Instructor: Tei Carpenter
Meeting Section: L0102
Tuesday, 9:00am - 1:00pm; Friday, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
In 1972, Emilio Ambasz, then Curator of Design at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, hosted a conference called “Institutions for a Post-Technological Society: The Universitas Project,” with a multidisciplinary group of participants with the aim, at least in its first stage, to establish an “experimental university” committed to problems of “environmental design” (Felicity Scott, Grey Room 14, 2004). Amongst other things, the conference evaluated the role of the architect within a postindustrial society and the human-made environment. Taking the Universitas Project as a starting point to reconsider the environment today—in the context of global warming and increasing extreme climate events—the studio challenges easy understandings of nature and sustainability by exploring an expanded definition of environment that includes shifting ideas of nature between the natural and artificial, and emerging definitions of third nature, new nature, fake nature, subnature, and hypernature.
In parallel, and to test these ideas, we will study educational models to inform the development of a design for a high school in New York City along the edge of Newtown Creek. The Creek, which runs into the East River, is 3-1/2 miles long and bridges the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. While first a wild then agricultural site, today Newtown Creek presents a unique urban condition of ecological transformation caused by human impact. Due to a history of heavy industrial activity including the Greenpoint Oil Spill, it was designated as a federal Superfund site in 2010. At the intersection of emerging natures, how can the design of a school—its own site of discovery—support exploration into alternative environments to generate new architectural forms, organizations and atmospheres?
The semester will include a site visit to New York City to meet with the Newtown Creek Alliance and visit relevant projects. Further details to be provided. Group work is encouraged but not required.