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Research Studio (ARC3020)

2020

Usual Suspects (ARC3020), a thesis-prep research studio taught by Filipe Magalhaes, Ahmed Belkhodja, and Ana Luisa Soares, looked at a phenomenon at once familiar and remote.

After the tragedies of the Second World War, Japan entered a period of profound social and physical reconstruction. Under the shadow of the Metabolist movement and its utopianism, another movement emerged, without a name. In the early 1960s, Kazuo Shinohara, a mathematician turned architect, decided to focus on the commissions the big figures of the previous generation disregarded. Famously, he stated, "the house is a work of art." Or, in other words: "House design is separate and distinct from the domain known as architecture."

In a moment of extreme demand for housing, this disciplinary declaration of war landed with perfect timing, and opened a field for a generation of young architects. The house became a fertile laboratory: different approaches, priorities, and rhetorics could be explored with no other limits than the humility of a domestic brief. Houses like temples, houses like dice, houses like spaceships, houses like houses.

Students looked at early publications of 250 houses conceived by architects of this generation, all built between 1962 and 1992. They attended guest lectures and discussions with various experts on these works, and built a common archive through drawings, readings, and further discussions. The studio tried to measure what was tying together this constellation of architectures, as well as what can be learned from it by architects of today. The outcome of the semester was a series of "curatorial statements" — personal readings of the contents of the archive.

A selection of student work is below.

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Liam Thornewell (Hasegawa-Higashitamagawa).

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Tzvete-Lina Kostoff (Tominaga-Odawara).

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Rahul Sehijpaul (Murofushi-Seijo).

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Liam Thornewell (Takasuka-Miyakejima).

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Bess Ma (Noda-Hoshikei).

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Xiang Ye (Yamashita-Tsuji).

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Liam Thornewell (Shinohara-Hanegi).

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Bess Ma (Yoshida-Ladybird).