MAT AND OBJECTS,
REVISITING MODERNIST TYPOLOGY
Location : Stuyvesant Town, New York
Type : Design Thesis, 2012-2013, Pratt Institute
Critic : Kutan Ayata
The objective of architecture is works of art that are lived in. The city is the largest, and at present the worst of such works of art. . . . The kinds of repetition and control that are now offered to the building industry can be edged towards a kind of dreamy neutrality. — Alison and Peter Smithson
A lot has been said since the demolition of the Pruitt Igoe housing project about the death of modern architecture and its negative contributions to society.
Although it is true that modernist social housing did not provide the best situation for new environments, it is naïve to think that modernist architecture caused violence. There are too many factors that influence how life evolves. Proof of this idea are modernist housing projects that still operate in a healthy way.
Although we cannot blame it all on the architecture, a space can stimulate and accelerate the occurrence of events and ideas, having said that we cannot negate the fact that most projects were repetitive copies based on a model which at a specific moment of history was successful.
The thesis explores possibilities for rehabilitating existing modern housing typology blocks. The proposed project does not take the site as a tabula rasa, nor as preservation, but rather as a new urban landscape in which a new type of urban life can develop.
The intervention injects new programs into the site, as well as re interprets the traditional courtyard to create a new sense of singularity and scale. It deals with the contingency of the existing site as a way to produce form, but also develops its own autonomy where it generates a new way of dealing with existing structures as the old does not blend with the new, but also does not denyit.