4.023
Architecture Design Studio I — The Double-Unity of Opposites

Prerequisites: 
4.022
Required of: 
BSA, Architecture minor
Preference Given to: 
Course 4 majors and minors

This semester, we will use the notion of “The Double”, taken from Dostoyevsky’s novel of the same name, as a device to help us design. “The Double” will be productive in allowing us to think about architecture as a medium that can embody frictions and oppositions. 

In his novel, “The Double” Dostoyevsky develops two characters in tandem, the protagonist Golyadkin, a social outcast, and his double, another man who is his opposite but also his namesake: Golyadkin Junior. The two characters become bitter enemies as the protagonist continuously encounters his double around St-Petersburg and develops a jealousy for his ease of social interaction. Throughout the novel, the identity of the double remains a mystery, sometimes hinting that the protagonist is suffering from schizophrenia and that the two Goliadkins are in fact one person, while at other times, the Golyadkins appear as very distinct entities. In the novel, the character split becomes a narrative device that allows Dostoyevsky to develop a complex character and offer a unique glimpse into his psychology as he vacillates between first and third person narration. 

Different fields of study offer diverse terminology to describe possible relationships between two entities. In biology, symbiosis, mutualism, parasitism, commensalism, as well as camouflage are examples of possible relationships between two organisms. From a mythological and psychological lens, this repertoire of doubles, and the mystery of sameness, could be expanded to include twin conditions, alter egos, and schizophrenia, etc. For this studio, the notion of the double will offer a way to describe and develop entangled relationships — finding individual identities that are inseparable from their duality — both between architectural neighbors and between architectural elements.

The goal of the studio will be to explore architecture as an artifact formed by embodied frictions – these frictions will come from collaborative work between students within the studio as well as from working to collage/mashup/marry disparate design concepts into a whole architectural proposition. In architectural terms, we will explore dialectical qualities mass/void, intimate/shared, public/private, inside/outside, artificial/natural, open/hidden, movement/static, light/dark, fast/slow, heavy/light, reflective/dull etc.