All architectural archetypes contain the DNA of memory and are based on basic shapes or derivatives of circle, square, rectangle, triangle with their sheer limitless geometric potential. Vitruvius conceived the evolution of form beginning with the primitive hut in his multi-volume work, De architectura, an understanding shared the Enlightenment and published by Marc Antoine Laugier in his Essays sur l’Architecture in 1753. Providing basic shelter, the primitive hut contains the rectangle and the triangle in its ground plane and section.
The lineage of typologies continues to be explored by architectural historians. Siegfried Gideon, for instance, considered the evolution of the circle: “The circular structure […] moved from the primitive round hut through several intermediary stages to the cylindrical rotunda of the tholos: a form that had an unusual vitality and acquired many different meanings. The shape originally was related to chthonic forces. In the Roman era, it became linked with the cosmos through the development of the radiating form of the cupola dome.” (Gideon, p. 79) Considered more globally, the round building appears among the earliest structures in many cultures: as Neolithic mounds in various regions around the world, in the African kraal or boma villages, the Native American hogan and the teepee, the Aboriginal humpy and the igloo of the Eskimos, the structures of the Hakka or of the Ashoka dynasty found at Sanchi and elsewhere in Asia.
Architects, commissioning agencies, clients or builders determine form, function and program of architecture. Based on (historic) context and/or aesthetic decisions, architecture contains vernacular or monumental, sacred or secular, traditional or avantgarde design principles. Over millennia, architects and builders have continuously drawn inspiration from the past to inform the the present and future. To do so, memory has been a consistent building block in developing form. Memory connects us humans to our individual and collective pasts, whether they are of a pleasant nature or conjure up sadness and loss.
In examining the concept of cultural memory, renowned literary theory scholar, Aleida Assmann, recognizes two basic configurations: metaphors of space and metaphors of time, concluding that “the media of writing, photography, and electronic forms of storage provide consecutive metaphors and models for the internal mechanisms and dynamics of memory.” (Assmann, p. 137) Indeed, the physical manifestations of our collective memory largely consist of art and architecture starting with the Paleolithic, 400,000 years ago. Some of these harbingers of the past are still standing while others have disappeared. Similarly, Marc Streib notes that “buildings and their remains suggest stories of human fate, both real and imaginary.” (Streib, p. 21) The vast archive of our cultural memory continues to be extant because residues of our past have been (re)discovered, recorded, analyzed, (re)visited and documented through the ages.
Buildings are storage houses and museums of time and silence. Architectural structures have the capacity of transforming, speeding up, slowing down, and halting time.
Marc Streib. Spatial Recall: Memory in Architecture and Landscape, p. 18
Architecture History Project: Typology, Memory & Place
A project of Dr. Christina Lanzl and her Architecture History 01 seminar students in the Department of Architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology, fall 2019.
Course coordinator: Prof. Anne-Catrin Schultz.
Architecture History and Theory 01 students: Zahra Ali, Spencer Asselin, Lenny Bamberg, Jordan Bembe, Sofia Bertine, Mary Bowman, Braeden Chan, Skylar Chardon, Carvens Charles, Coleman Conner, Reece Cortez, Emily Current, Dante Egizi, Ryan Estremera, Patrick Gould, Maegan Herd, Christopher Hudson, Calvin Johnson, Isabelle Morris, Royce Pease, Emilia Polanco, Ben Procter, Emily Quach, Casey Remillard, Paul Rudolph, Jona Sulaj, Gillian Valanzola, Amber Vuong, Anna Wason and Lexi Winston
Project focus was to investigate the dialogue on memory of place. Recognizing and analyzing architectural typologies, i.e. classifications according to general type, was an important aspect of the learning outcomes. Working on this objective, students selected a historic building for analysis. A corresponding, modern or contemporary building was chosen by each student that shares a typology or organizational scheme with the historic antecedent.
