Urban, Landscape, and Architecture Design History

  • Instructor: Philippe Rahm
  • Time: T, TH 2:30–7 pm 1/29, 31; 3/12, 14; 4/9, 11
  • Location: Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium
  • Credits: 3

The history of architecture written these last decades was strongly influenced by critical thinking and postmodern theories of the second half of the 20th century when political, social, economic, and cultural reasons dominated the system of explaining the causes and consequences of the emergence of a form, a style, or a language. Induced by a context of massive and easy access to energy and by the progress of medicine, this history that precedes us, that can be described as cultural, has largely ignored the physical, geographical, climatic, or bacteriological reasons that have, in reality, shaped, in a decisive way, over centuries, the architectural form, that of buildings, from cities to interior decoration. Our objective or realistic history of architecture courses will highlight the natural, physical, biological, and climatic causes that have influenced the development of architectural history and its figures, from prehistory until today, in order to understand how to face the major environmental challenges of our century and build in a better way in response to climate urgency.

  • Lesson #0: How our homeothermic nature gave birth to architecture (Prehistory)
  • Lesson #1: How beer invented cities (Neolithic)
  • Lesson #2: How the invention of printing killed beauty (Antiquity)
  • Lesson #3: How beans gave birth to Gothic architecture (Middle Ages)
  • Lesson #4: How the tab of a drop-down menu of a computer software invented the architecture of the year 2000 (Renaissance)
  • Lesson #5: How the eruption of a volcano invented the modern city (19th century I)
  • Lesson #6: How a sprig of mint has invented nature in the city (19th century II)
  • Lesson #7: How iodine caused the urbanization of all territories (19th century III)
  • Lesson #8: How the dried meat of Graubünden gave birth to modern architecture (Modernity)
  • Lesson #9: How antibiotics have initiated a return to the city (Post-Modernity)
  • Lesson #10: How central heating killed decorative art (Post-Industrial)
  • Lesson #11: How global warming reinvents decorative art (Post-Carbon)

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ARCH 3819/5819-103
Materiality in Architecture

  • Instructor: Peter Christensen
  • Time: T 12:20–2:15 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

This seminar will examine theoretical, phenomenological, and technological aspects of materiality in architecture from circa 1800 to the present. Architecture of the modern period was conceived anew largely on the basis of the invention of new materials and the enhanced performance of old ones. The importance of materiality in the making of architecture in the modern period, however, has nevertheless been subsumed under the more fashionable rubrics of form, function, and cultural meaning. This seminar seeks to retrieve the inherent value of materiality in the study of architecture while also stressing broader social and political implications. A broad palette of materials, including wood, glass, iron, steel, concrete, plastic, and tensile fabrics will be studied in depth. Class discussion will revolve around the reading of key primary texts by figures like Viollet-le-Duc, Giedion, Le Corbusier, and Venturi and Scott Brown in tandem with in-depth case studies from across the globe and important secondary texts.

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Cosi Fan Tutte in Opera of Paris (2016). photo / Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

ARCH 4408/6408/4509/6509
Special Topics in Visual Representation and ACS: Spatial Choreography

  • Instructor: Danica Selem
  • Time: T 12:20—2:15 p.m.
  • Location: 144 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

From Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet and other theatrical productions and performances made in Bauhaus, to Rudolf Laban's Theory of Space, architecture, theater, and performance were always tightly intertwined inside of the creative process and critical thinking. This class will focus on the performative relationship of body and space. We will learn from architectural and performance arts precedents through research and, in parallel, experiment with various performance arts methods and techniques in relation to spatial questions. We will consider space within and beyond its physical boundaries engaging our bodies with social space, political space, etc., and discover ways in which our environment shapes our physical, social, and emotional bodies and behaviors and vice versa. The class will result in a group performance. A collaboration with the music and/or performing arts department might be possible along with guest lectures and workshops by experts in related disciplines.

Class requirements include research presentation, weekly readings and/or exercises and participation in discussion, and a final project.

*This class is open to students who were previously enrolled in Body, Space, and the In Between seminar, and no prior experience in movement or performance is necessary.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

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photo / Retro Future by Paul Alexander

ARCH 4408/6408/4605/6605
Architecture for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow

  • Instructor: Martin Miller
  • Time: F 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

This class will explore emerging technological innovations and their potential impact on the built environment, cities, and society. Understanding the transformative nature of these innovations will seek to better predict and steer design towards an adaptive solution. As technology has historically redefined and advanced the world, this class will examine current developments through the lens of previous impacts. Offering the potential to address and solve current issues and problems including sustainability, water and food access, transportation, communication, and construction, students will seek to couple a particular technological development with a specific problem and propose a potential solution. Among others, the course will examine novel concepts of product and service delivery and manufacture, the impact of embedded AI, the development of "screening," sharing versus ownership, customization, crowd-sourcing, the internet of things, autonomous transit, intelligent farming, citizen tracking and digital connectivity, and integration between people and machines.

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ARCH 4509/6509
Monograph

  • Instructor: Andrea Simitch
  • Time: Th 12:20–2:15 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

A portfolio is comprehensive; a monograph is compromised.
A portfolio is objective; a monograph is subjective.
A portfolio is universal; a monograph is personal.
A portfolio explains; a monograph mystifies.
A portfolio hastens; a monograph hesitates.
A portfolio is slick; a monograph is slippery.
A portfolio is honest. a monograph is deceptive.
A portfolio is graphic. a monograph is therapeutic.
A portfolio is defensive. a monograph is adaptive.* 

The monograph has traditionally been a device through which an architect's or an artist's body of work has been disseminated to a specific audience — a medium through which a distillation of the author's principal ideas and artifacts are envisioned and presented. Architecture is mainly understood through images, and the monograph is a medium through which the concepts embedded in these images are not only framed and interpreted but given greater depth and meaning. And it is the design of the monograph that becomes the vehicle of that meaning.

For the purposes of this class, a monograph is considered to be an in-depth and critical presentation of a single project. This seminar will introduce the history of the monograph through a series of case studies. It will ask that the student design and produce a monograph that represents one of her/his previously designed and completed projects. This monograph will include explanatory text, project drawings, images, and guest critical essays. To this end, students will be asked to revisit/represent the existing drawings and models of the previously designed project that they select to represent in the monograph. Each student will be required to submit a self-published monograph of one project by the end of the semester.

