I_Typologies

In his 1977 paper “The Third Typology”(Hays 1998) Anthony Vidler introduces the reader to a history of typologies that “serve to legitimize the production of architecture”. According to Vidler the first typology emerged in parallel with the Newton’s Laws in the early 1800’s and idealized an architectural genealogy derived from natural forces and originating from “a model of primitive shelter”. Vidler’s second typology coincided with the mass-production and machine efficiency of the second industrial revolution. Deferral to the order of “nature” within the first typology was usurped by “the nature of the machine.” Architecture of the second typology (comprised of its constituent parts) was assembled to efficiently and systematically operate on its inhabitants.

Vidler then identifies the emergence of a third typological system that is in and of itself. A typology derived from “the nature of the city itself, emptied of specific social content from any particular time and allowed to speak simply of its own formal condition.” The third typology builds on “the continuity of form and history” through the recomposition of “fragments”. Rather that concern itself with a lineage of historical forms or program types, architecture of the third typology builds on the accumulated space-form experience[1] of the city.

Commencing with Vidler’s third typology as a point of discussion Adapturbia will speculate and project recombinant architectural forms on the suburb. The framework established by Vidler allows us to experiment within the increment of the suburban allotment employing “typology as a productive method for architecture”(Jacoby et al. 2007). The superimposition of new market structures, reprogrammable and adaptive form and the localization of urban life will allow us to anticipate alternate architectures for suburbia.

As the semester progresses the studio will proceed from analysis of archetypal[2] suburban housing to reiterative prototyping[3] of possible future models. Reiterative typological design processes employed will interrogate the studio problematic and be recorded by individual students as a genealogy of mutations and transformations.


[1] My term, after the subject-view expounded in The Image of the City (Lynch, 1960), Collage City (Rowe 1978) and more recently Recombinant Urbanism (Shane, 2005).

[2] The Archetype is an ideal model or accepted pattern type from which the same kind are emulated or copied.

[3] The Prototype is an experimental model developed to test ideas on the premise that a level of failure will inform the next iteration.

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