Buenos Aires, Argentina

The National Archives of Argentina (NAA Studio # 1)General considerations in preparation for the Lottery.1.) This studio (NAA Studio # 1) will produce alternative design concepts and designs for the new building of the National Archives of Argentina. 2.) It will run concurrently and in a coordinated manner with \”NAA Studio # 2\” which is an Urban Design studio taught by Prof. Rodolfo Machado, which, in turn, will explore larger urban design alternatives of the site assigned for the new NAA building.3.) These studios are based on a real demand, site, and program that the National Archives of Argentina and the Corporacion del Sur (and urban development agency of the city) have approved for implementation. They have asked the GSD to provide an initial trial of ideas in the form of the current studios prior to the launching of its design and building campaigns.4.) Construction of archives of the dimensional scale as that proposed for the new NAA headquarters imply a substantial impact in the urban and social fabric of the surrounding areas and of the city. Both studios will be interested in exploring different hypotheses regarding such impact.5.) Archives such as the NAA can be seen as the third member of a trilogy of institutions existent in all western societies and which are devoted to the storage, conservation and exhibition of artifacts and materials of historical, artistic and scientific values. Namely, they are museums, libraries and archives. It is in that order, with the archives as a distant third, that these institutions have altered their nature in the last decades, moved away from their traditional models, and displayed dramatic changes. They have evolved from being the peaceful, relaxed, and exclusive domains of connoisseurs and scholars into the vibrant, dynamic, and popular environment of continuous massive public use. As with many public institutions today, technology, tourism, entertainment, and retail have transformed these once peaceful repositories of knowledge, beauty, and pleasure into urban entities characterized more by their outreach activities and the permeability of its boundaries. The spaces for solitary experience of individual communion with knowledge and aesthetic pleasure has given way to the stages for veritable daily public carnivals. While, as stated, archives have rarely shared the extent of these transformations which have entirely remade museums and which seem to have already affected libraries in such ways, the same tendency is apparent in the programmatic aspirations of current thinking about archives. Thus the opportunity presents itself to look, from a very near \”outside\” vantagepoint, at the phenomena that has remade, for better or worse, archives\' sibling institutions. The studio takes the initial position that it is \”for better AND for worse\” that such changes have occurred and plans to take advantage of the tardiness in catching up with this trend to effect a critical assessment of the culture of outreach, entertainment, and retail that has overtaken urban institutions. From the conceptual perspective, the task will be to rethink the archives, while designing them as an institution that indeed can positively become both massive and at the same time retain a unique character.6.) We will devote the first two weeks of the semester to study similar, analogous or just useful case studies of buildings that would help us generate knowledge, concepts, and critical stands about our particular problem. At the end of these two weeks we will present our findings as well as our thoughts in reviews, and we will join NAA Studio # 2 for a review of their analysis and initial proposals for the site.7.) The studio is exclusively architectural. This attribute is underlined by the clear articulation and division of the subject matter into two different studios: one at the urban design level (NAA S