tutor | elie harfouche
TRANSFORMING THE CITY
The studio advocates political activism through architecture and promotes engagement in everyday life versus a ‘disinterested’ position focused solely on aesthetic innovation. It invites future graduates to investigate architecture’s societal and political roles and its agency and limitations in the betterment of people’s lives.
Pedagogically, it investigates ways in which students’ thematic interests can become manifest. It attempts to make explicit and discuss the political that is inherent and intrinsic to the work that students produce. It initiates the process through a focused seminar where varied key texts on the city are discussed (Lefebvre, Harvey, Arendt, Simmel, Rossi, Mouffe, etc) and then intersected with Beirut leading to creative programmatic proposals coupled with argumentative site selection strategies.
This year’s particular theme was timely for a Beirut that witnessed a social uprising followed by an international pandemic, both affecting the experience of the city. It falls in with similar concerns that this section has been investigating in the past years with ‘The Affordable City'( 2015 / 2016) and ‘The Inclusive City’ (2017 /2018). The ambition behind ‘Transforming the City’ was to go beyond the small acupunctures of the past years toward more audacious proposals either in ideology, scope or scale addressing urban urgencies and satisfying these at levels ranging from the practical to the experimental and grazing utopia at times.
The submitted projects covered the following topics: Crisis Management, Educational Support, Mosque Typology, City Curation, Peace building, Nationhood and Political Awareness, Urban and individual agro-sufficiency, Urban Burial and Transitional Structures.