Core Architecture Studios 1, 2 + 3

Michael Bell, director

The three-semester Core Studio sequence develops a capacity to work with skill and invention at all levels of architectural design. Studio methods vary with each of the design critics, but there is a common desire to re-think architectural and urban problems at each phase of developing a project. Explorations include new organizations of building processes, new systems of manufacturing and construction and new considerations of use and programming. In recent years, the programming aspects of the studios have become a focus of invention, and this year both Core 1 and 2 focused on complex program intensive projects — addressing highly defined programs in Core 1 and giving specificity to what was termed “generic” programs in the Core 2. The Core Studios are taught by a group of faculty who collectively guide each of the twenty studio sections that constitute the three semesters of the Core Studio sequence. Each semester the Core Studios were coordinated by an individual faculty member who leads the group of six to eight design studios. Students and faculty work within emergent forms of contemporary and historic New York urban life. Focused on sites in the city, the studios seek to understand the texture and public nature of their work and to understand and respond to the complexity and diversity of New York constituencies. Employing an array of both local and global data sets; an analysis of historic urban form, and projecting the potentials of new programming and redevelopment issues that are re-shaping the city, the studios also aggressively coordinate work in new means of fabrication, tectonics and structure. Each faculty member offers a unique form of exploring these issues as a network of design potentials that are understood to be sustaining, but also re-defining the role of the architect. As a whole, the Core is coordinated to give parallel structure to the studios. The first two semesters consider the conceptual implications of architectural space as a form of speculative research. Core 1 and Core 2 consist of a semester-long project divided into distinct phases and exercises that fold into the development of an architectural proposal for an urban site. With each phase of the project, emphasis is placed on synthetic design processes that rigorously address issues of site and program on both conceptual and practical levels. The third and final semester of the Core Studio sequence is focused on the design of urban housing. Students work in teams of two to carry each project to a high level of resolution in terms of materials, details and ultimately in response to social needs and political realities. While the studio sites are within metropolitan New York, the studio is equally based on a renewed analysis of the history of housing policies both in the New York and in the wider United States. Students are asked to bring the analytical expertise of the first two semesters to these issues and to create a project that addresses a full spectrum of concerns from the immediate detail to the larger urban and political consequences of design.