Subjects, Forms and Performances of the Contemporary Hybrid

The OPENstudio Fall Term 2016 explores new ways of facing collective dwelling – in principle producing innovative modalities of public housing – to produce new urban prototypes. These urban prototypes will seek to contest the modernist approach, adapting it to the evolving contemporary socioeconomic and technological context through the lens of the legacy of historic alternative dwelling prototypes, from medieval times to nowadays.

The studio will develop a pedagogy whose methodological emphasis focuses on:

1. Questioning the clichés of modernist life through the identification of its techniques compared to the three main different traditions of the residential mixed use throughout history: the medieval monastery; the legacy established in the XIX century by romantic communal types linked with the XX century communist and socialist experiments – see the Familistère; and the capitalist vertical mixed use of the postmodernist American city.

2. Analyzing the implication of language, form and type in the construction of different subjectivities – what Michel Foucault would call “Technologies of the Self”, and recently Giorgio Agamben has extensively treated in “Altissima povertà. Regole monastiche e forma de vita” (The Highest Poverty. Monastic Rules and Form-of-life.)

3. Exploring the potential of mixed use residential prototypes to address social alternatives through a thermodynamic materialism that expands at different scales from micro to macro – material, element, unit, building scale, urban context -modifying the traditional order of the type, the design techniques inherent to it and its implicit social rules.

4. Using the unit and the overall scheme to question the actual conventions on organization and topology to produce a hybrid entity or conglomerate with a specific aesthetic quality –monster.

We will therefore be facing the OPENstudio under four complementary prisms – self and type, historic legacy, thermodynamic materialism and monster beauty.