Fashion and Architecture

Course Description

Vikram Prakash Autumn 2019

Course Description

Does form really follow function? Is abstraction the path to ‘truth’? Chthonic vs the tectonic. This experimental studio seeks to tap deep creativity to deconstruct architectural design thinking by intersecting with one of the most world opening disciplines of our times – fashion. Both fashion and architecture are modalities of design thinking, ways of cognating the intelligible and the sensory into a coherent work. In particular, they are both concerned with the work of interfacing the human body to the world. They both cater to a fundamental human need, they both seek to house the human body in a manner that is comfortable and expressive, they both require an intimate knowledge of materials and the craft of making, and they are both obsessed with the complexities of structure and appearance. They are both, in other words, body-axial ways of interfacing with the world; fashion is ‘near-body-architecture’, in that it is architecture, only close to the body, while architecture conversely can be conceptualized as ‘far-body-fashion’.

The objective of this studio will be to design a conceptual body of work indexed as far-body-fashion. We are interested in the l’avenir, the unknowable but inevitable, future of architecture. We will not prognosticate; we will take baby steps on a world opening path. A cross-disciplinary seminar on design thinking, with invited guests from other disciplines on campus, will be integrated into the studio.

Thus studio will use fashion to offer an opportunity to expand the possibilities of what it is to think architecture. For two Reasons:

1. Architectural practice is changing rapidly, and traditional ways of thinking architecture in the new digital age are going to have to expand and become more versatile and

2. Both fashion and architecture mediate between the human body and the rest of the world. Yet, architecture has a disdain for fashion, while in fact fashion in recent decades has far outstripped architecture in its creativity, imagination and response to the exigencies of the day.