The Catalytic Landscape: Body, Culture, and the Visual Environment

CATALYST, or its original Greek word CATALYSIS contains an ambiguity essential to the position of this studio. In chemistry, the word catalyst alludes to an inducing substance that causes or accelerates a reaction, yet its original usage meant dissolution and destruction. By combining these meanings, the word may be used to describe an intervention whose effects extend beyond its own corporeal, immediate boundary.

We are interested in the catalytic potential of intensive landscape interventions on existing small-scale sites as mechanisms for precipitating comprehensive change, whether of an individual, cultural, or urban nature. In other words, this studio embraces an “anti-masterplanning” approach to the design and regeneration of cities. Rather than starting at a large scale and working down, we begin with the individual, because ecology can be fundamentally considered a question of personal values, aesthetics, and experience. More specifically, we seek a focused engagement capable of transforming the immediate realm AS FOUND—a realm being defined as the individual, experiential body as well as our local, visceral environment.

The questions posed by working and thinking at the scale of the human body are such: What is the role and relationship of the BODY to the CITY? And, HOW and WHY can human-scaled installations help instigate large-scale change?

Andre Zientek will serve as studio assistant.
Course Schedule: Wednesday / Thursday 2:00 – 6:00 pm (plus additional dates below)
M**12thMSDesk Crits
T**13thMS, AHDesk Crits
M**19thMS, AZPre-Final Review – Dry Run
T**20thMS, AHDesk Crits
M**26thMSDesk Crist
T**27thMS, AHDesk Crits
M**3rdMSDesk Crits
T**4thMS, AHDesk Crits
**Irregular dates: if students have course conflicts, they can schedule individual desk crit time with Martha and/or meet with Andrea on W/Th