Pure form

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Just Imagine

Unconscious City

SheppardSamanthaFinalProject01

Just Imagine

This architecture elective course examines the background and content of relevant interventions, of big projects, of mega-plans, of big ideas and utopias throughout history, to reimagine city content and development. Through the production of a ‘book’, an encyclopedic storage, by anthology, a vision of mobility and infra, public and private endeavors, density and encounters, a contemporary vision of how the ‘human’ will live life will be developed. Students will be challenged to do their research and find projects that will be included on the ‘encyclopedic storage’. The research is focused on densified high and/or low-rise buildings with hybrid programs which include a housing element. Following an extensive cataloging of existing precedents, an encyclopedic ‘agenda’ will be developed that tells the story of a further potential for vertical stacking and the contemporary possibility of introducing horizontal movement. Through this research, an urban prototype allowing for the flexibility of social, commercial, and environmental requirements of the neighborhood will develop new models of urbanity, integration, accessibility, and atmosphere.

 

Architecture, through time, has functioned solely as an instrument for those in power to maintain and display that influence to greater society. That is potentially a harsh view of architecture, sure, but in what capacity has architecture ever existed without the hand of some vernacular god making it so? If we take architecture simply as the creation of dwellings, and those dwellings collectively as cities, then you could argue that architecture is not only a move for influence. But as we define and understand architecture now, it is not simply the creation of any dwelling. We do not call suburban houses architecture, or the tin buildings or barns found throughout countrysides. Potentially they are architecture, that is highly dependent on who you ask, but collectively along the way, the idea of all forms of shelter being an architecture has been let go. Instead we only regard certain buildings as architecture, both of current times and of the past. And those buildings that we now regard as true feats of architecture, they are what makes up the idea of architecture of the influencer. Currently, there seems to be a distinct need to establish the differences of architecture for society versus architecture for the powerful, or even worse, architecture for architects. I do not think this is anything new. Potentially architecture for architects is a relatively new emergence with the profession, but architecture for the powerful is a thing of ancient practice. Perhaps that is simply how it must be, as a asset of our world, a luxury of our world, true architecture is possibly just unreachable for those without the mobility to access it. 

Or perhaps even, architecture is a luxury for only those who can understand and appreciate it. I believe that both of these opinions present an incredibly foolish understanding and expectation for architecture. But, historically, they seem to be true. Throughout time, architecture has most notably acted as a device for commanding, asserting and maintaining power. Through these projects I plan to push towards a better understanding of how architecture has been used as a mechanism of power through means of collectivism religion, a greater good, brute force, fear, isolation, ornamentation, economy, and surely other means as well. The projects span from the earliest moments of human invention of civilization to more recent moments of larger collective plans for our societies. Little has changed though. The source of power, the purpose of the power, the state of the world around these projects may change, but they each still exist and establish themselves as an architectural machine used for commanding attention and maintaining an influence. Each project, however big or small, acts as an ideal city in the moment it was imagined. To consider them as simply an architecture would lead to a misrepresentation of the project itself. As their own cities, they can be analyzed by the societies they represent, the people (both powerful and insignificant) who occupy them, the decisions that bring them to fruition, and in some cases, the forces that bring about their demise. 

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