Borrominations, or the Auratic Dome

Thousands of lives sharing their lack of reciprocity and involvement under a single roof: this seems to be the way in which public space functions today. The ancient notion of people rapidly looses its meaning in favor of that of networks, and the modern notion of crowd has lost all its former heroic effervescence and the qualitative power of quantity. Absolute communication indiscriminately raises individuals to the position of potential celebrities, in the middle of the ubiquitous indifference in which social networks are flooding both the subject and the collective. Both praised and displaced, millions perform subtle variations of the same, as if doing something particular, personal, and irreducible. The masses have simultaneously lost historical significance and at the same time have opened up to new forms of what constitutes the public. In this context, architecture can take two roads: to follow the loss of political power and aesthetic relevance by means of becoming ornamental and celebratory, or to construct new versions of the public where singular conditions can be built from within and out of the ordinary, the apathetic, and the simply coexistent. Contemporary architecture is faced nowadays with the challenge of turning indifference into a new form of aura, in this case, of traditions yet-to-come, by engaging its archaic power of congregation at a radically new, non-sacred level.

The Studio takes on this challenge by engaging architectures whose elusive and poignant sensibility, often regarded as capricious, delirious, ignorant, or plainly malignant, were able to construct forms of aura that could project themselves to the future and persist in time. Borrominations will explore the potentials of the work of Francesco Borromini, 1599-1667, at San Carlo alle Quatro Fontane, Rome, 1634-1682, with the purpose of using its formal and organizational machinery -complex spatial totalities constructed as if they were indivisible figures- as series of primitives for further differentiation. San Carlino will be adopted as a model and differentiated in order to imagine new forms of public space: fully enveloped exteriorities, abstract forms of nature, vast urban interiors, immersive spatial fields, miniaturized theme parks, immersive artificial landscapes, sky lobbies and atriums, vertiginously deep spaces, and fleet-in-being experiences, \’where the city itself will be held in a state of suspended animation\’, and where the contemporary collective will, at the same time, engender and be subject to new forms of architectural aura.

The studio will meet on alternate weeks on Tues, Wed and Thurs. Tues and Thurs are the official studio days.