Public Square Studio

American common space is in a state of flux. As demographics shift, technologies advance, cultural mores morph, and economies + politics churn, our cherished public spaces are becoming obsolete empty vessels of nostolgia. How can architects and urban desingers alter these spaces to accomodate the new and ever-changing character of American public space? This is the question that Kent State University's CUDC Fall 2006 Graduate Studio will investigate.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

An interesting dialogue began to shape between the three juries this past Friday. Each group presented three completely different trajectories for reaching a possible design. The first group was engulfed in a series of diagramming in which they would create a diagram, extract possible conceptual frameworks from that diagram, then proceed to re-diagram. This cycle of post-rationalizing diagrammatic processes without any kind of preconceived 'goal' pushed the designers to continuously reconceptualize their project in unpredicted ways. However, this cyclic process could continue indefinitely without producing design. The point of departure towards actualization of a conceptual framework is therefore extremely important, as was suggested by the jury. The second group initially devised a 'goal' (unlike the first group) and have been working towards an actualization of that concept. Pragmatic problems have dampered the actualization of this concept, whereas a move towards abstraction or diagramming (away from the pragmatic concerns of the project) could have been useful (as suggested by the jury). The third group represented the time-tested way of producing architecture. Working within a somewhat vague conceptual framework, the designers have produced a very pragmatic and willful design which addresses many of the complicated and contradictory pragmatic issues of the site. The jury recommended a re-focusing of the initial conceptual framework. None of the three presented trajectories are 'right,' but all offer advantages and disadvantages, which were all very explicitly noted by the jurors. We'll see where the trajectories end by the final jury.

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