*From Ada Tolla & Giuseppe Lignano LOT-EK_ADV Studio VI.

Instructor permission required:

All students interested in the class are asked to bring the following material to the first class:

  • A 'portfolio' of the project the student wishes to 'monograph-asize' — maximum of six 8.5" x 11" pages.
  • A list of seminars, studios etc. that the student feels might have served as preparation for the course.

All students interested in enrolling in the class will indicate their preference by signing the roster at the end of the first class. Class list will be posted by the end of the following day.

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Filippo Brunelleschi's Duomo di Firenze.

ARCH 4509/6509
Multivalent Drawings

  • Instructor: Luben Dimcheff
  • Time: T 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: Milstein Hall dome
  • Credits: 3

This advanced seminar in visual representation will explore methods of recording meaningful architectural space and its many defining aspects as those might relate to our perception and experience of it, our subjective memory, willful deletion, and ultimately the ability to reimagine it.

Carefully weaving those multiple readings into a fabricated drawing space, a new and rich reality will emerge only to be re-examined as a generative strategy to create altogether new and architecturally opportunistic conditions. The fundamental instrument will be the perspective as our innate mode of spatial perception, as well as the speculative device that allows us not so much to converge inquiry into a single vanishing point, but rather to expand architectural thought outside one's cone of vision into the peripheral, the intuitive, and the yet to be known.

The physical and laborious production of these drawings will itself prioritize this very notion of amplification — informed by the obvious and the mundane, as well as the phenomenal, the material and immaterial, the measurable and the undefined, the static and the temporal — the perspectives will be understood as artifacts and will simultaneously unfold as cinematic narratives, ready to be occupied and to be mined — each one a leap towards new projected architecture.

Instructor permission required:

  • To be eligible, a student must attend the initial class introduction session (January 22, 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m. Milstein Hall dome).
  • Students must have successfully completed their respective Core requirements in Visual Representation.
  • Enrollment will be limited to 16 and balanced between the graduate and undergraduate programs, with seniority strongly considered but not a guarantee.

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Analysis of Baldassare Peruzzi, by Jonathan A. Scelsa.

ARCH 4509/6509
Scripting Illusion: The Parametrics of the Perspective Window

  • Instructor: Jonathan Scelsa
  • Time: W 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 144 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

This design research seminar will focus on visual and formal methodologies for the production of an architecture of trickery, deception, confusion, illusion, and hiding in plain sight through manipulation of two-dimensional pattern and three-dimension form.

Optical constructs will be introduced to students through lecture and readings on their advent and technique, and architectural precedent. Ideological content will be supplemented through in-class demonstrations on the associated computational and parametric procedures. Architecture and landscape tropes of study will include anamorphosis, autostereograms, disruptive coloration, countershading, motion dazzle, quadratura, shakkei, ha-has, crypsis, mimesis, and reflection/refraction and parallax.

Students will each be assigned a specific trope that they will carry throughout the semester to examine through the lens of geometry, architectural history, and precedent developing a research project towards a final spatial art installation.

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Painting of a countryside with a ruin of an aqueduct in the background and fields in the foreground

ARCH 4509/6509
Second Nature 01: Landscape

As an extension of our Naïve Intention program, Second Nature is a seminar that explores the degrees of consciousness after a "mechanical reproduction" of handmade pictures. Naturally, the selected machinery is not a digital tool but our own automatic action, our unavoidable handwriting (perhaps as a shortcut for self-expression), those instinctive gestures, tediously repeated over and over again, so as to become a "deeply ingrained habit or skill." Literally and figuratively, the study is about painting; an exercise that employs the technique of painting as a means to wonder about painting (in a sequence going from landscape to room to still-life). As part of a rhetorical tradition, we read painting as an illusion in its own right — not only as the deceptive impression of space contained on a flat surface but also as the emotional invention, almost a daydream, of an idealized foreign domain. Under the blessing of our scarce resources (somehow following Cusa's "learned ignorance" or reverting Borges's improbable figure of Funes the Memorious) we will compress the roughly two centuries that turned Romanticism into post-painterly Abstraction. By carefully looking, reading, and repainting a collection of classical paintings, we are going to explore notions of source, mimesis, forgery, translation, and originality in its broadest sense. The depicted scenes will cover a wide range of natural landscapes, from monumental mountains to bucolic prairies, from ancient trees to ruined buildings, from the sublime to the picturesque, pastoral, or primitive beauty. Moving our painted surfaces from reality to abstraction, back and forth, we will venture into the definition of a puzzling aesthetic (or rather ethical) paradigm: a profound flatness with severe outlines and a loose definition of tone and character, a tacit enigma, a silent drama, in other words, a form of inexpressive realism. By doing so, we believe, architecture will be to painting what nature is to poetry.

Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen, associate professors of the practice and founding partners of Pezo von Ellrichshausen, will be in Ithaca on the following dates: January 23–25, March 13–15, April 12–15 and May 7–10. Diego Perez, visiting critic and project director and architect at Pezo von Ellrichshausen, will be based in Ithaca with a full-time commitment to the seminar.

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black and white image of a man seated at a desk in a studio with abstract art behind him

Gisele Freund, Le Corbusier in his Studio (1961).

ARCH 4509/6509
Special Topics in Visual Representation: Drawing as Parallel Practice

  • Instructor: Dasha Khapalova
  • Time: F 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 144 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

This class is based on the premise that a drawing practice, in parallel to an architecture practice, has the capacity to build upon and expand the architect's existing vocabulary of space and form. It is based on the premise that architecture is an authored act, and that form in architecture is informed but still very much subjective. As such, it is the architect's responsibility to be fluent in multiple modes of plastic expression and their spatial ramifications in order to allow for each project to find its own indigenous language rather than approaching it with preconceived notions of style or being limited by a narrow, underdeveloped formal intuition.

This class is based on the premise that as architects, we learn through the hand. It is not enough to look, one must see, and in order to see, one must draw. Through drawing, the spatial and formal lessons embedded in the subject are appropriated, digested, and become available for future invention.

