This studio continues the investigation of architectural consequences arising from the dismantlement of Confederate monuments presently under way in numerous cities across the United States. The iconoclastic treatment of symbols rooted in the country’s legacy of racism will be understood as a destructive act of reckoning and transformation. The ultimate aim will be to design a public space and a building in which the act of de-memorialization simultaneously produces another program.
During the first two weeks, the students will explore strategies of intervention in three of the seventy selected cities in which a monument was recently shrouded or removed or in which there exists today an imperative to undertake a removal . After a rigorous critical assessment of three initial sketches, each student will proceed to select a city/site in which to develop one project.
The students will produce multiple conceptual designs or variations for altering existing buildings and adding new ones near the site of the removed monument. The scale, scope and functions of the urban building proposal and site model will be determined differently for each case. The urban ensemble may be designed with the intention to embed a negative space within or partially below it, underground. The urban composition and its programs will do many things, among which is to establish expectations in order that the negative or hidden space containing the displaced and desecrated monument, as well as the sequence into it, will be perceived to be anti-monumental, an affect that will be achieved by means of carefully crafted architectural concepts of concealment or delay.
Be aware that, in order to undertake this project, you will need to be intensely interested in certain familiar architectural conventions that can be deconstructed or re-articulated. Whether unified or conjoined but somehow still independent of one another, the urban and interior forms and spaces will unmistakably avoid the usual contemporary tropes by which architecture calls attention to itself or becomes symbolically affirmative.
The design of the hidden space and its newly configured urban context will be a decisive factor in determining the specific iconoclastic treatment of the found monument and its original site. In dealing with the monument itself, we will draw on research by Daniel Sherer (Architectural History, Princeton SOA), in order to investigate four paradigms of desecration: total destruction (pulverization) in which unrecognizable remains are nevertheless preserved; decapitation or gouging out of facial features, especially the eyes as a re-thematization of vision; breaking apart or dismemberment; partial removal and substitution of bodily or architectural parts to produce a re-signification; or a combination of all of the above.
Students will document their chosen sites and monuments in multiple media, all obtained on line, and will 3D Rhino model both the massing and key architectural features of the context. Multiple conceptual schemes will be studied in 3D and, in addition, by means of evocative drawings, montages and renderings. The final proposal will be carefully and succinctly documented in plan/section drawings and in a well articulated 3D model that will be supplemented by a few strategically selected still images and, in some cases, by animations.