Surprise Guests, Roman Ruins, and a visit to the Doctor’s Office.
The complexity of Abesses’s double-helix circular staircase demanded an extra day in class to discuss proper drawing conventions.
Wednesday was spent at the historic Arenes de Lutece. This amazing Roman ruin, which is nestled between 8-story apartments and a children’s park, is the setting for various public activities throughout the day and night. The students spent classtime understanding the complexity of the plan and drawing a site-section through the arena.
The week ended with tours of the incredible Maison de Verre. A wonderful architectectual historian ran us through the building with a rich collection of facts and hilarious commentary.
Thursday morning prior to the tours was spent discussion the next design charrette prompt. The historic nature of Arenes de Lutece is the perfect setting to challenge the students to pull from the lessons gleaned from work like Castelvecchio–where context and contemporary uses collide and are resolved through well-crafted details. Tara and I highlighted two paths for engaging a site like this. One, document areas with potential for growth that will not disturb the existing condition and use, and second, identify previous alterations (in this case a depressing chainlink fence) that currently take away from the experience. The students are asked to bring additional uses to the arena through strategic interventions.