Master of Architecture II Spring 2011

End of Year Exhibition 2011 End of Year Exhibition 2011 End of Year Exhibition 2011
End of Year Exhibition 2011


Professor: Diana Agrest
Instructor: Maria Elena Fanna

This Studio focuses on the question of Nature, from the philosophical and scientific discourses that have explained it throughout history in its transformations to the present condition as they affect our modes of habitation.

A different dimension of time and scale is the object of this exploration. In this project, those questions take a preeminent position in the type of natural sites that are selected and the subsequent process of transformation.

The scale is vast in most cases, dealing with places such as deserts, canyons, rivers, glaciers, fault lines, volcanoes, lakes and seashores. These are places that took millions or billions of years to develop and thousands for transformations to be perceptible until the most recent past where processes of transformation have accelerated. Time here is of a cosmic dimension that relates to the Universe. It not only becomes essential in every transformative proposal but also places them outside the traditional boundaries of architecture, urbanism or landscape. Historically, there has always been an active interaction between Nature—as a real object and as an object of study— and Architecture, but this interaction takes a prominent position at this moment in time. The subject of Nature in its many complex modes of articulation with Architecture—economic, political, ideological, scientific and technological— is critically reexamined in this studio, through a process of “reading and rewriting,” at various scales ranging from the national to the regional and the local.

“Potentials” is the leading concept for this exploration; potential sources, potential sites, potential elements, potential new Architectural concepts.

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Projects & Links

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.