In this class, we will be making drawings, not sketches, because the making of a drawing in and of itself becomes a compositional, structural, formal, and spatial project. Students will be asked to select a subject for the semester's work, the only limitations being that it cannot be a building and must be able to be drawn from observation. It is expected that each project will develop its own course as the semester progresses, but the general arc will be drawing from observation, drawing from drawing, and forays into three-dimensional experimentation. Medium will be project specific and will extend to include the use of color.

Each weekly class meeting will consist of a short lecture, followed by critique of drawings. It is expected that students have a basic drawing proficiency, therefore either ARCH 1501, 5511, or the equivalent is a prerequisite for the course.

This course is by permission only. For consideration, please email a statement of interest that includes a preliminary idea for the semester's drawing subject as well as a brief portfolio of drawing examples by the end of the first day of class.

Instructor permission required:

ARCH 1501, 5511, or the equivalent is a prerequisite for the class. For consideration, please email a statement of interest that includes a preliminary idea for the semester's drawing subject as well as a brief portfolio of drawing examples by the end of the first day of class. Students must attend the first class.

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Two level sculpture constructed of columns and platforms

Totem, Architectural Association Visiting School Las Pozas (2016).

ARCH 4605/6605
In Pursuit of Great Form II : Column Typologies

  • Instructor: Umberto Bellardi Ricci
  • Time: Th 12:20–2:15 p.m.
  • Location: Milstein Hall west exhibition hallway
  • Credits: 3

As one of the fundamental elements of architecture, we will be studying column typologies and design our own iterations in concrete. Looking at classical, modern, and contemporary precedents, we will speculate on modular, totemic, continuous column systems and building elements.

We will study the aggregates and different types of formworks that will allow us to explore different design strategies and formal approaches.

Considering the pedestal, the capital, the column, and the connecting slab and grid systems as design opportunities, we will explore different experimental approaches to connecting columns, sacrificial formwork, and connectors to develop new types of modular columns that we will photograph in various scalar explorations. We place and consider sites around Ithaca to propose a potential sculpture route punctuating the region around Ithaca.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

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a series of diagrams demonstrating how to draw a croissant

How to Lay Out a Croissant, by Enrique Miralles with Eva Prats.

ARCH 4605/6605
The Detail

  • Instructor: Rodolfo R. Dias
  • Time: Th 2:30–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

I. Rationale: Special Topics in Construction seminar that focuses on the detail as the conceptual generator and where the students will learn to take a position regarding "The Detail."

II. Course Aims and Objectives: Present to the students a vast overview of inspiring architectural details of contemporary architecture. Bring the ability to identify architectural details and complexities and its importance in the overall experience of architecture. Develop skills in the representation of architectural details, per standards following the professional field.

III. Format and Procedures: Class will consist of lectures, discussion upon material presented, and presentation of students research work. First part of class to be dedicated to visuals of notable contemporary architectural details, and concurrent open discussion with students. Lecture format to be a conversation between instructor and students. Students expected to individually research assigned case study buildings to detail level. As a second part, the students will individually design and detail a small pavilion structure that builds on the collective knowledge from the first assignment research. In the third part, the students will create iterations of their pavilion in scale models focused on materials and details.

IV. Instructor Assumptions: Instructor assumption is that the students can demonstrate how a consistent concept informs both the overall spatial concept and the development of the details. Understand that details are interconnected with other disciplines and understand the immense decision making and constant dialogue between different parties during the detailing process. Develop a medium, custom for each student, to expedite communication.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

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Square of 25 images of small sculptured figures, patterned fabric, and cellular structures.

Selection of work produced in the Sabin Lab at Cornell AAP, Jenny Sabin Studio, and Sabin and Jones LabStudio, 2006–18.

ARCH 4605/6605/7152
Special Topics in Construction: Matter Design Computation

  • Instructor: Jenny Sabin
  • Time: T 12:20–2:15 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

Although there have been tremendous innovations in design, material sciences, and bio- and information technologies, direct interactions and collaborations between scientists and architects are rare. One approach is to couple architectural designers with engineers and biologists within a research-based laboratory-studio in order to develop new ways of thinking, seeing, and working in each of our fields. This course is part two of an introduction to fundamental concepts in matter design computation. Course work includes exposure to different theories, research, and practices of emerging technologies, digital fabrication, computational design, experiments in building construction techniques, new materials, bioinspired design, and human-centered adaptive architecture. Project work will be closely aligned to ongoing research in the Sabin Lab at Cornell AAP with emphasis upon material systems, generative design, simulation, intermediate computational design, physical modeling, and digital fabrication within a hybrid lab plus studio setting. Project work will follow three parallel topics: robotic sensing and fabrication, 3D printed componentry, and biosteered generative design. The class situates itself at the forefront of a new direction for 21st-century architectural research practice — one that investigates the intersections of architecture and science and applies insights and theories from biology and computation to the design of material structures. In particular, this course will unfold long-standing traditions of shared relationships between architecture and biology, with subtopics that include sustainability, ecological design, biomimicry, digital fabrication, experimental structures, and materials science.

Instructor permission required:

Admitted students must have prior experience (through a class, studio, internship, research position, etc.) in computation, computational design and/or digital fabrication. This course will not include introductory scripting and parametric workshops. It is expected that students have intermediate to advanced digital skills. All students must attend the first class.

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Three people on a stage in a glassed-in room overlooking a city

Jazz at Lincoln Center.

ARCH 4619/6605
Acoustics for Architects: Hearing, Listening, Designing

This seminar will explore the sonic environment that we inhabit, especially the built environment, in order to become more familiar with the artistry/technology of sound, from noise to music. It is hoped that participating (architecture/design/arts) students will come to consider the acoustic character of their work as important as that of light, form, color, and structure, and acquire an abiding interest in "how spaces should sound." The Cornell campus environment will be our laboratory. In addition, there will be two field trips, one to Binghamton to the laboratory of University of Binghamton Professor Ron Miles and the manufacturing facilities of McIntosh Labs. The other will be to New York City to explore "The Sound of the City" with acousticians Ben Markham, Robert Lee, and Seth Cluet, director of the Sound Arts program at Columbia University. This will include visits to major performance venues, an evening performance, and exploration of selected major urban spaces of the city.

