Complex Projects

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    On the fabric of the human body in seven books, Andreas Vesalius
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Studio Landmark (Fall 2017)

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 “A building does not have to be an important work of architecture to become a first-rate landmark. Landmarks are not created by architects. They are fashioned by those who encounter them after they are built. The essential feature of a landmark is not its design, but the place it holds in a city’s memory. Compared to the place it occupies in social history, a landmark’s artistic qualities are incidental.”

Herbert Muschamp



TUTORS: Albert Takashi Richters, Steven Steenbruggen, Alexander Pols, Stefanos Filippas


On a physical level, a city consists of an urban fabric and architectural features. The fabric contains various layers such as infrastructure, buildings, green zones, water bodies and public spaces. The features are singular buildings that stand out from the fabric and work as anchor points. In his book ‘The Image of the City’,

Kevin Lynch explains that people perceive the city by means of five predictable elements: paths, edges, districts, nodes (these make up the fabric) and Landmarks (features). Landmarks are defined as ‘readily identifiable objects which serve as external reference points’. Kevin Lynch’s study shows that Landmarks are essential for creating an awareness of ‘place’ and that they play a vital role in man’s navigation in cities.

What determines a Landmark, is that it exists by virtue of the environment it’s located in and its unique representation, otherwise it would be merely a building. So to understand the true meaning of a specific Landmark, it is important to first identify the contexts to which that Landmark relates.

Since Landmarks often are buildings of certain importance or impact, their ‘raison d’etre’ should always be comprehended before analyzing the building itself. Only then the meaning of the building’s intrinsic elements can be understood to the fullest; just as the engine of a car can be understood when taken into account that the car is a means of transportation. All the engine’s components, their movements, dimensions, materials and relations, have that one function. In the design studio we will dissect existing Landmarks via anatomy, exposing the basic elements that define a building or an ensemble.

Through their specific location, function and distinct architecture, Landmarks have become meaningful and recognizable. The city around has changed, but the building has remained and solidified its meaning. This fall, the Landmark studio will examine the rise of the European skyscraper. How did a building type, which originally developed out of financial and technological developments in de US, become an emblem of prosperity for the modern capital across the Atlantic? Studio work has to be seen within the context of the future growth of the city which faces the given site with certain challenges such as density, program, change and its image within the city.

In fall 2017, students will focus on VIENNA.

  • To join Anatomy of a Landmark FB group, click here