2017 Summer Workshops

As part of GSAPP’s global mission, Summer Workshops foster open dialogue and cultural exchange and encourage collaborative research addressing urgent topics of our time. Every year, six to eight faculty-led research workshops assemble students from across the School’s programs for an intensive study opportunity that revolves around a particular question in a global location. Summer Workshops present students a unique chance for cross-disciplinary collaboration, firsthand experience, and global engagement with real situations. As a sign of the Summer Workshops’ success, many students carry their research into studio and future projects, as well as research opportunities with faculty.
The Invisible Eight: The forgotten or otherwise erased modern buildings in Beirut, Lebanon

August 5 - 19, 2017

Led by Ziad Jamaleddine

As a sequel to last summer’s Beirut, workshop Hamra Street, A Case of Urban Resilience, this summer’s workshop will focus on ‘invisible’ modernism in the city of Beirut: the unfortunate modernist buildings that did not survive this very same war and economy. The Invisible Eight are modernist era buildings that under the pressure of conflicts, were neglected, deserted and vacated, yet they are still comfortably sitting, fixed in time, among their constantly changing neighbors. The workshop aims to map and document those modernist buildings. The objective is to reconstruct, through drawing representational technique, their birth and demise, uncover the physical and spatial backbone that failed them. The final output will be one large continuous collage oblique drawing of Beirut, plotting (and imagining) in it the invisibles, making them visible again. Produced by the students as a group the drawing will be exhibited at the Arab Center for Architecture, Beirut.

Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada

August 7 - September 2, 2017

Led by Christoph Kumpusch with Alessandra Calaguire

This 3 Week immersive workshop is organized around three parts and three places: New York City, California, and Black Rock Desert. In New York, students will join the Extraction Laboratory’s research team, as we design and fabricate a roof to be deployed at the GSAPP Burning Man Camp. In California, and the Black Rock Desert at Burning Man, the team will: 1. Assemble / Roof structure and Installation; 2. Report / Live from the desert; 3. Program / Host a series of public programs + lecture series. There are three goals we will work towards achieving with our Installation: 1. Architecture and Politics: The roof will provide a common ground of discourse. 2. Architecture and Situations: The roof will extract what is the most absent in the Desert: WATER. 3. Architecture and Elements: The roof creates a habitable desert landscape. The workshop will stand on three legs and Participants will work on three elements: 1. Documentation [The feedback- loop]; 2. Habitation [The Camp]; 3. Installation [The Roof]. With the desert as a canvas, and Burning Man as a context, this workshop is an opportunity for students to become part of a research team that extracts architecture from situations, rather than places. We will create and build architecture for the desert. The roof is an energy field of extracted grids deployed in the desert. The installation extracts water on the playa, with a field of fog catchers. Human Scale and Desert Scale, the project extends the notion of techniques of modularity in order to create new patterns of ritual, procession, and inhabitation at Burning Man. It promotes interaction with immediate experience: a living playground for desert inhabitants, extracting and sustaining life in the desert. In application, the architecture acts as a collection of flows working together as modules modulating: Temperature, Density, Mobility, + Hydration. The installation promotes the situational resilience of life [in the desert]. Output: Burning Man installation, live video feed from the desert, an exhibition at the MaK Center in LA, a series of desert lectures, and an archive of the video/ photo/ written documentation.

Afro-Imaginaries in Harare, Zimbabwe

June 26 – July 13, 2017

Led by Mario Gooden

Taking Olalekan Jeyifous Africa 2081 series as a model, the workshop will explore "portraits" of liberation and collective action and the ways we think about urban imaginaries. This urban portrait of Harare, Zimbabwe and linking to other sites in the African Diaspora, will explore how the imagination, dreams of the future, and desire inform social movements and radical social practices embedded in the everyday life of cities. The workshop is a drawing and representation workshop and will extend the research and panel discussion of the 2016 Black Portraiture(s) Conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2016 on the discourse of Afro-Urban futures. The panel included scholars spanning the disciplines of architecture, art history, film and media, and psychology, transmedia, transnational, and diasporic conversations as we consider the last 40 years of urban engagement and change and think about how this might aid in mapping our Radical Black Imaginaries. The workshop will collaborate with Njelele Art Station in Zimbabwe led by curator Dana Whabira.

Justice in Place: Downtown Regeneration in the shadow of Urban Renewal in Hudson River Valley, NY

August 1 - 18, 2017

Led by Lee Altman, Justin Garrett Moore, Michael Murphy, David Smiley

The goal of the workshop is to lead an intensive community-based planning initiative in and on the City of Poughkeepsie. Poughkeepsie is a historic river town that was decimated by the era of urban renewal. It faces a unique opportunity of economic development and renewed interest however its values have not been articulated and its population is in need of partnerships and planning support. Today, for the city to thrive, it needs to overcome these scars as well as engage deeply with a community needs assessment. Our workshop will engage in this intensive work, immerse students in the community, and build on a year’s worth of design and planning studios accomplished by students at GSAPP in the city.