Students explored the layer of memory in sites ranging from antiquity to contemporary architecture. The task was to briefly lay out relationships concerning space, program, design or activity. Inquiries focused on various topics, including materiality, construction, scale, organization and hierarchy.
Assmann, Aleida. Cultural Memory and Western Civilization: Functions, Media, Archives. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Gideon, Siegfried. Architecture and the Phenomenon of Transition: The Three Space Conceptions in Architecture. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971.
Streib, Marc (ed.). Spatial Recall: Memory in Architecture and Landscape. New York: Routledge, 2009.
Congratulations to Agustina Woodgate who is featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Agustina was a team member of the Kulturpark Berlin team just a couple of years ago. Kudos also go to Anthony Spinello of Spinello Projects in Miami, the master mind behind our outreach and grassroots fundraising campaign. We overcame great challenges along the way but prevailed thanks to the incredible support of an amazing community of creatives on both sides of the Atlantic.
Agustina ran the Kulturpark radio station during our Kulturpark project at the Spreepark, the abandoned theme park in Berlin's east. The newly developed master plan for the park envisions the first culture park in Europe––a vision we initially developed. She has been continuing to broadcast worldwide via her radioee.net.
Download the 2019 Whitney Biennial Press Release.
Save the Harbor / Save the Bay bestowed its annual Boston Harbor Heroes awards at a gala evening held in the grand ballroom of the Seaport Hotel on March 29, 2018. Among others, the South Bay Harbor Trail Coalition was honored for its "vision, tenacity and commitment to connecting Boston's neighborhoods to Boston Harbor and each other." Under the leadership of coalition founder, Michael Tyrrell, the team of David Giangrande, Christina Lanzl, Ann McQueen, Tom Parks, the late Bill Pressley and his wife Marion, Candelaria Silva and Bob Wells envisioned the South Bay Harbor Trail (SBHT) as part of a larger trail network that connects the Southwest Corridor Park from Jamaica Plain to the Boston Harborwalk downtown and in South Boston. Buoys salvaged and reconditioned by the US Coast Guard serve as markers and a playful reminder of Boston's rich maritime history. Main goal is to reconnect communities divided by major traffic arteries via an easily accessible, multi-use bicycle and pedestrian path. The first of a series of SBHT Buoys was dedicated along the Harborwalk in Fort Point Channel in November 2008. Funding for public art planning along the trail was provided by the Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust Fund of the City of Boston. Other funders include the ISTEA program, MassDOT, the New England Foundation for the Arts as well as private donors. Overall construction of the SBHT is underway as of spring 2018.
About the South Bay Harbor Trail
The South Bay Harbor Trail Coalition, in partnership with Save the Harbor / Save the Bay, municipal and state agencies, partnered to plan and build the 3.5 mile-long, multi-use South Bay Harbor Trail which, when completed, will connect Roxbury, the South End, Chinatown, Fort Point Channel and South Boston to each other and to Boston Harbor.
The South Bay Harbor Trail is one of the most important and exciting initiatives in the city connecting our inland neighborhoods to Boston Harbor. The Trail will link people to the recreational resources of a revitalized Boston Harbor and to the economic opportunities of a prospering waterfront. Residents from Boston’s diverse neighborhoods will have the opportunity to share in a cultural exchange.
The South Bay Harbor Trail will provide an important link in the larger transportation network by connecting with existing streets and trails such as the Southwest Corridor and Melnea Cass Boulevard. It will also serve as a critical link in a citywide greenway, connecting trails from Fenway, the Southwest Corridor, Charles River Park, Broadway Bridge, Fort Point Channel and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
The South Bay Harbor Trail Coalition includes community groups, environmental organizations, the City of Boston, property owners, developers, and residents. It is governed by a steering committee which is comprised of coalition members representing every neighborhood through which the Trail will pass. The Coalition receives organizational, fundraising, and technical assistance from Save the Harbor/Save the Bay.
