This is a studio about architectural masterpieces, or in German, Gesamtkunstwerk – “total work(s) of art”.
It examines problems of determinacy, autonomy and authorship implicit in the notion of the masterpiece, and will explore the paradox of extending, altering or adapting a “complete work.”
This studio reflects a renewed interest in the lives of buildings after the ‘perfect’ moment of completion.
In this studio, the context is the canonical building.
Students will select an architectural masterpiece to analyze, and will develop a critical reading of its functional performance, and its formal, spatial, programmatic, and ornamental operations.
In response to these critical readings, students will develop a return brief, and drawing on their analysis, a set of operations to inform an architectural proposition in dialogue with the case study building.
The nature of the proposition could include but is not limited to large scale, tangible civic extensions; a new building or collection of buildings on the site of the masterpiece; a series of strategic alterations or interventions.
Alternatively students may choose to develop a polemical provocation, in which the iconography of the masterpiece is interrogated. It might be edited, divided, multiplied, subtracted, duplicated, hybridized, decontextualized, deconstructed or reappropriated in order to reveal a critical reading.
Propositions will necessarily consider their own capacity to adapt and change over time.
Gesamtkunstwerk Jacqui Alexander Tuesdays 1-5pm Image Credit: Xavier Delory