GSD Course Bulletin - Fall 2012

This term's information was last refreshed on 12 MAY 2015 14:54:06.

Courses taught by Christopher Lee

01406: Common Frameworks: Rethinking the Developmental City (STU 0140600)

Landscape Architecture
Option Studio - 8 credits - Limited enrollment
This course has an IRREGULAR meeting schedule. Please see full course description.
Thursday Friday 2:00 - 6:00  

Instructor(s)
Christopher Lee

Course Description

This studio works typologically. It approaches the problem of the city through the investigation and redefinition of its persistent architectures - its dominant types. Any attempt to define type is an attempt to define what is typical; and what is most typical is common to all. As such, type lends itself as an effective heuristic device to locate commonalities. This search for what is common in architecture is not to locate formal or tectonic similitude, but a search for what is the idea that can be commonly held so as to invest architecture with a social and political role.

As the first of a three-year long sponsored research on China, the studio will begin with the city of Xiamen, followed by Macao and Shenyang. The premise of this investigation rests on the rethinking of the developmental city, defined as the city conceived and constructed through mega-plots, and used primarily as a developmental tool, instigated primarily by speculative capital. The urbanization of these mega-plots result in the dissolution of the city as a legible artifact, bereft of a civic dimension and public sphere. This dissolution into a sea of enclave urbanism does not constitute the idea of the city; either in the European tradition as a space of partnership or coexistence, or in the Chinese sense, where the city is a seen as an accommodative framework with a clear and legible deep structure that regulates its spaces and social structure. Therefore, the task for the studio is to conceive of and design a common framework for the city, accommodating housing, nature and another associative civic functions.

Besides their present developmental nature, these cities are chosen precisely for their propensity towards an accommodative urbanism due to their position on the frontier of Chinese territory. The history of these cities demonstrates a high degree of pliability that engendered an inclusive plurality prior to the rapid urbanization of recent years. Xiamen, as an island city, grew through the infusion of colonial settlements, overseas Chinese investment and its strategic proximity to Taiwan. The conjecture of this studio is that the ability of these cities to be accommodative can be found in the very nature of the city as a common framework. Thus these cities offer the possibility to re-conceive the developmental city as a space of cooperation and partnership - the idea of the city as a common space par excellence.

The studio will travel to Xiamen and Shanghai in September 2012. The historical and theoretical underpinnings of this studio will be offered by Course 09123: The Fourth Typology. The outcome of the option studio and course seminars will be subject to a publication.

Teaching Associate: Simon Whittle
Course Schedule:
Thursday / Friday 2:00 - 6:00 pm

Christopher Lee will be present on the following dates:
August 30, 31
September 06, 07, 13, 14
September 20-28: Studio trip to Xiamen and Shanghai
October 04, 05, 18, 19
November 01, 02, 15, 16, 29, 30
December 01, 02, 06, 07
 
 
 


GSD iCommons Website


01506: Common Frameworks: Rethinking the Developmental City (STU 0150600)

Urban Planning and Design
Option Studio - 8 credits - Limited enrollment
This course has an IRREGULAR meeting schedule. Please see full course description.
Thursday Friday 2:00 - 6:00  

Instructor(s)
Christopher Lee

Course Description

This studio works typologically. It approaches the problem of the city through the investigation and redefinition of its persistent architectures—its dominant types. Any attempt to define type is an attempt to define what is typical; and what is most typical is common to all. As such, type lends itself as an effective heuristic device to locate commonalities. This search for what is common in architecture is not to locate formal or tectonic similitude, but a search for what is the idea that can be commonly held so as to invest architecture with a social and political role.
 
