The Monument

"Monuments are human landmarks which men have created as symbols for their ideals, for their aims, and for their actions. They are intended to outlive the period which originated them, and constitute a heritage for future generations. As such, they form a link between the past and the future."
– J. L. Sert, F. Léger, S. Giedion, Nine Points on Monumentality, 1943

"Does it follow that the house has nothing in common with art and is architecture not to be included in the arts? Only a very small part of architecture belongs to art: the tomb and the monument. Everything else that fulfills a function is to be excluded from the domain of art."
– Adolf Loos, "Architektur", from Trotzdem 1900 – 1930 (Innsbruck: Brenner Verlag, 1931)

What is a monument today? Are monuments still being built? And if so, what meaning, program and form do they take on? The aim of our studio is to design a contemporary version of a monument in a time where the collective, the expression of the public sphere, or more politically speaking, the value of democracy are all called into question. In terms of design, the monument might be the most architectural project of all possible projects because it addresses the relationship between form and content in the most radical way. This means that the planned studio aims at exploring the fundamentals of architecture with the aspiration of combining historical knowledge with contemporary critical thinking.

The assignment first consists of developing a scenario for a monument based on recent history. Each student will choose an event from newspaper headlines of the last six months. This is one of the most daring and demanding parts of the exercise: what do we consider relevant enough to be remembered and translated into permanent architectural form? Remembrance and transmission thus become the central ideas of the project. The design of the project will then be guided by working with typological precedents. Our design method uses the collage as the creative starting point of the design process. The site for the monument is free. Each student chooses the appropriate site depending on the project. The tentatively planned study trip will lead us to Rome, the city of monuments par excellence.

Emanuel Christ will be in residence on August 28 and 29, September 13, 14, October 12, 13, 26 and 27, and December 6, 7, or 8.

Christoph Gantenbein will be in residence on September 13 and 14, October 26 and 27, November 9, 10, 20 and 21, and December 6, 7, or 8.

The instructor will also be available on the morning of studio days to account for “off-week” missed time.

Click here for trip/travel information related to this studio. If this studio does not include a trip then the instructors will be in residence an additional week during the term.