Course Syllabus

 

MAKERGRAPH 2022  /  ADV VI  /  LOT-EK

 

 

studio

The MAKERGRAPH studio is designed to serve students in their final semester who seek a very personal educational experience—or pre-post-educational experience—as they transition from architecture school to the wider world. The studio adapts a thesis-like sensibility into a committed sequence of highly-structured, sequentially-contingent, iterative, accumulative, and transformative assignments. In parallel and mutual influence with those assignments, students create a visual, material, and verbal archive/feed of obsessions and preoccupations from their own life experiences beyond the design world. This requires and inspires radical authenticity and creative courage. 

 

making

The MAKERGRAPH Studio brings our attention to thinking-by-making; to material culture as an expression of culture; to craft and digital craft; and to material practice—from weaving to welding. This applies the enthusiasm in our own practice for radically adaptive reuse and upcycling, but does not teach you to do what we do. Our intent is to empower you, with our tough-but-tender conspiracy, to teach yourself what you do. Students draw deeply on personal, cultural, and physical legacies—on traditional Maori tattooing; on global foodways and local folklore around home cooking; on the aesthetic/ethical inheritance of an anti-sustainable family business; on linguistic practices within New York Hip Hop; on intergenerational storytelling around immigration, gender, and family; on twenty years of involuntary cello lessons; and on all that each one of us brings to this Spring.

 

ethics

The MAKERGRAPH studio asks you to do the work: honestly, earnestly and authentically. Because the studio resists scholastic postures, standardized solutions, and stylish defaults, the studio asks that you take risks. Because such resistance requires self-awareness, the studio asks you to become ever more conscious of your own patterns of thought, and ever more critical of the educational, cultural, and other structural biases that may be shaping those patterns for you. The work is personal. The work is yours. The work is non-compliant: it does not simply reflect current status, trends or standards. The work destabilizes the current status as defined by trends or standards. The work is inventive. The work imagines.

 

format

The MAKERGRAPH studio asks that you work within a format. The studio format is tight. It is completely predetermined and highly scheduled. This constraint will offer pushback to the open mind and open heart that we also bring to the studio—to excavate, to unpack, to unsettle, to apply pressure, in order to invent and discover.

 

your objects and your book

We proceed, week by week, by making objects. We do this through a sequence of material fragments and spatial constructs, an iterative exploration through making, using your hands, and your tools and practice of choice. Every week, you will test one-to-one physical constructs, questioning form and methodology. You will photograph, document, draw, record and reproduce these objects to observe and express their spatial quality, mass, structure and light—this representation also a form of questioning and interrogation. We will be embracing discoveries and mishaps. The pace of work will require you to use default habits, which will empower you to question default habits. You will do that again, and again, and again. The record of this work is the work. It will accumulate into a formatted sequence of pages and spreads. A regular spread assignment will collect, organize and format your work. Every week you will add a new chapter. Every week you will present and discuss your new chapter. By midterm, you will have your first book.

The complement of a portfolio and the opposite of the familiar retroactive manifesto, this book is a prospective monograph—something which shall have the look and feel, discourse and atmosphere, of a document of all the work of your future career; which shall become for your career a source code, a commentary, and a conscience. The studio offers an intensive, immersive experience that is at once highly individual and highly communicative, collaborative and supportive.

 

identity and your many personal histories

This year, we set our intention around race as it has been constructed, deployed, and embodied in America and beyond. We set our intention around identity, as a personal exploration and as a creative expression centered on each of our own life stories. This year, we want to think about a collective intervention in a contested space, one that moves from the very personal to the communal. Your very personal and individual works will be organized through the expression and expansion of an architecture and material glossary, one of connection, tie, joint, coupling, interlocking, leaning, to produce an interconnected installation in public space.

 

site and one history

We will use as an armature the traces of a troubled Columbia University’s history: the controversial 1967/68 proposal for a Columbia University Gymnasium in Morningside Park. Physical traces of this structure’s foundation remain in the park as construction started despite considerable resistance. This ultimately unbuilt structure illuminated structural inequities in Morningside Heights and Harlem and was a catalyst for the 1968 student movements at the school. This investigation applies tools of architectural theory and practice to the historical complicities of institutions of Architecture and Academy; as well as their current obligations and opportunities—and ours within and without them. As always, we will look at how our personal stories are woven into our shared stories. As always, we will find moments of reckoning and repairing, thinking and making, rethinking and remaking. You will conceive, design, develop, and make an intervention into the typology of the monument and the topography of the park—to reveal, to highlight, to focus, to reframe, to radically transform.

 

abstract

A site: Morningside Park, along the erased, flooded trace of the “Gym Crow”, Columbia University’s 1960s would-be gymnasium expansion at 113 street

A site: your book, your stories, 10 pages every week

An artifact: a material, a physical test, a physical fragment

An artifact: your book, 1 fragment per week, 10 pages every week

An artifact on the site: an installation

A non-monument to expose, explore, and experience

A non-monument to discuss and disclose erasure

A non-monument to engage and connect

A non-monument to create community

 

logistics and travel

Students will work individually, but in the spirit of a mutually supportive community and collective intelligence.

We meet in-person one day a week for our recurrent weekly Book Review, and have individual desk crits another day. Giuseppe and Ada will be together at the book review and will rotate for desk crits.

Our travel will be a road trip – through the US Southwest and its desert landscapes.   

 

 

readings

Harlem vs Columbia University / Stefan M. Bradley / University of Illinois Press

 

You want a Confederate Monument? My Body is a Confederate Monument / Caroline Randall Williams

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/confederate-monuments-racism.html?searchResultPosition=91

 

Mellon Foundation to Spend $250 Million to Reimagine Monuments / Jennifer Schuessler

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/05/arts/mellon-foundation-monuments.html?searchResultPosition=46

 

A Poignant Take on the Controversy Surrounding Public Monuments / Daniel S. Palmer

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/09/t-magazine/david-hammons-monuments.html?searchResultPosition=44

 

America’s Monuments, Reimagined for a More Just Future / Produced by Zoë Lescaze

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/t-magazine/confederate-monuments-reimagined-racism.html?searchResultPosition=65

 

Monuments that Celebrate Communal Struggles, Not Flawed Men / Jillian Steinhauer

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/17/arts/design/monuments-socrates-sculpture-park-queens.html?searchResultPosition=54

 

About public space:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/opinion/parks-public-spaces-philanthropy.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/opinion/sunday/cities-public-space-covid.html

Course Summary:

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