Instructor permission required:

The seminar is open to all Cornell students but due to limited enrollment, permission of instructor will be required. Please attend the first class.

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cartoon depicting a man confessing to driving an SUV

Repentance and Redemption, Ron Barett, the New York Times.

ARCH 4621
Sustainable Architecture: The Science and Politics of Green Building

  • Instructor: Jonathan Ochshorn
  • Time: T 2:30–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: 261C East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

Students will examine the six basic components of sustainable building design (location, site, water, energy, materials, and IEQ) from both a historical perspective and as implemented through the LEED/USGBC rating system, in each case comparing the issues raised by building and environmental science with the political context within which those issues are considered. While not its primary purpose, this course will provide an excellent introduction for students planning to take the LEED Green Associate or Accredited Professional (AP) exam.

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Four images including Rem Koolhaas, Robert Moses, Lewis Mumford, and a historic New York City street scene.

ARCH 6308-130 (AAP NYC)
Special Topics in Architectural Theory: New York as Incubator of 20th-Century Urbanism

  • Instructor: Joan Ockman
  • Time: W 3:30–5:30 p.m.
  • Location: AAP NYC
  • Credits: 3

The theories of Lewis Mumford, Robert Moses, Jane Jacobs, and Rem Koolhaas were shaped by their different responses to New York City's 20th-century development. The seminar is constructed as a debate among these four influential "urban intellectuals." The objective is to reflect on the past, present, and future of New York City and other cities in light of their ideas.

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collage of a car with a church and bodega coming out of its roof and rats on the ground next to it.

Even Jesus Drank, collage by Olalekan Jeyifous.

ARCH 6509 (AAP NYC)
Divinity and the Deli: Visual Inquiries into New York City's Storefront Churches and Bodegas

The tension between old and new permeates the architecture of New York City's five boroughs. While well-established patterns of design and construction are in some instances expunged from the urban landscape and in other instances preserved and cherished, a basic and defining feature for many of its long-standing yet continually evolving communities is a deeply felt interaction between culture and the built environment.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the bodegas, delis, 99-cent stores, and storefront churches that constitute the most visible yet vulnerable icons of New York City's vanishing urban vernacular. The signage in particular — collages featuring posters for local politicians, governmental enforcement in the form of stickers indicating "We check ID" or "EBT accepted," signs advertising the sale of obscure ethnic food brands and even ones pertaining to the salvation of your soul — reflect the unique interactions of commerce, politics, law, religion, social activism, crime, and fear that make up the street-front pedestrian experience.

Over the course of the semester, students will explore the fictions, histories, and futures of these local storefront typologies (signage, surfaces, and textures) through an expansive approach to developing visual narratives. Sites and spaces of inquiry will include, but not be limited to, the Yemeni delis and Caribbean storefront churches of neighborhoods like Crown Heights, Brooklyn as well as the Dominican bodegas and Pentecostal storefront churches of Harlem and the South Bronx. As a means of reimagining social spaces wrought with a synthesis of both utopic and dystopic ideals, students will examine the cultural, political, and socioeconomic relationships these spaces have to their respective communities through sketching, digital collage, and photo montage.

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 Grid of 8 rectangles, each showing a piece of art from an exhibition titled

Mail-Art show, Artistic Activities in the Countryside (Büro für künstlerische Umtriebe auf dem Land), Switzerland (1983). Works by Guy Bleus, Demos Ronchi, Pawel Petasz, Johan van Geluwe, Pete Horobin, Wally Darnell, and Rudolph.

ARCH 6805
Practicum: Tell Me About Your Archive

  • Instructor: Samia Henni
  • Time: M 9:05–11 a.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 4

Research practices are contingent on the nature and status of an "archive" — that is, in the broader sense, a collection of textual and audio-visual documents and artifacts of the past. The seminar investigates various approaches to interrogating as well as building an "archive," which informs the production of discourses, the writing of histories, and the exhibiting of stories. On the one hand, we will question the authority of an "archive" by examining and discussing a series of architectural and theoretical texts. On the other hand, we will examine the building of the "archive" by interviewing and challenging several architectural historians and theorists, including Jean-Louis Cohen, Beatriz Colomina, Mary McLeod, Anthony Vidler, and many others. The resulting interviews will be posted on an online platform, Tell Me About Your Archive, and will be exhibited at Cornell's architecture department. Through the question of the "archive," we will scrutinize how certain architectural histories and theories are constructed, preserved, interpreted, or suppressed, and expand our acquaintance with research practices.

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50s-style drawing of a living room setting looking out over a city with details about the furniture on the right

ARCH 6819
Archi Pop: 20th-Century Architecture as Mediated by Popular Culture

  • Instructor: D. Medina Lasansky
  • Time: Th 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 211 West Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 4

The popular mediation of architecture gives meaning to form. The public is introduced to canonical architecture as well as everyday manufactured vernacular forms through a range of mass media and in the process is taught to recognize, desire, and consume forms. As a result, mass media is an essential architecture material. This class will critically analyze a range of mass media from advertisements to the James Bond film genre in order to create a more nuanced and complete understanding of 20th-century architecture.

Requirements: Completion of weekly reading assignments and participation in class meetings. By permission, graduate students are given preference.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

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people on a platform with household items around them

Italy: The New Domestic Landscape (1972), exhibition at MoMa, by Superstudio.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Commons in a Rural Dream: Universal Basic Income Cookbook and the New Domestic Landscape

"Rural and urban America clearly have distinct politics, one emphasizing individualism and limited government, the other shared commons that require bigger government."*

This divide is in the context of extreme societal changes wherein neither option functions independently. In the face of automation, rising inequality, and mass climate change migrations we can either escape or bond together. And, while our particular politics inclines us toward a shared endeavor with our countrymen there is much to be understood in the countryside.

