Course Syllabus


One Rock, Five Obstructions

New Affiliates: Ivi Diamantopoulou ( / Jaffer Kolb (

Walk across New York City and you’ll see it again and again: in pavers from Stone Street to George Washington Bridge, ornate surfaces enveloping the American Museum of Natural History and Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum, ground cover at the Seagram Building and base of the Statue of Liberty, monuments like the Memorial Arch at Grand Army Plaza, tombstones and dedication plaques and a 3,500 year old obelisk housed in Central Park. And as soon as you are home, chances are you’ll see it again, punctuating your kitchen and bathroom, in various products, at arm’s reach. 

Granite is as ubiquitous as it is diverse, in its many uses; as rigid as it is significatory. We’re compelled to look at its many instances at the infrastructural, the iconic, and the inglorious all together. We might see in this collection a material story that is driven by local supply, shifting demand and evolving labor practices. In it, we might begin to understand materiality as a property that is relational—tied as much to context and culture as to image, pattern, weight and durability. 

This studio investigates the material implications of granite as a social, cultural and historical system at large, and as a building block of New York City. We’ll look closely at Penn Station—a site perpetually adapting (or failing to adapt) to the city’s civic, cultural, and transportation needs, from the original (all-granite!) station, to the nearly invisible underbelly of Madison Square Garden, to the recently completed Moynihan Train Hall expansion into the (also granite!) James A. Farley Building across the street. 

In the context of Penn Station, we will consider granite through use, assembly, and reuse. We will consider how it might respond to a civic space like Penn Station with specificity and across scales. 
The studio will include site visits, workshops, and talks to develop the brief through ecological, material, and historical frameworks. Guests will include architect and scholar Rania Ghosn of Design Earth, the artist Michael Wang, and SOM Associate Rami Abou-Khalil, among others. 

See full syllabus in PDF: New Affiliates_One Rock Five Obstructions_ADV-V-2.pdf

Course Summary:

Date Details Due