Re-use, Re-public, Re-presentation

Within the New Normal – defined as an era of deglobalisation, austerity and sobriety, this studio examines how architecture can be instrumental in defining a new pact between public and private. Taking as a point of departure Bruno Latour’s questions on: “how things are made public and what would happen if politics revolved around (disputed) things’, we will examine new atmospheric conditions—technologies, interfaces, platforms, networks, and models that allow things to be made public.

Politics is not just an arena, a profession, or a system, but a concern for things brought to the attention of the fluid and expansive constituency of the public. What, we might ask, is a republic, a res publica, a public thing, if we do not know how to make things public? Instead of looking for democracy only in the official sphere of professional politics, there are many other kinds of assemblies, which are not political in the usual sense.

In case of this studio the assembly of things to consider is one of the most prominent collections of contemporary art in the country that is to be placed within ten blocks of the nation\’s capital.

In direct dialogue with a team of the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, the studio will endeavor to develop a new institutional ground for housing this art collection in the center of political power.

The project is situated in the South West neighborhood of Washington DC, an area with a rich urban history, on a site of the partially landmarked, but abandoned, Randall’s Public High School. The studio will address both the urban as well as the architectural scale.

There will be an exploratory part, which includes visiting the collection in Miami, resulting in a series of programmatic models and organizational strategies, which then will be used in the second half of the studio to define a polemical architectural intervention on the site