The American desire for independence can be meaningful and wholistic beyond individual us vs. them attitudes. At many points in U.S. history, it appeared that the resources available could, without much intervention, provide for all. In a very basic sense, the American dream was a real thing and it still is. But, it is not going to happen through 'hard work' in its next iteration. The trend is in the opposite direction. Capital begets wealth and working begets less and less. We have to accept that robots are going to do the work so we're going to have to agree on a new system of distribution, maybe reimagining the original distribution of land that we once gave out to whomever first arrived. Our studio posits that universal basic income is the next path to independence. Money replaces the land as the resource from which we thrive, think, and create. Paradoxically, this change reconnects us to land, a resource that we continue to have in abundance. Universal basic income changes the value of land writ large.

In embracing universal basic income we'll find that the labor and wage part of the American dream morphs into other pursuits. We'll leave modern thinking and the idea of the universal architectural answer in favor of the specific.

The topic of this change is potentially endless, and while we cannot predict the future, we can begin to imagine what a world without labor would look like. The idea of the center and edge condition, which defines the contemporary metropolis, will also change. Rural environments may become as valid as urban ones, from a cost point of view. And while cities force a certain communal experience, rural living doesn't.

We will embrace that and focus on the rural. At the same time, we will reimagine the rural living landscape and the idea of private and public, creating the specific individual in relationship to the new commons. We will create new domestic landscapes for a UBI world without work where the notion of domestic itself is bound to change.

We'll read about universal basic income and degrowth.** We'll create a future that allows people to live in new, different, and authored ways. We are talking about reordering our world.

We're about the rural commons. We're drawing communities.

We're growing, we're cooking, we're eating.

*"The Suburbs Are Changing. But Not in All the Ways Liberals Hope." The New York Times, Emily Badger, Quoctrung Bui and Josh Katz, November 26, 2018
**Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (VERSO, 2016)
Giacomo D'Alisa and Federico Demaria and Giorgos Kallis, Degrowth: A vocabulary for a new era (Routledge, 2016)
Albert Wenger, "World After Capital" (2016)

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detail of intricate arches inside a cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Criminal Behavior: Ornamental Exuberance through Efficiency

  • Instructor: Martin Miller
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20-4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

In 1908, the use of ornament as an architectural element was declared a criminal act within architecture by Adolf Loos in his essay, "Ornament and Crime." Loos argued on behalf of the craftsman claiming that "Ornament is wasted labor and hence wasted health."

The principles laid out within the essay served as foundational principles for the ensuing Modernist movement that debased and all but eradicated ornament as a fundamental component of architecture.

The contemporary laborer, however, is no longer the skilled craftsperson. Rather than on-site custom craft, components are produced in factories that are increasingly shifting from human labor to networked computational machines. Robotic CNC tools are programmed with routines, relentlessly repeating tasks with superhuman accuracy. While these tools offer an extreme level of precision and accurate translation from digital to physical form, completion of routines can often be very time consuming due to limitations within options for tooling. A smooth surface requires the creation of dense tool paths and hence long production times and loss of efficiency, for example. These routines are most frequently the result of standard processing algorithms, removing the role of the designer within the process of physical manifestation. Similarly, processes utilizing subtractive, CNC milling operations often involve excessive waste of material further losing efficiency.

Through intervention in this established system, new kinds of functional ornament may be introduced, having massive consequences for manufacturing processes, material efficiency, and the architectural expression of our emaciated built environments.

The studio will reconsider the value of ornamentation in architecture, considering logics of both expression and the functional potential of ornament. We will explore historical models of ornamentation and their significance as expressive, communicative, and pragmatic elements within the movements of the Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau. Simultaneously, the studio will question ways in which the conceptual expression of ornamentation may be efficiently produced via digital fabrication techniques and computational formal generation. Exploring ideas of the digital craftsperson, concise tool selection and deployment will intervene within the fabrication process, resulting in patterning and texture as remnant traces while generating computationally efficient form.

Through the understanding of part to whole relationships, fabrication processes, and computational generation, students will progress through two-dimensional aperiodic tiling systems into generative structural assemblies. Looking to historical structural models and spatial organizations, the final construction will be a small contemporary chapel.

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abandoned industrial site on left and abandoned warehouse on right, black and white

Soviet industry, Armenia. photo / Lori Khatchadourian

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Design Plan 5.0: Of Industry after the Fall

  • Instructor: Aleksandr Mergold
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

"Design Plan" studios work with stakeholders across the globe to investigate and precisely define problems that can be solved with the input of designers and architects. Ranging from the design of objects, buildings, and cities, to strategies, organizational principles, and policies of reuse, the studios aim at enabling the local communities to make their desires and concerns positively affect their immediate constructed environment. A "design plan" is hatched from observing, empathizing, and designing interactions with a given local situation, a critical alternative to top-down master plans.

Previous design plan studios:

  • D/P 1.0 – of Fears and Desires in Trumansburg, New York
  • D/P 2.0 – of Histories and Identities in Bzionkow, Polish Silesia
  • D/P 3.0 – of Empathy and Possibilities in "Temporary" Refugee Settlements
  • D/P 4.0 – of P/Fast and Future Building in Ithaca, New York

This edition of D/P Studio will reconsider the fate of industrial complexes that had once been the backbone of a massive socialist experiment and the planned economy of the Soviet Union. Now, they are both monuments to the recent past, and a resource for the local populations that found themselves in newly-founded countries that once made up the USSR. People who live around these industrial wastelands are slowly beginning to repurpose the massively scaled and dramatically shaped spaces through practices of rebuilding, spoliation, curation, and rent extraction that variously accelerate or impede their decay. A situation not unlike medieval Rome, with the lore of the Soviet industry slowly fading, these massive, nearly cyclopean, brutalist structures stand amidst a new post-industrial post-soviet reality. Caught between their picturesque, nostalgic appeal and the extreme complexity of their permanent reoccupation rooted in deep environmental, technological, regulatory, and preservation issues, these complexes are both places of the past and of the future. As such we will study them as ruins in formation, in collaboration with an archeologist, and as resources, in collaboration with a local architecture faculty and students.

