4.154
Architecture Design Option Studio — Utopic and Crisis Forms (Daniels)

Prerequisites: 
4.153
Enrollment: 
Mandatory lottery process
Required of: 
MArch

CONFLICT AND CRISIS CULTURE

The twenty-first century has been defined by system-wide transformations and volatility in the form of environmental, economic, technological and sociopolitical crises. The ubiquity of digital media has heightened the global experience of the seriality of catastrophic events that increasingly reflect the multi-scalar interconnections between ecologies, nations and individuals. We see traces of this in the COVID-19 pandemic, continued civil rights struggles and social unrest, the global and local effects of climate change and cyclical catastrophic natural events, and, in globalizing capital and technologies and regressive political movements. Viewed as reflections of the current Anthropocene, the schisms of human domination and the paradigm of human dominion over nature, life-forms, and each other are exposed. Many see in this, the need for alternative approaches, and more fundamentally, for paradigm shifts.

As warnings or outcomes of conflict that foreshadow catastrophe, crises are negatively viewed as departures from normal conditions. However, as the distance between cataclysmic global events has appeared to compress, one might ask if "crisis" itself has become a paradigm, and, transition and instability the baseline from which to measure. Given this, what new tools are needed to reflect and reimagine the ordering of materials, spaces and life-forms moving forward? The studio framework positions us in the eye of this storm (where it is calm), and offers the exploration of past visionary and critical architectural and urban precedents for the projection of new models for dwelling in the present and future city.

The studio will critically analyze and draw inspiration from architects that sought to re-envision society through visionary projects in response to historic social crises. Given _____, what if ________? Students are encouraged to work from this question, first backwards from the “what if ________?” of the project that is analyzed to understand what was “Given _____” then in order to understand the underpinnings of the design. 

Mandatory lottery process.