Diploma 8’s recurrent agenda of the Corporate Domain has always served as a device to approach architecture as a function of the city. The unit attempts to participate in the greater discourse of architecture as a language and maintains that such a pursuit can, and perhaps should, most urgently be reified by the built form. Adopting architectural theses on the structures of typology, complexity and concepts of form, the unit integrated what it considers the dominant constituent of the contemporary city: the Corporate Domain. Whilst initial research focused on the development of postwar corporate precedents, student projects dealt mostly with speculative proposals that questioned and problematised the current condition of the city, and an unstable and evolving notion of ‘corporation’.
With a body of projects developed under the same agenda during the preceding two years, current students were in a position to both exercise the brief and critically redefine some of its inherent assumptions. Beyond the unit’s tendency of understanding the Corporate Domain as an element or protagonist of architecture and the city, current projects affirmed the value of assaying such architecture as a complex series of relationships that are products and components of larger processes. Though fundamentally inclusive of social and cultural relationships, the primary connection between student arguments and their projects was placed at the level of form. Projects sought to challenge the idea of architectural form only as a process, in favour of a notion of architecture as a practice aimed at a discourse. This year’s student projects offered a brief yet incisive argument for a more descriptive architectural enquiry.
Pier Vittorio Aureli
Carlos Villanueva Brandt
Beom Kwan Kim
The Corporate Block
This is a proposal that will reclaim the relevance of the Haussmannian block by reforming the architectural significance of the city's infrastructural wall, in order to generate continuity in Greater Paris.