Course Content (Syllabus)
“the monsters are real, and we should open our eyes and ears to understand what they have to tell us about modernity”
Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, Commonwealth, 2011
The evolution of architectural creation has been defined to a large extent by the application of specific rules. Those rules, whether related to its material nature – stability, durability, wear etc – or to its social and cultural surroundings – functionality, meaning etc. – define the vast majority of the produced architecture of any time; it is those rules that allow architecture to move forward with small steps and to evolve. The breakthroughs however, the points of rapture, happen when our understanding of what architecture and space can be, change. At the points of transcendence. When the ways of thinking and, mainly, the design of the architects manages to operate external to those rules; without necessarily undoing them, but by stepping outside the framework that they define.
Aim of the studio is to encourage the students to experiment with architecture and the process of its production. In other words, to open their perception to elements that would normally be dismissed or overlooked: those ‘monsters’ that might be ugly, non-designed, random, worn or abandoned – equipped with properties that design usually tries to avoid – and use them as a point of departure for their design. Through those ‘monster’, their understanding, modulation and transformation, new architectural directions might arise.
The students are asked to work simultaneously on the different scales that their project addresses, from its relation to the city structure to fabrication details, so as their design will emerge through the relations that will arise in the process, instead of relying in some predefined, abstract idea. An extra focus will be placed on the tectonic elements of each project in an attempt to use them as an active aspect of the design instead of something that arrives in retrospect. Therefore the students are expected to develop fabrication methods for the project, whether those methods are conventional or experimental.