A non-profit organization dedicated to experimental design, creative exchange, and promoting contemporary architecture for an interdisciplinary world.


Category : Brooklyn, Event, Exhibits Dec 28th, 2008
Workshops January 10, 2009 – February 14, 2009
(to open for public viewing February 20 2009 – May 2 2009)

SUPERFRONT with MonstaH Black

This studio-workshop will produce the architectural component of an integration between choreography and architecture, in which a design workshop and a dance workshop share responsibility for producing a performance and site-specific installation over the course of 6 weeks.  We will use Le Corbusier’s early drawing, le jardin suspendu d’un appartment, as a starting point for this exploration.  By extracting motifs from this drawing and reconfiguring them within the SUPERFRONT gallery space, the workshop will test relationships between theatrical performance and architectural performance within the system of the “free plan.” 

The workshop will be divided into two sections – a 3 week design phase to formulate and document the design, and a 3 week construction phase for the prototyping and building of the final installation.  Following this 6 weeks the project will open to the public as both an exhibit and performance.  There will be two scheduled visits to Materials for the Arts to obtain building materials, one visit for each of the major phases of the workshop.  All participants of the design workshop are expected to attend every Saturday from January 10 to February 14th, with optional attendance of Sunday dance workshops and performances. 

The location of this project will be within the SUPERFRONT gallery space, a (13’ x 35’ x 14’) storefront located in a mechanical/industrial district in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.  It is a largely open space, defined only by it’s masonry shell, with drywall providing some minor definition to the interior.  

WEEK 1 (Saturday 2pm – 6pm, January 10): Design Charette.  Bring whatever tools you require for design – whether paper and pencil or laptop.  
WEEK 2 (Saturday 2pm – 6pm, January 17): Design Review, Schematic Design.  Define range of building materials.
WEEK 3 (Saturday 2pm – 6pm, January 24): Design Development.  Building materials inventory.
WEEK 4 (Saturday 2pm – 6pm, January 31): Collaborative Construction Documents.  Final materials specificaton.

WEEK 5 (Saturday 2pm – 6pm, February 7): Prototyping, Construction.

WEEK 6 (Saturday 2pm – 6pm, February 14): Construction, Finishing.
WEEK 7 (Saturday 2pm – opening, February 21): Final Tech.  Performance, opening to public. 

The “free plan” imagined by Corbusier was a vision of creating an entirely new spatial framework, allowing one to be liberated from the compartmentalized “room” and move through layers of space uninhibited.  This fluid space created a flexible environment, which produced an overlapping and interlocking of programmatic functions, creating new relationships between them.  Corbusier explored these principles of fluidity in both two dimensional (painting) and three-dimensional (architecture) work.

Sculpture and Nude , Le Corbusier (1887-1965 French), Oil on canvas, , (866-3660 © Christie's Images)
In Corbusier’s drawing, we see the simulation of landscape in the form of a geometric patch of turf inside the apartment.  This turf is not meant as a replacement of the natural world–seen in it’s grandeur through the window–but rather as an adaptation of the landscape for use within the interior space.  This adapted, or simulated landscape, can now become a tool for the architect or designer to use for their own purposes or function.

Apparatus can be seen as the devices that architecture deploys to reach out to, and connect with the body.  In the drawing, Corbusier shows these devices in form of a punching bag, or climbing rope.  But, the handrail pictured is no less performing a similar function, albiet in a more passive manner.  These various apparati seek to instigate and/or support certain performative events.  However, we will consider the apparatus not only as an extension of architecture to the body, but extensions of the body to the environment.  The apparatus becomes a point of connection between body and environment, concerning elements from architectural details to dancers’ costumes.
Through his drawing, Corbusier speculated that the “free plan” could become an area for fitness–a highly-efficient machine for the human.  He pictured the athlete as being one enabled by physical conditioning to utilize this fluid space to its potential.  Designs will be generated and collaboratively critiqued within this context.  In turn, the spaces constructed will be tested and informed by various forms of movement.  Through performative acts such as climbing, spinning, and walking up walls, site-specific choreography will measure the effectiveness of our product.