Repetition and Culture

Contemporary architecture is preoccupied with being interesting. What is interesting today can soon become tiresome. The character of cities has little to do with their monuments and is largely formed by repetitive, normal buildings. The Georgian and Victorian terraces of London, and the dense courtyard apartments of 19th century Barcelona. In American cities like New York a rich urban texture has been stretched to encompass a four storey townhouse in Greenwich Village as well as a 25 story terrace of warehouses in the garment district. An urbanity pervades these buildings, perhaps because these architectures engage with a concrete reality, solving the problems at hand, rather than dismissing them as boring in order to pursue empty aesthetic rhetoric.The poetry of these structures comes out of an engagement with everyday themes. The rooms of the interior, the structural bay, the material units of the fagade, each follows one after the other. This enjoyment of the limits and parameters of repetition was picked up by artists in the 1960\’s and 70\’s and continues to form a basis for the work of diverse artists like Bernd and Hilla Becher, Fischli and Weiss, and Rachel Whiteread. We will look at the work of these artists to see why they continue to be engaged by the epic and everyday aspects of reality.We will work on a site at the edges of downtown Manhattan, a location where new developments are stretching, but not breaking, the tectonic consensus of their urban quarters. Our project will be almost pure typology, a volume and an urban fagade, a structure that suggests inhabitation. We will study buildings by Louis Sullivan, Mies, SOM, and buildings whose authors are unknown. Paradigms of the American century where designs for office buildings, warehouses and factories drew content out of the technical and programmatic challenges of the project. These buildings are beautiful in many ways, in the assembly of their facades, in the relationship of structure to space planning, in the integration of services and interior ambiance. Their complexity is the opposite of an iconic one liner.Building by definition changes the reality of a site and is able to make manifest the network of existing and potential relationships in any situation. We will use architecture to understand the world around us. We will attempt to resist the prevailing attitude of anything goes, and reclaim beauty for architecture.Studio Schedulesept 14, 15, 16 -workshop: repetition and contemporary art-project introduction: reference drawings, fagade and framesept 29, 30-study trip: Louis Sullivan\’s Guarantee Building, Buffalooct 1, 2 -workshop: designing from the outside inoct 4, 5 -desk crits-Caruso St John lectureoct 19, 20, 21-desk critsnov 5 -mid term reviewsnov 6 -desk critsnov 17, 18, 19 -desk critsdec 1, 2, 3 -desk critsdec 16, 17 -final review