Transformations: On Contingent Form in University Studio Teaching with Two Case Studies

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This paper asks by what means and in what form might the university studio operate so that it contributes to inflecting the biases, limits, and reserves of architecture as discipline and practice to allow it to better adapt to changing environmental and social challenges? More generally, in what manner can the university studio be the site not just for training in design processes but for knowledge production as well? This paper begins to interrogate these questions through a comparative analysis of a multi-year studio delivered by Peter Eisenman at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD, 1981-85) and a cycle of studios completed under Colin Rowe in his Urban Design Studio, Cornell University, with a focus on urban-scale projects undertaken under Rowe’s direction in those same years. Two hypotheses underlay the paper. The first is that the Eisenman and Rowe studios extend and transform ideas and composition devices treating the contingent over the abstract and that such teaching systems might aid in development of a practice that begins to address changing complexities and the call for new forms of knowledge. The second hypothesis is that contingent form is a potentially innovative composition strategy and conceptual tool, one awaiting theorisation and resuscitation. The paper adds to scholarship on architecture education and makes a modest contribution to Eisenman and Rowe studies. The paper addresses conference Theme 3 Education and Professional Practice Across Borders, adding to debates about the role of university education and potential relationships between the academy and practice by means of research on architecture’s conditions of possibility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference: Architecture Across Boundaries
EditorsTeresa Hoskyns
Place of PublicationIndia
PublisherKnowledge E
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventArchitecture Across Boundaries International Conference, Xi’an Haotong-Liverpool University, 19-21 June 2019 - Xi’an Haotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China
Duration: 19 Jun 201921 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameKnE social sciences - KnowledgeE social sciences
PublisherKnowledge E
ISSN (Electronic)2518-668X


ConferenceArchitecture Across Boundaries International Conference, Xi’an Haotong-Liverpool University, 19-21 June 2019

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