This studio aims to first understand the specific properties of iconicity. The iconic architectural object’s easy global legibility and transportability across borders has enabled it to become the dominant mode of contemporary architectural expression. However, these are the very properties for which global iconic architecture is often criticized. Detractors argue that it is a dangerously reductive approach that perpetuates the spectacle, producing architecture that is too easily co-opted by the forces of global capital. These critiques of iconic architectural form have produced two diverging positions: one that disavows the agency of form altogether, turning instead to problems of organization and ecology; and another that dives back deeply into material semantics concerning itself with the logics of intricacy and affect. Rather than attempting to escape the potential problems of iconic form by reproducing the strategies above, this studio will investigate the icon, interrogating issues such as clarity, reproducibility and transportability to develop a discourse of Iconomics. 

The investigations will require students to think broadly about the role architects can play as global practitioners through research and analysis, culminating in the formulation of a building to house the Americas Center. The Center, as an institution of global cultural exchange, proposes to construct an urban node that interfaces between the rich local culture of Bogota and the broader constituencies of the Americas through exhibition, performance and scholarship.


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