The practice of architecture fundamentally asks us to continuously engage with, and re-conceptualize, the world for which we are designing. As such, architecture as a discipline is not only about designing buildings, but also about challenging us to imagine new ways of seeing the world. This studio takes on the challenge through a series of design exercises focused on understanding, engaging with, and reimaging the urban condition. Throughout the course, we will approach architectural design as both a method of producing urban environments, and also as an avenue through which to understand our cities. We will be directly confronting the social, political, and environmental contexts that are necessarily implicated in any design process.
Both studios in the Architecture Studies Track (Transformations HAA 96A and Connections HAA 96B) explore architectural means and methods of design. Each begins from a different scale of inquiry, but converges towards a similar end. This studio originates at the scale of the urban site, and begins with a set of design research assignments that ask students to imagine the city from the perspective of a non-human agent. Extrapolating abstract principles from these agents, we will be mobilizing the possibilities of architectural representation to reimagine the city through mapping, diagraming, and collage.
The studio culminates in a design proposal for a site in Harvard Square. Students will be given an architectural brief, and will produce projects that address existing site conditions, programmatic space requirements, and projected users of the site. Technical workshops will provide all the necessary skills required for the course, and will allow students to develop aptitude in architectural drawing, mapping, rendering, and simple animation. No existing expertise or technical proficiency is necessary for this course. Students from all backgrounds are welcome; we will be encouraging interdisciplinary thinking throughout the design research process.