Autonomy – Dependency: Housing Blocks + Urban Islands

Core Architecture Studio 3

Fall 2012

Jeffrey Johnson, critic

What is dwelling in the contemporary city? How do we define the needs of the urban population today? The world is for the first time more urban than rural with more and more people moving to cities. However, despite that many past urban housing models are now obsolete, they are still being constructed. What replaces them? What are the social, political and economical forces that are defining the context? How does architecture mediate between the needs of the new urban dweller and the complex mechanisms that influence its realization?

Because many similarities can be drawn with the Manhattan block, the studio project was conceived as a possible alternative to the Megablock. Can the housing studio redefine the Manhattan block as an urban project and reassert the ‘block’ positively into the future development of cities? And, how can a site that is an anomaly–an exiled irregularly–shaped block of Manhattan–inspire radical new ways to challenge the prevailing conditions of ‘autonomy’ and ‘dependency’ that define all large-scale urban developments, urbanistically, architecturally, socially and politically? The intention of the studio was to produce possible urban futures–adaptations and mutations of the Megablock–that challenged preconceptions of housing projects and urban block development.

Bless Yee, Miles Fujiki + Jose Cruz A/B/C
Sean Franklin + Mark Pothier D/E/F