Studio 3.3 – 2015/16
Typology and Topography
Bruno Silvestre and Noel Cash
In architecture, typology [form] and topography [place] are perceived as two distinct notions acting upon the architectural project. Typology is the inner force of the project that reflects the spatial and formal heritage offered by the history of our discipline. Topography acts as the external dynamism of the city and the natural forces of the environment acting upon works of architecture. Our studio will explore the relationship between architectural form and its place, aiming to substantiate the interdependence between the typological and topographical dimensions of the architecture of the city.
Our studio will work in Coimbra, Portugal, a city characterised by the legacy of one of Europe’s oldest universities. Since its foundation in 1290 the University of Coimbra became the main cultural catalyst of the city and the region. In the dramatic topography of the city, the architecture of colleges, churches and libraries have defined the structure and the unique character of Coimbra. In collaboration with the Department of Architecture of the University of Coimbra, we will investigate the various typologies of urban living that form the background to seven centuries of production and dissemination of knowledge by the institutions of learning. Lectures and workshops in the local school of Architecture will set the context for your intense research field work that will form the basis of your thesis project – this will combine forms of contemporary living, working and learning in the city.
Typological studies are a form of reading the heritage of the history and theory of our discipline – your studies will be complemented by a lunchtime studio lecture series. The full tectonic, spatial and ultimately cultural potential of making architecture stems from its capacity to articulate the poetic and the technical qualities of its own physical substance. Tectonic studies will be developed at the outset of the project, in parallel with the urban/ territorial concept.
In developing and representing an architectural idea you will develop an understanding of the intrinsic relationship between design process and the architectural outcome. This will enable you to successfully orchestrate the various design instruments to communicate your architectural concept and its resolution.
Based on the creative power of understanding the heritage of our discipline, Studio 3.3 will explore the potential of the architectural work, its surrounding topographies and the articulation of its form and matter to substantiate that “Architecture is the physiognomy of culture” (George Howe, 1953).