The fourth and final semester of the core sequence, this architecture studio tackles the complexity of the urban condition through the design of housing. From individual to collective, from spatial to infrastructural, from units to systems, housing not only confronts the multiple scales of design but also exposes the values and ideals of its society. The semester will be an opportunity to imagine the possible futures of the city, recognizing the role of architecture at the intersection of the many interdependent as well as contradictory forces at play, and the negotiations that must necessarily take place.
The semester will be organized in two overlapping phases. The first weeks will be an intense research and analysis phase through which the students will develop not only an understanding of historical precedents but also begin to formulate their narrative on urban living – a hypothesis that they will use to launch their design for the rest of the semester. While this hypothesis will be constantly revisited and revised, it will serve as a first speculative act.
The second phase of the semester will be devoted to the elaboration of an urban project with a focus on housing and will have as its objective the understanding of design as a series of relativities: between building and the city, between collective and individual, between civic and domestic. The architectural project is fundamentally optimistic. It goes beyond problem solving to imagining a better future. In no other typology is this more true than with collective housing which defines the core of how we live and function together as a society.
Pedagogically, working in groups and pairs will be a component of the semester, demanding dialogue, understanding, and negotiation of different points of view.
Jenny French, Instructor