The Cooper Union School of Architecture
Fall Semester, 2007
Professors Diane Lewis, Peter Schubert , Mersiha Veledar, Thomas Tsang, Roger Duffy
ART - CITY - STRUCTURE
Each studio member is to select an artist from the list of New York artists we have developed and a block from a list of blocks that we each suggest.
Develop a set of diverse concepts derived from the following diverse areas of work:
1. TECTONICS: The block and its infrastructure and arch structure model to be started immediately at 16th scale, plans and sections at a minimum of two each.
2. TEXT: the writings and works of the selected artist from the “horses mouth’ only; process, concepts, philosophy, materiality.
3. PROGRAM: The program of the block relative to a civic function and a domestic unit. The evolution of the block in terms of its programmatic history; names and type of institutions domestic typologies, skyscrapers, etc.
The block will be constructed including all infra-structure, element by element. This model is to be constructed at one sixteenth scale. All water mains, electric mains, subway and tunnel systems and street structure will be included. All models will be coordinated in section from –50” feet from 0 elevation, sea level. A one hundred foot module grid is to be employed for the “cropping” of the site area, which is to center on a select block and cut through the surroundings on four sides to expose the sections of the surrounding blocks.
The research and construction of the block, its site and program morphology, will be grounds for your vision for a space block of Manhattan in this century with a specific vision of civic and domestic program in regard to the design of urban space from existing and ideal conditions.
The Cooper Union School of Architecture
Spring Semester, 2007
Professors Lebbeus Woods, Kevin Bone, Mersiha Veledar, Christoph a. Kumpusch
The rectilinear grid, in many variants, is an organizing geometric figure in cities around the world. Manhattan is perhaps the most famous of these because the grid dominates its plan, but cities whose growth is as separated in culture and time as Barcelona and Beijing also employ it in their plans. It is fair to say that this type of grid, consisting of a street pattern forming rectilinear blocks for buildings, is a proto-urban condition, one that operates abstractly, that is, without particular reference to other cultural practices or traditions.
One important aspect of this condition is the street, which is straight in plan, intersected at right angles by regularly spaced streets, and defined vertically by the walls of buildings filling the blocks. This aspect of the urban grid was the focus of our work this semester. We explored the potential of street walls as sites for architecture and diverse programs for its inhabitation.
The work progressed in several stages:
1) the construction of a master model of a prototypical urban grid street condition (entire class)
2) the selection of sites on the street walls (each student)
3) the design of spaces and structures on, through, and between the individual sites (each student)
4) the completion of the master model with individual projects (each student, entire class)
As a preliminary exercise, students worked in pairs designing an interacting pair of projects on a chosen section of the given street walls.
The context of a community is crucial to creating a truly urban architecture. In this case, the community we were analyzing and designing for was our own, with its common interests and goals for architecture, but also with the differences of our highly individual interpretations. Through the course of the semester, students worked in groups on the master plan and model, and individually on their separate projects, weaving them together into a dense urban fabric through continual encounters and negotiations. The result is at the same time an analogy of the way actual cities work and a utopian vision of architecture.