Course Syllabus

Advanced Design Studio VI


Art as Social Infrastructure

Spring 2017

Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation

Columbia University


Galia Solomonoff, critic



Galia Solomonoff, AIA,


Local Trip to:   City of Beacon, New York, Trip Date: March 2, 2017

Kinne Trip to: Bilbao and Santander, Spain, Trip Dates: March 6 to 10th, 2017




Following a seminar format for the first 4 weeks of the semester, the studio will investigate the emergence and growth of Art institutions that have transformed the cities and regions around them. Our premise is that as cities around the world seek to nurture twenty-first century industries, lively urban centers, and harmonious communitieswhile simultaneously adapting to a whirlwind of social, technological, and environmental changes, all under severe budgetary constraintsit is beneficial to understand the ways in which a city expresses its values, enhances its identity, and quantify its growth.




The studio shall be divided into 2 segments;


  • Research (04 weeks – Jan 18 to Feb 17)
  • Design (10 weeks – Feb 17 to Apr 28)




Drawing from an array of contemporary and historical examples, the research will examine the efforts and successes of private cultural institutions, as well as governments operating at city, regional, and national scales, some examples are:


  • Guggenheim Museum, (Gehry) in Bilbao, Spain
  • Art Basel Miami Beach, (Arquitectonica), Art Fair in Miami, US
  • Documenta, Art Show (Multiple Architects), Kassel, Germany
  • Serpentine, Art Pavilions, (Multiple Architects), London, England
  • Whitney Museum, (Piano), New York, New York
  • Dia:Beacon, (OpenOffice/Solomonoff), Beacon, New York
  • Prada Foundation, (OMA/Koolhaas), Milano, Italy




  • How can art be used as driver of lasting community development and economic growth?
  • What is the global phenomena behind the steady influx of capital into the Art World?
  • Why does money go to Art more now than ever before?
  • How does Architecture participate in the spatialization of Art?
  • How can Architecture gain more from this exchange?
  • What do cities like Bilbao, Miami, London, New York gain from Art centric development?
  • How can cities gain more?
  • How can Art give more public-ness and create more public space?


Design, Site and Program:


After the initial phase of research, the studio will turn its focus to the design of an Art Venue on a specific site. With the aim to transform a given site into an evolving urban colony for art growth/exchange and in consultation with the critic, each student/participant will determine their own proposal for program in a site in the City of Beacon, New York.


The studio will critically examine the apparent contradiction that artists choose to be artists to avoid the constraints and norms of society, and gain freedom as outsiders, yet they very often end up constrained by critics’ judgement and their own career choices. The studio will also look at the potential for architecture and society to gain from this exchange. How can we create more dynamic and public spaces for upward social mobility using Art venues and investment?


The building or buildings to be designed will feature extensive exhibition spaces, storage, security and entertainment areas. The studio will look at recent Museums – including the Whitney and Guggenheim(s); Art Complexes like Prada Foundation, Milano; and Art Campuses, such as Inhotim in Brazil, in order to identify the best circumstances to deploy an Art venue, optimize the conditions to show art, create dynamic public spaces, and urban exchange sites. How can the location of a prestigious Art Venue affect a local, underserved neighborhood?


The studio will study the Art Venues as growing forms of urbanism, ready to exploit any and all opportunities for cities and public-ness, and to find and use potentials for the communities around them. The studio will investigate the emergence of Art Banks, a high-end form of accessible storage for one-of-a-kind art items.


The studio will explore the idea of the colony, as it pertains to the gathering of artists in cooperative art colonies, or communes with shared interest, but also as it relates to the emergence of a colonial tendency to occupy, subjugate and control the sites where Art Venues are established.


The studio will travel to Bilbao and Santander Spain. There the studio will explore the transformative effect the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has had since its inauguration in 1998.

Eighteen years after the opening of the Guggenheim Bilbao, our case study will compare and contrast the regional transformation of these city, track the results of different approaches, document the successes and any difficulties and speculate on its future potentialities.


The Studio will also travel to Santander, Spain and visit the newly opened Botin Center in Santander to study the efforts and motivations of a philanthropic foundation (Botin Foundation) and a city’s government to build a new arts-education center, designed by Renzo Piano, on a water-front site at the heart of Santander, a port-city on the Atlantic coast in northern Spain.




The student/participant shall site his/her intervention(s) or venue in the City of Beacon, NY.




Beacon is a city located in Dutchess County, New York with a population at 15,541. Dia:Beacon, is a museum dedicated to Minimal Art (designed by OpenOffice/Solomonoff with partners Rice, Taalman and Koch and artist Robert Irwin) Since it opened in 2003, Dia has had a transformative effect in the small Hudson Valley City. One of the issues the city desires it to improve its walkability, and allow its residents to connect on foot, the town, Museum, Waterfront and Transit as one.


While the distances between key Beacon landmarks and amenities are very close to each otherabout 10 to 20 minutes walkingthe current pathways, signage, lighting, and other pedestrian infrastructure, make these distances 'feel' longer and less walkable than they truly are.

There is potential for design intervention(s) that could result inamongst other beneficial outcomesimproved connections between Main Street, Dia:Beacon, the Metro-North Train Station, and the Hudson Waterfront. Such improvements could generate tangible economic benefits, as well as quality-of-life benefits for Beacon residents.


  • How would Beacon benefit from a more connected urban plan?


  • What new Art Venues/buildings are more likely to benefit its residents?
  • How could Art Venues support Beacon’s established communities, ensuring they benefit as new communities settle and embrace Beacon?
  • What does a vision for a public transit-oriented future look like for the City of Beacon?


Studio output would include basic cost/benefit analysis, planning data, GIS mapping and analysis, physical models, and visualizations of architectural proposals. The Studio output will be collected in a book and display in an exhibition.




  • The Spring Semester has 28 scheduled studio meetings.
  • It meets Monday and Thursday from January 18 to April 28, 2017 from 1.30 to 6 pm.
  • There will be no meeting on President's Day, February 20th
  • Midterm Review is on February 27 at 1.30 PM
  • The studio will visit the City of Beacon on March 2 at 1.30 pm
  • Kinne Trip to Bilbao and Santander, Spain is from March 6-10th, 2017
  • (Mandatory meetings w/GSolomonoff in Spain are scheduled for March 6-10th.
  • Spring Break is March 13 to 20th, 2017
  • Final Review is on April 27th at 1.30 PM


A Thousand Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, 1987

Seven days in the art world, Sarah Thornton, 2008

Suburban Nation, The rise of sprawl and the decline of the American dream, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck, 2000

The death and life of great American cities, Jane Jacobs, 1961

The well-tempered city, Jonathan F.P. Rose, 2016

There goes the ‘hood, Lance Freeman, 2006

The ascent of money, Niall Ferguson, 2008

The architecture of the city, Aldo Rossi, 1966

Thinking fast and slow, Daniel Kahneman, 2011




Course Summary:

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