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Situate the work within a cultural context (what were cultural issues and norms of the time that affected the creation and/or transformation of the space; how did economics affect it; does the space comment upon or show indications of its shaping by political issues?).

ARCH3700: Section 05 [abroad]: Concentration Studies Fall 2018
ARCH3700_05 1 of 2 Problem 2
Concentration Studies: Urbanism
Fall 2018
Wentworth Institute of Technology
Department of Architecture
Daniel Libeskind’s Diagram showing Potsdamer Platz as a palimpsest
Stockholm & Copenhagen
Instructors: Mark Klopfer, Urbanism
“The city has almost no characteristic geometry. It is not like an atom, an orange, or a table, or an animal. It is more like the pattern of pieces on a chess board, half way through a game a chess.”
Alexander and Poyner, The Atoms of Environmental Structure. 1967 p6
“A city is like a game of chess, in that the location of each piece is the product of a rational decision, but the overall effect may look chaotic, and is unpredictable in advance. A city plan – like the plan of a chess game in progress – is a snapshot of a continuously changing process.”
Marshall, Cities, Design and Evolution. 2009 p186
As we will investigate this semester, the city/building is a multivalent entity and can be examined through many lenses. It is a rich palimpsest of political and cultural history/activity, the accumulation of individual architectural and non-architectural projects, a set of systems allowing movement of goods and people, energy, water and waste, and ecologies. Each of these will be studied through analysis across the semester, but this course begins with a great opportunity: to experience two European capital cities anew.
Two fundamental questions for this course are: how is a city/building made and what might a city mean?
This preamble above was given for problem one, as we looked at the capital cities of Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Now that you have had ample time to settle in and know your way around a third, and arguably more important, European capital—Berlin—this problem asks you to look at one space in depth, to record what you observe there and can take away to inform your career. It is composed of observational and research components. The observational part should be undertaken while you are in Berlin, to have a firsthand experience of the space that is the topic of your research. The research part can begin while in Berlin, where you may find deeper resources, but can be concluded and handed in, upon your return to the United States.
ARCH3700: Section 05 [abroad]: Concentration Studies Fall 2018
ARCH3700_05 2 of 2 Problem 2
Part One: Observation
Choose an urban space from the list below, or propose an additional space to the instructor. Working from Google Earth maps, online historic aerials and maps, and other resources, document how this space was created and shaped at its origin, and how it has transformed over time. As this is Berlin, pay particular attention to documenting pre- and immediate post-war conditions, Berlin Wall era, and post-wall era, and current state. It is important that you do this work PRIOR to visiting this space for the assignment.
Visit the space, preferably at different times of day, or day of the week (weekday v weekend), to record how the site appears. In exploring the site, record any traces of elements or conditions that link to deeper histories of the site or its context. Make recordings of your observations using photography, audio recordings, and drawings.
Compile these findings along with a three-page description of the site’s physical manifestation. The description should include a deep formal analysis (base documentation drawings and diagrams by you to accompany this, noted and appended to the back of the three-page written section are encouraged!) and a description of the site’s physical context. Consider all of the categories of analysis of which you are now well accustomed but do not include less relevant categories for the sake of completeness.
Part Two: Research
Following the information gathering and observational phase of the project, begin to develop a research thesis about the site. Structured through a second, three-page narrative, situate the work within a cultural context (what were cultural issues and norms of the time that affected the creation and/or transformation of the space; how did economics affect it; does the space comment upon or show indications of its shaping by political issues?). This part should also include an overview of how its physical context played a role in its development or transformation.
Does the work engage or deny this context? Lastly, if specific designers are known, this part could also include information on how this work relates to others by the designer. Did it occur early, mid-, or late career? Are there significant previous works by the designer, or visited/seen/studied, that informed the production of this piece?
As in the first part of this assignment, providing diagrams, drawings, images of historic maps or aerials to elucidate your argument and explanation is encouraged as a supplement to the written pages.
Specifications for the written component are as follows: 6 pages minimum text (3 for each section) with a maximum of 8 pages of text, 1.5 spacing, 11pt text, .75 margins all sides. Proper endnotes (not footnotes) and bibliographic citation are required, and those, as well as appended drawings, photos, or images, do not add/deduct from the page count.
October 23, Problem Two assigned via email
October 25, Sign up for your urban space by writing a comment on the NuVu site on the ‘Problem One’ comment section (this will ensure that there are no duplications in subject)
November 7, Draft of Part One due, via email, 12:00AM Berlin time
December 5, Complete Project due (last day of classes) via email, 12:00AM Boston time
PROJECT SITES (each site should be undertaken by one student only)
Unter den Linden
Potsdamer Platz
Leipziger Platz
Forum am Kanzleramt
Platz der Republik
Pariser Platz
Europa Center | Weihnachtsmarkt an der Gedächtniskirche
Checkpoint Charlie | Friedrichstrasse/Zimmerstrasse intersection

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