Translogic Studio: A Proto-Urban Vertical Monastery

For this Studio we will focus on typological transformation and archetypal hybridization, integration of design and technology, and the relationship between precedent, speculation, and invention in order to identify, produce, and develop a tectonically rich urban figure.  These assertions of focus will support a search for immanence in a place-specific atmospheric architecture,

In recent decades, new forms of monasticism have been developing, and can be generally characterized not only by reclusive reflection and prayer, but also by immersion in community life, social service, and ecological stewardship. Many of these new organizations have been locating in urban areas, but to date there has been no effort to typify a spatial organization for this emerging phenomenon. The studio provides the opportunity to develop an atypical urban monastic prototype, transforming the traditional rustic and horizontal monastery into a new form characterized by an urban location and formal and organizational verticality. This new monastic prototype is based in the writings and teachings of inter-spiritual modern-day monks, Brother Thomas Merton and Brother Wayne Teasdale.

Our monastic prototypes will be sited in Colonia Atlampa, a re-emerging neighborhood within a former industrial zone northwest of the historic center of Mexico City.  The monastery will contribute to the comprehensive regeneration of the Atlampa neighborhood, with human, social, economic, and cultural development.  We will travel to Mexico City for a week, visiting historical, cultural, architectural, and religious sites, including monasteries.  A master planning workshop for our site will be held in the offices of renowned Mexican architect Javier Sanchez, located in a renovated ice factory adjacent to our site.

Fundamentally, this studio aims to broaden our understanding of architectural space and typologies.  Through an examination of the fundamental values of architecture in space, light, and material, conceived as the setting for experiences, we will resist the limiting prejudices of a pictorial architecture manifested through overt transparency, shallowness, and structural legibility …the thin, fast and explicit.  The excessive transparency of modern architecture is so often saturated with light and overexposed. What is often far more inspiring are spaces where there is more darkness than light, more mystery than clarity – spaces that are thick, slow, and implicit. These tonal spaces unite the traditional and the modern through a preference for an emotive and sensual interiority where a relative absence of light invites us to linger, to experience the eternal, the atmospheric, the ambient.

Our ambition is to put forward a logic that opens the raw repressed power of architecture and the environment through a re-thinking and re-making of where we already are.  This translogic will function as the basis for your work, developed as a comprehensive, integrated system of inter-scalar relationships – sensual and sensible – with authenticity and integrity that do not rely on store-bought theories and conventional expectations.  Ultimately, we are motivated by the search for an architecture of use and beauty, deeply rooted to its place, sensitively responsive to its environment, constructed within a material culture with an emotive atmosphere and poetic qualities that affect us deeply…a SpiritForm Revival!

This course has an irregular schedule. Please see the course syllabus for details.