I am offering for the third time an advanced studio that intends to study the possibilities of single family infill housing in a major American city. Chicago has a long tradition of small wood-framed houses from the time of the founding of the city in the mid 19th century until the great fire of 1871. The City’s response to the disaster of fire was pre-cut minimal wooden shelters to house the thousands of homeless citizens rather than providing institutionalized collective housing. To this day the single family house remains the ideal of the vast majority of Chicago’s population that is currently housed in its historic neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are of ethnic origin and remain so today although many have transformed their origins and racial characteristics over time with each new wave of immigrant workers from afar. However the heart of each neighborhood remains its cultural and religious institutions with the historic neighborhood schools, churches and synagogues focusing the communities shared interests.
The City of Chicago has a continuing policy that all city employees must reside within the city limits. One of the objects of this studio will be to provide a house for a teacher, fireman or policeman who will introduce a stabilizing influence into the life of each neighborhood, while providing opportunities for city employees to build equity for themselves over time. Recent gang violence that has included the murder of helpless children has forced the city to reconsider its neighborhoods with constructive programs to overcome their current malaise. This is not a new problem in the history of the city, but remains a constant blight that needs to be dealt with today, if the city wishes to continue to thrive.
The methodology of this studio will be focused on synthesis as a continuous process from the first day of the studio until the last. The participants of the studio will design every aspect of their small dwelling in complete resolution, with all the assemblies, systems and finishes called out including colors, furniture, and landscape. The studio will demand attention to both discipline and imagination, characteristics required in order to be an architect. This will be an opportunity to design a dwelling that is fully rational and buildable.
The studio participants will visit Chicago and experience its architectural legacy ranging from Richardson, Sullivan and Burnham to Wright and Mies as well as the work of current architects. We will also visit historic neighborhoods to acquire an understanding of their make-up and history.
The studio will meet each Tuesday and Wednesday with a pin-up on Tuesday and individual desk crits on Wednesday. There will be a midterm and final jury in New Haven.