Monuments always have been objects – ones that perpetuate the public politic in its own cognition, interpretation, and transformation. If modern architecture is about rationality, an appeal to logic; then monumentality might well be its antithesis – a brute and unadulterated appeal to the senses and emotion. Our proposal seeks to blur the dichotomy of monumentality and modernity – objectified memories that are one-dimensional and static will be transformed into flexible, spatial, multidimensional immersions.
A major problem of contemporary architectural education is the elitist top-down pedagogy that focuses on incubated/isolated abstractions and speculations without addressing the rich entanglement of disciplines and networks crucial to the dynamic civic contexts we operate in. The choice of sitting in an architecture school is a meta critique of our tendency to view the ‘public’ as static scenarios; the intervention of inserting a living archive in its agora, and a campus corridor for the public to access, is a provocation of how the dynamic politics of difference should inform and challenge the way we design for communities.
The project introduces two walls of knowledge on the East and West sides of the central atrium to replace the original walls which separate the studios, the auditorium, and the library apart from the public atrium space. The new walls primarily serve the function of archive storage and displacement, they create a grand vertical space for students and faculties to experience each time they enter any program in the architecture school. The two glass walls go down to the space underneath the building, forming the space of a grand auditorium with a campus corridor that sits above it. The corridor enables public access to the archive and makes them part of the architecture’s academic discussion.
These two glass walls are each composed of a display wall and an archive storage wall. The display wall is composed of openable double-layered glass panels, where students and facilities can insert drawings and display them on both the atrium side and the inside of the wall space. While the storage wall is composed of a great number of archive drawers covered with frosted glasses as well as rails for movable shelves to operate. They together form a gigantic archive shelf that goes through the entire building. The backside of the storage wall interacts with different programs behind it, it can operate as a studio pin-up space on the fourth floor, a screen for the Selignmen Auditorium on the first and second floor, and even an exhibition wall inside the marble room.
The two walls work together to form a multifunctional space, where archives can be displayed, lectures can be held, studio crit can take place, and with foldable glass desks, working and studying in front of the displayed masterpieces becomes possible. The archives are no longer stored in storehouses with limited access, instead, they constantly interact with the students, the building, and the public.