The studio site will be one of the many factory complexes in the Republic of Armenia. Once a largely agrarian society before the Soviet takeover under Stalin and his successors, Armenia became one of the world's most rapidly industrialized countries. Armenia is a palimpsest of histories, mythologies, conflicts, and struggles that stretches deep into prehistory, but is perhaps best known architecturally for its distinctive medieval churches. The Soviet period comparatively is a small blip in its long history, but it is perhaps the most palpable, because of the multiple social and physical residues that remain, including the massive remnants of the centrally-planned industry whose future remains unresolved. The fate of these ruins, now mostly empty and stripped of all salvageable machinery components, is uncertain — they are too large to reoccupy or to demolish. What can they be? The studio will concern itself with timelessness vs. temporality, locality vs. globalism, and lightness vs. firmness within the context of an ensemble of existing buildings with complicated histories, geopolitical situation, geography, environmental contamination, and conflicting and contradicting perceptions.

The studio anticipates a weeklong field trip* to Armenia from February 16 to 22.

*$500 field trip contribution per student is required.

The studio is a collaboration with Lori Khatchadourian, Department of Near Eastern Studies; and Zara Mamyan, head of the Department of Urban Planning at National University of Architecture and Construction (NUAC); as well as a group of architecture students from NUAC.

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detail of a colored piece of brick

John Ruskin, Study of a piece of Brick to Show Cleavage in Burnt Clay (1871), watercolor and bodycolor over graphite on wove paper, 21.3 x 17.2 cm.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Found Thing

Perhaps the only difference between objects and things resides in their scale. Before objects were available to be found, even before they had a proper name, things were already there. Mute, opaque, tacit, like posing for an impossible still life, one without an author. Things precede words, yet sometimes they exceed them. Ruskin, in one of his many didactic enterprises, could describe a mountain formation through a tiny rock, and vice versa. Architecture, as any work of art, is founded in the same tautological principle. There is no purpose in nature (even if we see it). It has been clearly (and irrevocably) entitled as the "useless utility" (the same a brick or a tulip). We keep dreaming about those innocent days, those bright mornings, in which we had no name for walls or rooms. Can we sincerely fake ignorance? Can we really "forget the name of things?" Architecture, as any other natural thing, can certainly be produced without history, but also without context, program, or construction. What is left, then? Perhaps no more than some invisible tendencies, some comparative sizes, and basic directions. As if in a logical venture, buildings will be collected from a personal and rather impulsive memory. They will be translated into repositories for geological fragments. Not a large museum for a prefabricated urban scene, but a small house for a private pilgrimage into pure (and idealized) wilderness. Celebrating its 10th variation, this studio further extends our Naïve Intention program; an intimate research on the apparent contradiction between intentionality and chance, rationality and futility, prediction and circumstance, authorship and anonymity. Based on a series of subjective constraints, every student will elaborate a precise inventory of architectonic propositions, a selection of which will be developed through handmade models, drawings, and paintings.

This studio includes a field trip to the Grand Canyon National Park and selected architecture of the region. Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen, associate professors of the practice and founding partners of Pezo von Ellrichshausen, will be in Ithaca on the following dates: January 23–25, March 13–15, April 12–15, and May 7–10. They will also participate in the weeklong field trip, February 16 to 22. Diego Perez, assistant professor and project director architect at Pezo von Ellrichshausen, will be based in Ithaca with a full-time commitment to the studio.

*$500 field trip contribution per student is required

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Four images of woven structures or material

From left, Lumen detail (Jenny Sabin Studio); 3D printed chitosan (2016 option studio and Sabin Design Lab); Lumen; fiber-winding end effector; robotic fabrication process involving two interacting six-axis robots. ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart.

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Matter Design Computation: Human-Centered Adaptive Architecture in the UAE

  • Instructor: Jenny Sabin
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20–4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

Frei Otto also took up the notion of self-generation and the analogy between biology and building, but eschewed the imitation of nature in favor of working directly in materials to produce models that were at once natural and artificial. At the same time, he also eschewed their translation into a universalizing mathesis. Rather than focusing on form or formula, he took the idea of analogy in an entirely different direction, preferring to stage experiments in which materials find their own form. ~ Detlef Mertins

  • Sabin Lab senior personnel: David Rosenwasser
  • Robot: SULLA; ABB IRB 4600; payload capacity = 45kg; 2.05m reach and 6 axis rotation

Rationale

How might buildings behave more like organisms responding to and adapting to their built environments?

In the not so distant future, materials will not just be elements and things in buildings, they will generate immersive spaces, acting upon and responding to affordances in our built environments. Like the cells in our bodies, sensors and imagers will learn and adapt, making materials not only smart but also aware, sensate, and beautiful. We will be able to tune our spaces, to personalize architecture.

This studio will explore current and future applications of human-centered adaptive architecture in extreme climates for outdoor public programming, including parks, beach activation, recreation, and play. To do this, we will incorporate digital and robotic fabrication with an emphasis on user feedback through handcraft and external bioinspired datasets and models. We will focus on materially-directed generative fabrication inspired by natural systems, specifically natural fiber and textile composite structures (e.g. bone, sea sponges, plant fibers, cellular systems). The studio aims to advance materials research and robotic digital fabrication through questions that probe the economical, ecological, and cultural production of complex built form in extreme climate conditions. While nonlinear concepts are widely applied in analysis and generative design in architecture, they have not yet convincingly translated into the material realm of fabrication and construction. How have these advancements impacted material practice in architecture, engineering, and construction at economic, technological, and cultural levels? How might we address these issues during the design process? The main thrust of this studio concerns the evolution of material and digital complexity through radical experimentation in robotic fabrication and digital handcraft with the following themes: static and interactive robotic drawing; materials research; natural fiber-based systems and composite structures; additive manufacturing and custom end effectors and sensors; component and part fabrication; 1:1 scale prototypes; and structural elements.

The expected outcome for the studio is for students to develop an integrated architectural proposal and program for the Makers District beach activation project through materially-directed generative fabrication and the production of 1:1 scale prototypes and structural elements (canopy, column, tower, etc.). The final project must represent a thorough design idea documented by material investigations, models, prototypes, drawings, tectonic strategy and sections, overall and partial views, and diagrams illustrating the concept and its development into a coherent architectural proposal.

