“Our world, like a charnel-house, is strewn with the detritus of dead epochs. The great task incumbent on us is that of making a proper environment for our existence, and clearing away from our cities the dead bones that putrefy in them. We must construct cities for to-day.”
Le Corbusier, The City of To-Morrow and Its Planning, 1929
Panama City, Panama is without a doubt a city constructed for “to-day”. It is a dynamic metropolis that capital flows freely through, both literally and figuratively. Yet, instead of adhering to Le Corbusier’s call of “clearing away” - Panama City, at least for the moment, exists as a patchwork with a number of blatant juxtapositions that form new and unexpected architectural connections. The impulse to remove is supplanted by an impulse to join - making Panama City a junction city that is fastened locally and globally. Instead of deletion, the norm and logic of Panama City is addition and therefore one of growth with preservation making it a model for urban centers for the 21st century.
Panama City is no stranger to making connections. The city hooks up global trade and subsequently Oceans through the key thoroughfare of the Panama Canal. Panama City marries cultures and ethnicities through its diverse population. As Central America’s primary growing metropolis Panama City is a hub that links the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Instead of a Grand Tour consisting of a linear trajectory with an itinerary of multiple cities, this studio will take on an itinerary that is throughout and inside a single city. In other words, the Grand Tour with its accompanying detritus of ruins and partial monuments has already arrived, passed through, filtered and condensed in Panama City resulting in a complex urban collage. The goal will be an intense focus on 5 points of connection within Panama City. The 5 points will allow us to not only position the studio, but document and demonstrate the complex architectural and urban system of Panama City.