The Cooper Union
School of Architecture

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Professors Maria Elena Fanna, Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa, Catherine Seavitt-Nordenson, and Guido Zuliani

First Semester Project
A presupposition for the work of the class is that for an architect, the history of his/her discipline – Architecture – consists in the record of the material transformations of the syntactic structure of its language as embodied in form of buildings. Fourteen buildings were selected for study by the class:

1. Cappella Pazzi (1430) by F. Brunelleschi
2. Parish Church in Roccaverano (circa 1509) by D. Bramante
3. Palazzo di Citta (1540) by S. Serlio
4. Villa Foscari “La Malcontenta” (1560) by A. Palladio
5. Villa Almerigo “La Rotonda” (1567) by A. Palladio
6. The Neue Pavillon at Charlottemburg (1825) by K. F. Schinkel
7. Hubbe  House (1925) by L. Mies van der Rohe
8. Maison Cook (1926) by Le Corbusier
9. Villa Stein (1927) by Le Corbusier
10. House for the XIII District in Wien (1926) by J. Frank
11. Villa Muller (1930) by A. Loos
12. Adler House (1954) by L. Kahn
13. House 3 (1954-1960) by J. Hejduk
14. Vanna Venturi House (1961) by R. Venturi

Each student (or group of students) selects a building to analyze and research, and the projects are reconstructed and described using plans, sections, elevations and sectional models. Subsequently, two sets of four-square and nine-square compositional grids are utilized as heuristic tools to discover, describe and analyze compositional strategies and spatial complexities imbedded in the syntax of the plans, section and elevations of the chosen project.

Second Semester Project
The work of the spring semester rests on the assumption that Architecture, at a primary level, can be framed in terms of the relation between body, mass and volume. The definition of these three components, the determination of their relationships and their organization into a coherent whole was the subject of the work of the studio, which was organized in two separated phases.

First Phase: Initial Condition
A cubic mass measuring 24ft x 24ft x 24ft was given as a counterpart to the body. Five conditions defining the status of a body in space were used to determine possible courses of action in regard to the production of spatial conditions of inhabitation within the cubic mass.

The five conditions were:

A provision was also introduced: material removed from the mass of the cube was to be used as positive element and integrated in a coherent fashion within the overall composition.

Second Phase: Program and Site
The original cubic mass in the form developed during the first phase is retained as reference. The proposed program consisted in a Dwelling for an Individual for which five different activities were re-defined in direct relation to the Body:

Movement of the Body
Maintenance of the body
Care of the Body
Recovery for the body
Activity of the body

The site consisted in a series of 72ft x 72ft parcels located on three platforms imagined at the end of the piers protruding from the southeast waterfront of Governors Island and raised 8ft above water. The location, organization and nature of these structures allowed for the possible engagement of a larger field of relations both horizontally and vertically.