Bioinspiration

Cable nets based on the high strength-to-weight ratio of the spider web; conditioning systems modeled after termite mounds; superhydrophobic coatings based on lotus leaves; pneumatic structures inspired by soap bubbles and foams; surface structures abstracted from the exoskeletons of radiolarian; structural color change engineered from the 3D geometry and structure of butterfly wings; and towers generated and engineered from the distribution of stress forces observed in the femur bone. Architects, scientists, and structural engineers have always looked to nature and the sciences for inspiration, and each profession demands collaboration across a broad range of disciplines. Clearly, biologists and architects share similar concerns, and this is best reflected in the relationships that have emerged between their respective fields. Models borrowed from architects — such as tensegrity structures and geodesic domes — have led to radical new insights into how living systems — such as cells, tissues, and whole organisms — are assembled and function, as well as to a new understanding of how the microecology of cells influences the genome. Similarly, models borrowed from biology, particularly regarding self-organization, metadata structures, and the emergence of complex, non-linear global systems from simple local rules of organization have led to radical new forms and structural organizations in architectural design. Examples such as these demonstrate how attentive architectural and scientific practices can be to each other — particularly within architecture and biology, which are constantly challenged to reinvent and question themselves in a manner similar to the historic avant-gardes, or in the face of new technologies.

Site and Travel

This studio anticipates a weeklong field trip from February 16 to 22 to visit sites in Abu Dhabi and perhaps Dubai. We will work with local developers and architects, including IMKAN/Soulful Places. Enriched Lives. Our site is a beach area within the Makers District, a mixed-use development strategically located in Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, across from the cultural hub of Saadiyat Island, home to the Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. We will focus on the waterfront activation development.

*500 field trip contribution per student is required.

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diagram showing air flow into and out of a structure

photo / Alfred To

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Project Zero (or Less)

"It is often neglected that the words animal and environment make an inseparable pair. Each term implies the other. No animal could exist without an environment surrounding it. Equally, although not so obvious, an environment implies an animal (or at least an organism) to be surrounded."

~James J. Gibson, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, (New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc. Inc. Publishers, 1986), 8.

Forty percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. annually is consumed by buildings. In the last 10 years, more concrete has been used in China than in the last 100 years in the U.S. Architecture cannot continue as we know it. But applying sustainable strategies to existing design practices is not an adequate response.

Project Zero will investigate the topic of sustainability not as a postfacto addition to an aesthetically motivated contemporary architecture, but as a return to the first principles of ecological thinking. By rethinking the normative approach to site responsiveness and to design itself, the studio aims to produce an architecture that not only behaves sustainably but that also communicates the fact that it does: to produce a new ecological architectural language.

The studio will design a prototypical building for the university of the future. Based on real programmatic, site, and sustainability constraints to make the Cornell campus carbon neutral by 2030, we will work with invited experts from renowned practices, as well as officials from the offices of Campus Planning, Architectural Planning, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. The studio will design an academic building for the Atkinson Center, an organization that has existed since 2010 as a collection of disparate faculty and students united through sustainability, but until now, without their own building. In 2017, the Atkinson Center had a feasibility study carried out to examine the possibility of a new building to collect their various members under one roof: the studio will use this document as a basis for design, but will aim towards a more radical approach to concrete problems.

Through a series of design exercises zooming in from the urban scale to the scale of the room, the final project will be a competition to design a building for the Atkinson Center. Students will learn about emerging environmental modeling tools and their integration in a digital design process. Students will be challenged to develop a new ecological architectural language through an informed design process. The ability to embed environmental modeling tools directly into the design process presents a paradigm shift towards integrated and intelligent design processes. Iterative and empirical testing of designs at various scales is an essential part of this studio's research methodology. Furthermore, the studio will involve numerous consultants and specialists. Dogan's background in sustainable design workflows and computational design tool making combined with O'Donnell's background in bioclimatic design and circular materials will combine to create a full spectrum of sustainable invention that will push beyond the inventions of normative sustainable architecture.

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People sitting in a wooden sculpture/structure in outdoor setting at night

Site-specific wooden sculpture/structure and informal meeting place for visitors to Venice’s Architecture Biennale 2010. photo / Rintala Eggertsson Architects

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Site-Specific, Small-Scale Interventions: Design-to-Build Studio

Dagur Eggertsson, visiting professor; partner, Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Sami Rintala, visiting professor; partner, Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Mark Cruvellier, Nathaniel and Margaret Owings Distinguished Alumni Professor

The intention of this studio is to engage in the detailed design of site-specific, small-scale interventions within the context of large-scale natural landscapes. An essential challenge and objective will be to explore how to accomplish a lot with a little in such an environment. The central project will be sited locally in rural Ithaca. Site specificity has a lot to do with the people who are living there, their culture and way of life, and their understanding of/relationship to the landscape; all this generates an inner landscape that we need to explore. We will work with a real client for the project(s) which within a year or two could conceivably be built on site in full scale. One of the possible tasks could be to design a Finger Lakes Trail hiker's rest stop and/or viewing platform, perhaps combined with a stone mason's work-yard shelter — but other functions are also likely to emerge and be developed. We will conduct numerous on-site design workshops, closely exploring/reading the site and landscape in winter/spring conditions, and combining this with on-site, indoor(!) design charrettes in a unique setting. Local culture and history, as well as material crafts and specific technical expertise, will be integrated into the studio. A convivial studio atmosphere and a collective group dynamic is the intention — without, of course, sacrificing individual creativity nor high expectations for the final, ready-to-be-built design proposal(s). These will be highly material specific and closely detailed, with wood and stone being of primary but not necessarily exclusive interest. Partial prototype model building, detail resolution, and material testing are intended to be done at a large scale, e.g., 1:1, even if not likely on site during the semester. Structural form and its relation to design ideas/concepts will also be of central focus and concern. Cold weather climate and dark winter days will be integral to design considerations, but so will be their opposite during the warm, light-filled summer. Vernacular, as well as contemporary examples of Nordic architecture and other built works, will be closely studied for the lessons they convey.

The overriding goal of the studio is to produce architecture that offers clever, realistic, ecological, and economic architecture for the near future. This universal theme will be discussed with help of a selected literature list.