As the first of a three-year long sponsored research on China, the studio will begin with the city of Xiamen, followed by Macao and Shenyang. The premise of this investigation rests on the rethinking of the developmental city, defined as the city conceived and constructed through mega-plots, and used primarily as a developmental tool, instigated primarily by speculative capital. The urbanization of these mega-plots result in the dissolution of the city as a legible artifact, bereft of a civic dimension and public sphere. This dissolution into a sea of enclave urbanism does not constitute the idea of the city; either in the European tradition as a space of partnership or coexistence, or in the Chinese sense, where the city is a seen as an accommodative framework with a clear and legible deep structure that regulates its spaces and social structure. Therefore, the task for the studio is to conceive of and design a common framework for the city, accommodating housing, nature and another associative civic functions.
 
Besides their present developmental nature, these cities are chosen precisely for their propensity towards an accommodative urbanism due to their position on the frontier of Chinese territory. The history of these cities demonstrates a high degree of pliability that engendered an inclusive plurality prior to the rapid urbanization of recent years. Xiamen, as an island city, grew through the infusion of colonial settlements, overseas Chinese investment and its strategic proximity to Taiwan. The conjecture of this studio is that the ability of these cities to be accommodative can be found in the very nature of the city as a common framework. Thus these cities offer the possibility to re-conceive the developmental city as a space of cooperation and partnership—the idea of the city as a common space par excellence.
 
The studio will travel to Xiamen and Shanghai in October, 2012. The historical and theoretical underpinnings of this studio will be offered by Course 09123: The Fourth Typology. The outcome of the studio option and course seminars will be subject to a publication.

Teaching Associate: Simon Whittle
Course Schedule:
Thursday / Friday 2:00 - 6:00 pm

Christopher Lee will be present on the following dates:
August 30, 31
September 06, 07, 13, 14
September 20-28: Studio trip to Xiamen and Shanghai
October 04, 05, 18, 19
November 01, 02, 15, 16, 29, 30
December 01, 02, 06, 07
 
 


GSD iCommons Website


09123: The Fourth Typology: Dominant Type and the Idea of the City (ADV 0912300)

Landscape Architecture
Seminar - 4 credits - Limited enrollment
This course has an IRREGULAR meeting schedule. Please see full course description.
Wednesday 1:00 - 6:00   40 Kirkland 1C

Instructor(s)
Christopher Lee

Course Description

Open to all students, the seminars of this course will compliment Studio option 1602: Common Frameworks. It will provide the theoretical and historical basis, and serves as a platform for a three-year theoretical research on the developmental cities in China. Taking Anthony Vidler’s Third Typology as a starting point, the seminar proposes the fourth typology as a common framework for the production of an architecture of the city in today’s globalized context. Unlike the first three typologies that found their justification for sociality from nature, the machine and the historical city respectively; the fourth typology is rooted in the developmental city.
 
The first half of the seminar will begin with the understanding of type from Quatremère de Quincy and J.N.L Durand through the dialectics of idea and model. This renewed understanding of type and typology will offer an alternative reading of the writings and projects of Aldo Rossi and Rem Koolhaas as attempts to revalidate architecture’s societal and political role through the redefinition of the idea of the city. This idea of the city will be discussed through Aristotle’s polis, Schmitt’s homogenous demos, Mouffe’s agonistic pluralism, Rossi’s ‘collective memory’, Agamben’s ‘dispositif’ and Koolhaas’ ‘heterogeneous containments’.
 
The second half of the seminar will be theoretically projective. It will begin with an attempt to trace the emergence of the developmental city in China and its apparatus, the mega-plot. This will be underpinned by the theories offered in the first half of the seminar and further complimented by guest seminars. These will include, 1. the history of urban governance in China through its danwei system, 2. a brief history of the mega-plot, 3. the history of Chinese urban tradition and the theoretical basis for city making in China, 4. the possibility to formulate a different understanding of ‘criticality’ from a Chinese philosophical tradition that favours efficacious propensities, and 5. the economic basis for the conception, construction and sustenance of the public sphere in cities.
 
Seminars will take place every other Wednesday, 13.00 - 18.00:
September 05,12
October 03, 17, 31
November 14
 
 


GSD iCommons Website


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