Architectural Types 1: Libraries

New York/Paris

Spring 2013

Patrick O’Connor, coordinator, with, Tsuyoshi Tane, Marcos Garcia Rojo + Antoine Santiard, critics

Types and typologies have been uninterruptedly present in architectural discourse since the nineteenth century enlightenment. This discourse is at the core of architectural knowledge as typologies represent a valuable tool that architects use to understand their historic and sociocultural heritage. The formulation of a theory of types has its origin at the works of Quatremère de Quincy (1755-1849) who established three key points for typological categorization: origin, transformation and invention.

The studio aimed to provide the students with the basic understanding of the notion of type and present typological evolution as a triggering device for innovative design. Starting from an overall view of the typological tradition, the studio focused on libraries as communal case-studies. The existing gap between the socio-cultural evolution of the idea of a library (the notion of book, the act of public reading, etc.) and its associated architectural types offers a great opportunity for research and innovation. Ultimately, the students tested their typological findings by applying them to four precise situations in the city of Paris using a given program for a library. The students questioned the role that libraries can play today in dense urban environments while speculating about the potentials of a relatively obsolete type in its traditional form.

Emily Oppenheim A/B
Hannah Manning-Scott C/D