Heritage Sites of the Jordan Trail: Documenting and Interpreting 7,000 Years of Urban Living in Jordan

June 13 - 26, 2017

Led by Will Raynolds

This spring, the Jordan Trail Association will officially launch a hiking trail more than 600 kilometers long, connecting many of the historic sites and towns of Jordan. This summer workshop will conduct a rapid assessment of current conditions of the lesser known and largely unprotected historic sites along the trail and anticipate preservation, planning, and interpretative challenges associated with the ongoing development of the route. Focusing most heavily on the first 80km of the trail, which begins in the northern mountains, and traces the verdant slopes that flank the Jordan River Valley, participants of this workshop will visit a series of archaeological sites and historic towns. From Neolithic cave dwellings to Roman farming centers, from Byzantine churches to cities built by the Ottomans, as an ensemble, these sites provide an excellent cross section of thousands of years of continuous urban life. Through this field survey, as well as through stakeholder interviews and visits to sites further south along the trail, including the rock hewn tombs of Petra, the group will produce a small exhibit for the Columbia Global Center/Studio X in Amman, documenting potential challenges and suggesting future possibilities for the historic sites and living communities along the trail.

The Environmentalist Dilemma: Reducing the economic and social costs of a low carbon city in Madrid, Spain

New York: June 15-18, 2017
Amsterdam: June 19-20, 2017
Paris: June 21-22, 2017
Barcelona: June 23-24, 2017
Madrid: June 25-30, 2017

Led by Alejandro de Castro Mazarro

This workshop is conceived as a continuation of the research study “The costs of urbanization” developed at Columbia GSAPP in Spring 2016 that investigates which metrics translate between environmental, social and economic costs associated with urbanization. The workshop will use these metrics to test design-policy solutions for public spaces aimed to become flagship sustainable development areas of the city of Madrid. After an unprecedented shift towards sustainable development, the city of Madrid is developing an ambitious plan to shift its car and tourist dominated city center into a pedestrian, resident centered region. As part of this plan the municipality aims to reconvert five centrally located underground parking lots into green areas. However, the “greening” of these areas risks entering into social, economic, and environmental contradictions: it may require producing a great amount of demolition and waste, the disruption of residents’ life for a long time period, and huge economic costs for the city. In this context, the summer workshop will explore what design and policy interventions minimize costs and maximize benefits of the “greening.” While in New York, students will meet with leading design and policy groups working on sustainable urban development to discuss and learn about the environmental dilemmas that architects and planners face in renovating city fabrics. While in Europe, students will visit world renowned urban retrofitting offices and projects, and meet local representatives and urban rehabilitation experts applying solutions in Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and Madrid. Based on their field work and previous findings, students will create a design-policy proposal that minimizes the costs of urbanization, and present it as part of a public call for proposals made by the municipality of Madrid to renovate its public spaces.

Data-Mining China: Urban Village in Shenzhen, China

July 15 - August 12, 2017

Led by Travis Bunt and Danil Nagy

Studio X has been invited to be a core contributor to the 2017 Shenzhen Biennale, which will focus this year on the phenomenon of Urban Village in China. As evident in the name, the Urban Village is distinct from the surrounding city fabric, predating and then having been absorbed by the incendiary development of greater Shenzhen over the past three decades. Likewise, the human fabric of Urban Village is markedly different, a remnant of close-knit rural life preserved inside the larger city, and the last bastion of affordable housing for millions of lowly-paid migrant workers to the “Factory of the World.” Ostensibly starting with URBANUS’ exploration of historic Hubei village 15 years ago, the academic study of Urban Village has accelerated along with Shenzhen’s explosive growth. Its place in the popular imagination has followed close behind. Meng Yan and Xiadou Liu, the curators of the 2017 Biennale, intend to sponsor and showcase a comprehensive research effort to bookend this era of Urban Village exploration, and have invited a series of “academic partners” to play key roles in the effort. To kickoff Columbia’s contribution, the workshop will build upon the success of the Housing the Majority Shenzhen 2016 summer workshop and the Rural China Lab in 2016, which partnered with Shanzhai City and Future+ to experiment with new models of ethnographic and data-analytic research. Students will have the opportunity to learn and apply data-mining tools to perform a more comprehensive analysis of the urban village phenomenon. Simultaneously, they will have the opportunity to practice field research techniques (photo, interview, drawing) in key urban villages, such as Baishizhou (Housing the Majority site) and Nantou (UABB exhibition site). The student work over the summer will feed directly into Studio X’s exhibition at the Biennale.

Aging Tokyo in Japan

New York: July 17 - July 21, 2017
Tokyo: July 24 - August 4, 2017

Led by Adam Frampton

Due to the world’s highest life expectancy and lowest fertility rate, nearly one quarter of Japan’s population is currently over the age of 65. Japan’s population is shrinking and becoming more elderly. By 2100, Tokyo’s population is forecast to drop from thirteen million to seven million people. At that time, Tokyo’s population over 65 is expected to equal the “working age population” of those between the ages of 15 to 64, a radical shift in the proportion of those engaged in labor. This signifies a fundamental transformation in not only social and economic structures, but also urban form and architectural typologies of housing. During the summer of 2017, in collaboration with faculty and students from Waseda University, Aging Tokyo will investigate the future of Tokyo based on shifting demographics and longer human lifespans. The workshop will observe how aging currently impacts the city and its periphery, identify broader trends and opportunities, and locate specific sites and case studies that reveal critical challenges facing the future of Tokyo. The workshop will focus primarily on new forms of housing instigated by aging, but also touch upon broader issues such as mobility, leisure, and de-densification. This workshop will be the first in a series of two and is anticipated to eventually culminate in a publication.