ARC 490/503: Architecture International Studio/Advanced Architectural Design

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSMuPYAlpCQ&w=560&h=315]
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It contains buildings from more than ten different centuries. Its’ success lies mainly in an outstanding ability to combine diverse parts, buildings into one coherent whole. That seems to be almost a lost quality in a contemporary architecture and in the projects of many architects. Popular quote from Rem Koolhaas ‘F*ck the context’ is being used by many students of architecture, without really understanding its’ proper meaning.
The studio will be focused on different strategies how to deal with a complicated context in broader sense than a context being presented as a built form which could be found in the neighborhood. We will not only examine how to design, but what to design, for whom to design, why to design and maybe even if to design at all. The semester will be divided into three different parts, with public presentations at the end of each of them.
Ninety days is a very short time to get to know such a complex and complicated city as Prague. Almost everything is new and different for someone coming from another country, especially if it lies in a different continent. This is not a traditional studio where students are given a site, a brief and detailed building program with square footage. They have to discover their own site and their own topic worth dealing with. By other words, they have to discover what they do care about. Because all of these uncertainties, there must be at least one certainty. They should have a chance to visit their site every day. So their area of interest must lie very close by to their place of stay in Prague.