The Coalition worked together with Pressley Associates, a Cambridge-based landscape architecture firm, and Design Consultants Inc., a Somerville-based engineering firm, to develop the engineering and design master plans that will link various completed segments of the trail into a contiguous, single trail system/experience.
Wentworth Institute of Technology | Spring 2018 Faculty Showcase
Watson Hall | March 15, 2018
Wentworth Institute of Technology organizes the annual Faculty Showcase to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of faculty. Fifty faculty showcased 34 examples of excellence and creativity with teaching, scholarship, EPIC, grants, sabbaticals, and interdisciplinary collaborations. Organized by the Provost Office and Learning Innovation & Technology, participants hosted information tables to illuminate services and resources.
Dr. Christina Lanzl, Adjunct Professor of the Department of Architecture and Director of the Urban Culture Institute presented Placemaking in Action: EPIC Making in the Classroom. The exhibit offers documentation, outcomes and insights in the power of interdisciplinary, collaborative learning. Surveyed are three seminars from the past two years that focus on placemaking and art-in-architecture, an investigation of urban placemaking within a hands-on learning platform that combines theory with the making of successful places on and off campus. Focus and outcomes are cultural mapping, idea competition and exhibition projects developed by Wentworth senior and graduate students (two funded by EPIC Mini Grants).
Architecture student Shuxin Huang, Dr. Lanzl's spring 2018 co-op student, assisted. Thank you to Don Tracia, Tes Zakrzewski and the entire Provost Office and Learning Innovation & Technology team for incredible support.
Christina Lanzl and Anne-Catrin Schultz presented a faculty lecture on placemaking, which introduced the Placemaking Manifesto, which they co-authored and issued together with Robert Tullis and members of the Boston Society of Architects/AIA Placemaking Network in fall 2017. Lanzl and Schultz highlighted placemaking principles outlined in the Manifesto by discussing a series of case studies from their professional practice.
The Lunchtime Conversation faculty lecture series is coordinated by Associate Professor Antonio Furgiuele, Department of Architecture within the College of Architecture, Design & Construction Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts.
The World Metrorail Congress Americas took place at The Inn at Penn Station in Philadelphia on June 28 and 28, 2017. The conference surveyed strategic discussions related to light rail planning and management in metropolitan areas. Sandra Bloodworth, Director, MTA Arts & Design, Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City chaired the roundtable, Ridership Engagement: The essential role of art and design in engaging your ridership and communities. Presenters included Katherine Dirga, Program Manager Arts Administration of MARTA in Atlanta GA, Elizabeth Mintz, SEPTA Director of Communications, Philadelphia artist Ray King as well as Caitlin Martin, Media Communications Manager of the Association for Public Art in the conference city. Christina Lanzl of the Urban Culture Institute’s contribution to the conversation focused on questions related to placemaking in transportation planning:
The City of Boston is the proud home to one of the oldest public schools in the country: the Mather School. This exciting Green Space Improvement Project will result in the creation of a permanent public art installation with surrounding landscape improvements. The permanent project will be located at the Church Street entrance of the building. The area is highly visible, very active and serves as an important bridge between the school and the surrounding neighborhood. The aim of the project is to transform the existing greenspace and its surroundings into a more welcoming, comfortable public site and functional school entrance.
A search to find artists/designers for this project is currently underway. Artists, designers or teams comprised of an artist and a landscape architect are invited to forward their qualifications for this exciting public art and improvement project by May 22nd. As this is a historic site with many uses, collaborative teams of artists and landscape architects or a landscape architect with expertise in public art are particularly encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to local and regional applications.
This project is a collaborative effort between the City of Boston's Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust (BF), the Boston Art Commission (BAC), the Boston Public School Department, the Mather School Parent Council, and the Art Selection Committee of the Green Space Improvement Project. Christina Lanzl of the Urban Culture Institute is facilitating the project.
A $200,000 budget is anticipated. The project will be funded in part by the Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust Fund, a public charitable trust administered by the City of Boston Trust Office. Three shortlisted finalists will receive $3,000 honoraria for initial concept development and presentation.
