Cedric Price spent most of his career designing, promoting and building his most famous work known as The Fun Palace. Even though the project was never quite realized as he imagined, it significantly influenced the field unlike any other single project in the recent history of architecture. Ironically, for most of his contemporary colleagues, it wasn’t architecture at all. A three-dimensional structural grid constructed in a form of a giant machine, resembling a factory that was in constant flux, with its moving objects, theaters, screens, loudspeakers and entire audiences enclosed within the grid. Fun Palace was possibly the first interactive, habitant responsive, cybernetic structure leaving a lasting influence on various architects, from Archigram, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers to Rem Kohlhaas and Bernard Tschumi.
Students will investigate the concept of fun and leisure in contemporary society and will develop a “Fun Theory” as a basis for the design of their own “Fun Palace II.” Students will develop design strategies and goals based on their Fun Theory, develop a program/function/reason as a group or individually (team work is encouraged), and design a project on one, two or all three sites given. Projects will be located in Abu Dhabi, Bangkok and Moscow, and students will define their own locations within these cities.
The project is not an amusement park, it is not a museum, it is not an exhibition pavilion, it is not a concert hall, it is not a night club, it is not a spa, it is not a brothel, it is not a gym or sport center, it is not a theater, but maybe it is all of these things combined. You decide.
The educational goal is based on the understanding that advanced students should be exposed to taking responsibility for the complex task of the decision making processes in the development of architectural design, starting from taking an architectural (cultural) position, to siting, to programming and design. The reexamining and questioning of the status quo of all those decisions and their “conventional” applications is a fundamental principal of this studio. The cultural understanding of leisure, fun and entertainment will be examined as a starting point for a critique of our preconceived notions of social interaction as well as assumptions about one of the most important and possibly most misunderstood human needs, emotions and experiences.
Tom Leeser’s studio will meet on an irregular schedule. This studio will meet weekly on Tuesdays. Students may wish to avoid electives on Tuesday mornings. However, additional crits outside of studio hours will be arranged by instructor if needed.