The last five decades of architectural debate are all characterized by the dramatic displacement of the role of the architect from the author of discrete built objects to one who conceptualize his or her output in terms of the management of increasingly complex processes. The metaphoric operation is a lexicon of operations, a catalog of fictions used to imbue buildings with a sense of malleability and testify to them as indices of design as a managerial process; folding, carving, splicing, and etc. We will attempt to repurpose the underlying implications of eight architectural clichés through three strategic techniques: misuse (doing an operation badly), the mash-up (the combination of two disparate operations), and excessive faith (operation as if architecture’s fictions were truths).
No other architectural typology captures the contemporary managerial paradigm quite like the mat building; it is a testing ground for operational strategies. Having defamiliarized an operation, students deposit it like a virus into the infinite system of the Mat exploiting these operational strategies and part-to-part relationships through the successive scale of the unit, the cluster, the edge and finally, the totality. The final task of the studio will be to design the shared headquarters three disparate groups on an artificial island off Manhattan; IAUS, CIAM, and Team X. The proposals will attempt to reformulate your own given clichés as a way of articulating the diverse ambitions of each organization while simultaneously accommodating each of the individual programmatic functions. The mat structures will not only be asked to negotiate a diverse collection of programmatic elements, but it will also have to function entirely schizophrenically, at times an autonomous rejection of the world outside of it, and at times instrumentally integrated.