“The City as a Project” PhD program is conceptualized to understand the city’s form as an act—or project—that defines a political intentionality. Thus establishing a precondition for engagement with the city’s complex nature. A fundamental issue at stake is the issue of form in relation to ideas of the political. The term city is here defined not as a mere mass of flows and programs but as a political form. The terms political and form are assumed to be the fundamental criteria that construct the essence of the city. If the essence of political action is the attempt to project a form of coexistence among individuals, it may be said that architectural form—by means of patterning, framing, and representing the space of coexistence—inevitably implies a political vision. Even if there is no political architecture, there is certainly a political way of making and reading architectural form. Far from being just an aesthetic category, physical form represents the political understanding of the city as a constant dialectic process of inclusion and exclusion. This commitment to formal and material responsibility is meant to be a departure from the laissez-faire rhetoric of flexibility, indeterminacy, programming, branding, hybridity, and immateriality that has paralyzed recent discussion on the city.
This program promotes a risky and rigorously systematic study that conjectures about the potential form the contemporary city can assume. It seeks and encourages participation of those architects who strongly believe in architecture as a valid instrument of inquiry and speculation. It also is geared towards persons outside of the discipline of architecture that are nevertheless interested in the use of architectural knowledge as a medium of criticism.
The program, headed by Pier Vittorio Aureli, is organized and structured as critical forum where participants are asked not only to pursue their individual studies but also to share these studies as part of a collective debate. Participation in this program requires attendance at monthly meetings and all related conferences, symposia as well as publications devoted to the theme of the project of the city.
Admission to the program is only by invitation.
Participants: Pier Vittorio Aureli (head of the program), