The Cooper Union School of Architecture
Spring Semester, 2011
Professors Guido Zuliani, Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa, Mersiha Veledar
The City, as architecture, is the form that the mutual relations between all its parts assume at a certain moment in time, In this sense, the City cannot be understood as the simple accumulation of discrete artifacts and singular events, but as the articulated ensemble of the relations that each establishes with the others and with the whole. The City emerges therefore as the result of the relations continuously constructed between, for instance, public spaces and private dwellings, systems of infrastructures and single institutions, between implementation of mobility and permanent features ordering urban life. Among all, the relations between the imagery of nature and the production of the built environment and the ones between the specificity of a locus and the general character of the concepts that constitute a discipline hold a particular place within the practice of architecture.
Based on this premise, the Design IV spring semester studio focuses primarily on the definition and investigation of the relations that an urban site and the forms of its description, to the process of delineation of the architectural intervention. The exercise begins with the exploration of two topical conditions summarized by the two concepts of City of Ground and City of Sky. The aim is the understanding of the particular nature of these primary contexts in an urban setting and the definition of paradigmatic architectural representations able to reference the principles of future interventions.
For the design phase, a frame of 260 by 520 is assumed to delimit the site for the intervention. The minor north-south axis is positioned on the axis defined by the eastern wall of Central Park and the built side of 5th Avenue, A specific site is then chosen by each student along the eastern edge of Central Park.
In the development of the design, the site is assumed to be an intrinsic component of the project. Its identity is constructed, and the represented by means of drawings and models, in terms of the dialectic between its autonomous finite configuration determined by the imposition of th 260 by 520 frame onto the city fabric, and the identities that the individual elements of the morphology of the framed site are to acquire when considered within the topological field of latent relations at a large scale.
The site configurations emerging from such a dialectic, to all intents and purposes already morphological and conceptual elements of the project, constitute the concrete figurative environment to which the design will respond and within which it will take shape.
The strict figurative integration and conceptual continuity between site and intervention directs the programmatic concern of the project toward the definition of an urban public institution, where its public nature should reverberate with the nature of Central Park understood a public building and with the public space of the promenade along its perimeter.