Fall 2018, Arch 100C – Out the Window
This studio investigates the potential of an architectural element—the window—as a catalyst in creating a relevant contemporary model for large-scale housing in Oakland. The hypothesis of the studio is that the city is primarily read and experienced in what Benjamin calls the “space between the building fronts” and that the window as analyzed from both sides can be used as a device to generate new relationships between urban form, boundary, public space, flexibility, density, and legibility.
Adam Caruso states that “the whole of the 20th century did not succeed in developing the idea of the city.” While proponents of modernist utopias or New Urbanist landscapes may disagree, the real question he raises is what then is the idea of the city in the 21st century? If this studio takes the side in the debate about façade as a primary conveyor of meaning vs simply a divider of space, we can ask how can a relevant model for the contemporary city use the façade as a generator of legibility, meaning, and spatial consequence that is not just decoration and/or performance? How can the window take part in shaping the idea of the city?