Porches, Portals and Passageways [M2]

This studio will be the second in a series that explores the potential of a small scale municipal building to engage the urban and social fabric of the city. In this time of radical societal change, with significant pressure on issues of health equity, the studio intends to explore new environments and contemporary realities activated by our enduring need to seek out the communal and aspire towards a more generous and sustained civic realm. We will be designing a 50,000 square foot community wellness center in South Central Los Angeles, within the Lynwood Civic Center. 

The studio will focus on the elements of architecture as a premise for making buildings. We will begin our studio module through examining building precedents – distinct spaces of movement and connection including architectural elements and thresholds such as stairs, ramps, landings, vestibules, windows, and doorways – without traditional programmatic function yet which are essential to the experience of architecture. These zones often inspire discovery and sense of wonder about the interrelatedness of spaces and atmospheres. We will speculate on how the architectural specificity of these elements can offer us new ways to relate to our built environment and blur the boundaries of formal development and social inhabitation. We will unpack the historic evolution from the compartmentalization of rooms towards the universality of accessibility in architecture. If historically thoroughfares drew disparate rooms closer by disengaging with those closer at hand through the hall and the doorway, we will be examining how a focus on architecture of connectivity and visibility can offer a new model of dynamic equilibrium linking the room to the promenade.

Matters of wellness have become increasing urgent societal issues, and we will discuss historical projects where matters of health were central to their conception, from the home to the sanatorium. Our focus on sustainability and resilience will be directed towards passive atmospheric conditions of daylight, ventilation, and porosity from inside to outside which are central to the climate of Southern California. We will be joined by experts from these fields for studio discussions throughout the term.

Our site is within Lynwood Park, currently occupied by natatorium that is slated for redevelopment and is integrated through the park to a middle school, a community center, and the city hall. Student projects will be developed with individual responses to the problem; our results will be viewed together as collective knowledge and an inventory of strategies. We will commence with precedent study and building design at the outset of the studio to optimize our seven week module. Participation in weekly studio meetings, readings, and collective documentation will be the basis of evaluation. All deliverables in the studio will be drawing based with no specific additional productions costs anticipated to complete the course. Any special accommodations for Zoom sessions can be made prior to specific studio meetings.

GSD students may view additional information on option studios:
Option Studio Presentations
Schedule for Zoom Q&A sessions