Diploma 8 Frederique Paraskevas, Diploma 8 (2015-16), Extra-National Domain

Dis-Continuous Cities

Maria Fedorchenko

While the unit continues with the disciplinary project on the European city, this year we will narrow it down to the theme of 'discontinuity and coherence' - a response to the need to reconcile history and modernity, heterogeneity and efficiency, and to sustain architectural thinking about the city. Our work will tap into disparate contexts and re-wire problems and possibilities - stirring past and future urban critiques and visions as we work towards incongruous yet robust dis-continuous cities. First, we will unpack singular orders and diverse assemblages in ideal cities and 'anti-cities' ? from Campanella to Leonidov, from Piranesi to Ungers. We will then mirror these with an outlook to contemporary cities and tensions. Our projects' settings, however, will remain conceptual - intermediary links between built and disciplinary domains. There, we will build upon our analyses and design provocations to construct multidimensional yet 'now-visible' imaginary cities.

These emergent formations will call for bolder experimentation with old and new analogies, diagrams and forms. (Surely, we have outgrown collages, archipelagoes or machines to describe future models.) We will deliberately leap across scales - from conceiving the city as a totality to articulating its finer elements - exploit various extremes - from suspending the street to over-inflating the monument - and, finally, welcome ruptures and contrasts between objects and systems. In the end, all these distinct components would still need to cohere into well-structured and contained outputs (texts, maps and images), to begin to affect the way we systematise the knowledge and the construction of the city of tomorrow. And let's be clear: intellectual and creative freedom will not make us irresponsible dreamers, ignorant of 'real' urban life. We will pursue highly fantastical and abstract outputs, firmly believing in the transformative power of the visionary Project, calling for those who seek urban quality, resilience and diversity but who choose to rely on our ultimate instrument: architectural imagination.

Unit Staff

Maria Fedorchenko has been an AA Unit Master since 2010, and was also involved in HTS, Housing & Urbanism and the Visiting School. She taught at UC Berkeley, UCLA and CCA from 2003. Primarily an educator and theorist with the focus on diagram and infrastructure, she is also a co-founder of Plakat (a platform for provocations), an urban consultant and a co-director of Fedorchenko Studio.


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