Deadline for submission of qualifications is May 22, 2015 at 1:59pm EST. The full Request for Qualifications (RFQ) can be downloaded here. Contact Christina Lanzl, Urban Culture Institute, with questions related to the project.
Having lived in the northern parts of the world, some of my best memories are of delicious summer picnics at scenic locales with friends or family. Of course, ants and other critters can overshadow these outdoor idylls, turning mishaps into anecdotes, retold as memorable stories at future occasions. My passion for eating outdoors stems in part from the depravations of the urban dweller lacking the amenities of a balcony, patio or garden. Hence, being invited to a potluck dinner at Open Room Austin by Susan Lambe and her team at Art in Public Places during a visit was a dream come true.
On approach, the spot's visual stimuli triggered many wonderful associations. I reveled in richly layered memories of childhood years spent in the verdant Bavarian countryside, visualizing our family home’s big garden and my grandfather’s farm orchard, where we picked fruits and berries all summer. To this day, I relish the inimitable taste of freshly picked, sun-warm strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and boysenberries or, roaming through the forest to pick wild blueberries for cakes and baking, lingonberries for preserves and chanterelles for dinner. Climbing up trees, I savored the crisp apples, juicy plums, pears and delicious cherries – my favorite – straight from the branches. Or how about those first radishes pulled from the ground and the carrots washed in the rain barrel for immediate consumption? There’s nothing like it.
These thoughts passed through my mind as I was entering Austin’s well-appointed, public living room in a small park, surrounded by young trees that have to grow for another decade before casting shade on hot days. Having chosen the amenities of the city, the cultural richness and urban creativity over my former rural existence, I cherished this possibility of sharing a comfortable outdoor experience with others.
Like a scene out of a fairytale, a long dining table covered with a white lace tablecloth invites to be seated. Fabricated in powder-coated steel, the delicate fabric being frozen in rigid metal adds to its wonder and charm. At the four corners of this imaginary room, elegant, seven-arm chandeliers in matching color frame the ensemble. Realized by Miami-based artists Rosario Marquardt and Roberto Behar, the design responds to my own perpetual desire to find harmony and sense of place. This surely is a setting I want to revisit over and over again, probably like many neighbors and out-of-town visitors who happen upon the Open Room in this newly built park next to a new neighborhood on the north side of Austin’s Lady Bird Lake. If Open Room was mine, the only thing I would add is a little hedge or a white picket fence at the park’s edge for more comfort and as delineation for passing traffic.
On this balmy, early winter evening the warming rays of the Texas sun provide perfect outdoor conditions for a social gathering. About twenty artists, architects, planners and residents had followed the invitation to join this evening of food and conversation hosted in my honor. Two photographers capture the scene, Philip Rogers is one of them, a brilliant photographer known for his portraits of artists, on leave from his native Maine over the winter. As I look at the faces in his photos, I fondly remember our shared stories of successes and challenges similar to those of other cities I traveled to.
Two artists at the table recently designed bike racks, engendering Austin’s reputation as a forward thinking city that supports sustainable and creative life styles, while fostering innovation in design, public health and leisure activities. A muralist looks to work on more public art commissions. Concern is voiced over an ongoing public debate questioning the expense of a public art commission in the form of a security wall at the nearby electrical substation. With the richness of conversation, the potluck dishes in the center of the table remain mostly untouched until someone begins passing a few bowls. Eating seems less important, here and now, though someone tells of recent barbeque feasts.
As the sinking sun paints a glowing sky, our conversation turns to quiet reverie. A vivid palette ranging from deep orange to lavender marks the end of the day. Birds are singing their last evening song. Calm and gratitude for this lavish display of nature makes me feel at peace with the universe. The air turns chilly, so we bade our goodbyes, feeling richer and happier for what we shared.
Urban Culture Institute
The Urban Culture Institute