UNBOXED, Option Design Studio, Spring 2010 & 2011, Cornell University Department of Architecture
Studio Instructors: Dana Cupkova with Lise Anne Couture
The UNBOXED studio attempted to reconsider the architecture of the Big Box art museum and examine a relationship between the general container for art and a notion that art needs complete neutrality as its background. It was taught as a two part series in the spring semesters of 2010 and 2011. Despite the recent explosion of extravagant formal expressiveness in contemporary museum building design in the last decade, the myth of the white box ideal remains. The notion that art needs complete neutrality as a background is still coded in the formal and organizational rules of institutional "modernity". Our focus was on negotiating the tensions between the container and its urban context; the container and the contained through understanding of subtleties of performative variations in architectural systems, as well as investigating organizational strategies, which offer more of distributed network potentials rather than the traditional enclosure. The goal was a creation of a new gradient for public space fused with the site, while addressing specific curatorial philosophies and artistic practices that are current today or have yet to be discovered.