room: 1118 course: 123 DESIGN STUDIO (undergrad)
Jimenez Lai, Lecturer
Cities are hyperobjects. In other words, they are things that are massively distributed in space and time relative to humans (and nonhumans it turns out). They are messy things that resist, better yet, defy, totalizing schemes of order. Many modernist visionaries have naively attempted such totalizing schemes for large chunks of cities or new cities altogether: from Le Corbusier’s Radiant City and Wright’s antithetical Broadacre City, to the more recent Parametric strain by Schumacher. For all of its naivete and shortcomings, modernist attempts to come up with architectural propositions at the scale of the city have produced some compelling ideas in the form of projects. In Collage City, Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter expose the modernist project on the city as a fantastical combination of science (through mass management) and freedom (of social ideals), whose in- compatibilities were never sorted out. But more interesting, Rowe and Koetter offer a list of seven stimulants, to be combined vis-a-vis collage techniques, as a way out of the urban hole modernism dug. Collage (as a technique, sensibility, or both) offers an expedient way, for visionary projects on the city, to generate the things we love about them: chance, randomness, variety, mystery, and the unexpected. This studio will explore a renewed disciplinary interest in collage at the scale of city making.
Freedom of choice is what you got... freedom from choice is what you want.
– Devo
Different modes of thinking at the scale of urbanism such as networks, fields, systems, and ecologies, have served as an antidote to the top-down planning methods that have been in place for over a century. According to the social theorist Erich Fromm this could be understood as negative free- dom. In other words, “freedom from” the oft-cited static and fixed nature of modern urban planning. But we have seldom seen or heard what this gets us. What is the positive freedom associated with dynamic and indeterminate models of city making? In an era when the starchitect model is under suspicion, how does one make room for visionary thinking at the scale of the city? What are possible models of collaboration?
PARALLEL WORLDS The studio will be structured in two halves, each of which led by one instructor and pursuing a specific trajectory on the development of the same chunk of city. Framed as parallel worlds, each trajectory will serve as bookends intended to stimulate dialog on contemporary speculations of city-making that address issues such as density, territory, boundary, order, use, ground, character, and aesthetics. In addition to a shared site and final deliverables, each world will establish a set of constraints and potentials based on different agendas. Varying degrees of fantasy and genericism will be distributed accordingly.
s t u d e n t s : David “Ives” Brown, Yani Cui, Mélodie Deny, Angelique Firmalino, Jenjira Holmes, Vivian Kuong, Yessenia Juarez, Steve Martinez, Ian Rodgers, Roojiar Sadeghi, Lena Sato, Naomi Steinhagen, Shelby Tupac