Rintala Eggertsson Architects was founded in 2007 by the Finnish architect Sami Rintala and the Icelandic architect Dagur Eggertsson. The office bases its activities on teaching, furniture design, public art projects, architecture, and planning. Important features in Rintala Eggertsson's practice are their 1:1 building workshops with students and clients. Occupying the space between architecture and public art, their work has been installed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the MAXXI Museum in Rome, and in the Venice Biennale, and has been published extensively, such as in A+U, Wallpaper, Architectural Review, Blueprint, Domus and The New York Times. Their work has been described as narrative and conceptual. Resulting work is a layered interpretation of the physical, mental and poetic resources of the site.

Eggertsson and/or Rintala will be present in studio for week-long sessions roughly every three weeks.

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rendering of modern buildings and a public square in a city

Split, Croatia. photo / D. Pejkovic

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Split 3.0 — Urban Editing: Contemporary Potential of Late Modern Public Urban Space

The city of Split, Croatia has had a long history of urban development, of which the most valuable and important historical example is Diocletian Palace (AD 295–305). The last Roman Emperor House has, over time, become the structure for a very lively city — a house/city that is not a monument, but a place full of life, people, and events and that, after 2,000 years, is still being upgraded, built, and rebuilt with new contemporary layers.

This example of Diocletian's Palace encouraged the young Team X architects to refuse the tabula rasa methodology of modern urban development. Dutch architect Jaap Bakema "rediscovered" the palace during the 1956 CIAM Team X meeting in Dubrovnik, and described it as "a model for a strategy of preserving a building's historic substance by employing a method of permanent transformation and contemporary reacquisition," Today, more than 50 years later, the palace might again become a source of inspiration for architects and urban designers in regards to new challenges.

The winning team of the urban design competition of the Split III district was led by architect Braco Mušič. A Harvard GSD graduate in an age when Modernist principles were strongly criticized, he had also participated in Dubrovnik Team X, CIAM congress, and his project established a connection between the architecture of megastructural scale and the reestablishment of the pedestrian zone — the street.

Our studio, Split 3.0 - Urban Editing, is therefore about researching, editing, and improving public space in the city of Split. Fifty years after the very successful design and realization of this (late Modern) quarter Split III, we will examine the potential of its streets and neighborhoods at both urban and architectural scales. This studio recognizes the role of the street — the urbanistic and architectural potential of the street — in the matrix of the city of Split (Nolli plan of Split 3.0 revisited).

We will be using the editing method, as used by filmmakers, musicians, classical and contemporary DJs, and cook master chefs. And, as in film editing, we will use the "ready-made" elements and found realities on the spot, rearrange them, adapt, transform, repair, reuse. The studio also aims to critically explore the contemporary impact of digital technologies on communities and urban space. Sensors and networks are part of everyday life now. The addition of temporary, adaptive, innovative objects/structures (parasites), can transform existing spaces into spaces of urban and cultural production that interact with neighboring parts of the city. What will the consequences of this new scenario be on urban public life?

Students are highly encouraged to independently visit the exhibition Towards a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980 at MoMA in New York City (closes Sunday, January 13, 2019). The exhibition serves as an important introduction to the period of the creation of the Split III district, demonstrating not only an urban and architectural overview but also the social, economic, and political condition of that country and that time. Sasa Begovic will be in Ithaca for an anticipated four, 10-day visits on the following dates: January 22–31, March 13–22, April 10–19, and April 29–May 9; and will also participate in the weeklong field trip* to Split from February 16 to 22. Visiting Critic Gesa Büttner Dias will collaborate in the studio on a full-time basis in Ithaca.

The final product of the studio will be realized through a presentation, exhibition, and publication/folder book.

*$500 field trip contribution per student is required.

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pink site plan of Central Park in Taichung, Taiwan

The Southern Coolia of Central Park, Taichung, Taiwan (2012–18), Philippe Rahm architectes, mosbach paysagistes, Ricky Liu and Associates

ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
The Anthropocene Style

  • Instructor: Philippe Rahm, Sarosh Anklesaria
  • Time: M, W, F 12:20-4:25 p.m.
  • Location: TBA
  • Credits: 6

Architecture and urban design were traditionally primarily based on climate, comfort, and health issues as we can read in treatises of Vitruvius or Alberti, writing about wind and solar exposures, humidity, and temperature rates. These fundamental causes of the urban design were ignored during the 20th century thanks to the enormous use of fossil energy by pumps, motors, refrigerators, heating systems, and air conditioning that cause today the greenhouse effect and global warming. Sustainability and the fight against climate change force the architects and urban designer to take back seriously the climatic issue in order to base their urban development plan and public spaces design on more consideration to the local climatic context and local energy resources.

At the urban level, we will analyze sunshine, wind direction, sources of pollutants, and noise emissions and respond by working on the form, layout of programs, choice of materials, and definition of new functions for the benefit of the quality of the atmosphere and the climatic sensuality of public space. Our tools will be real, those of the physical properties of materials such as albedo and emissivity, shading, meteorological phenomena such as evaporation, convection, pressure, whose behaviors will be modeled at the very beginning of the project with software to simulate fluid flow or solar radiation. We will, as an example, revalue the political and social essence of public space through the fundamental climatic values of summer freshness and winter warmth in the millenary tradition of urban know-how forgotten during the 20th century.

At the architectural level, with formal, aesthetic, and social consequences, we will respond to new environmental and energy requirements by providing a meteorological understanding of building physics, revealing internal convection movements, variations in thermal radiation, thermal conductivity gradations, water vapor emissions and trajectory, physiological air and light quality, and material effusivity and emissivity values in order to minimize the responsible energy consumption during building operation of more than 30 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. We also draw conclusions at the programmatic level by reassessing the degree of individualization and sharing of functions, which can enhance the value of living together and the community.

By abandoning the overrun use of fossil energy, we will abandon the 20th-century modern style, white, thin, and minimal, for a new architecture style we will invent together — the Anthropocene Style.

Philippe Rahm will be in Ithaca on the following dates: January 28–February 1, March 11–15, April 8–12, and May 3–9.

Visiting Critic Sarosh Anklesaria will collaborate in the studio on a full-time basis in Ithaca.

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