Architecture Design Option Studio — The Athletic Club (Barrozzi/Staback)

4.145 or 4.153
Mandatory lottery process
Open only to: 
Required of: 

Typology and morphology represent two endpoints between which architecture moves.  They are opposed conditions that architecture has to deal with.

Architecture is a response to the context, to the physical and climatic conditions of a place. A project should adapt to an environment, to a material condition, to an ambiance, to an atmosphere. It is at the very end a necessary response to a very specific condition. Although architecture is a discipline, it has conformed its own history and it has generated a constellation of typologies that has been conformed in response to a variety of program necessities. A type is the result of a progressive refinement of a programmatic and constructive condition and it often establishes a base for future transformations.

The history of architecture shows how the prevalence of a typological or morphological approach into the design process has marked the architecture production. We believe that the narrative of a project should find a balance between these two opposed conditions: between the specific condition of a place and the autonomous typological nature of forms.

The goal of this studio is to design a contemporary athletic club in Chicago. Students will be faced with the challenge of discovering how to improve this almost classical American typology and how to reconceptualize it for a more contemporary use.

The Club building was reinvented in America in the beginning of the XXth century. This new institution combined the traditional social rooms present in European clubs with a complete new set of spaces and programs. Spaces for culture, leisure, opulence, sport and seclusion were fused in the same building. 

By doing so, it truly became a social condenser. The studio proposes to the take over the typology of the club and adapt it to the present conditions of the city of Chicago.  Students will investigate how the conflict between “ideal” typologies opposed to specific sites of intervention could be leveraged to reinvent the typology, preserving the uniqueness of place.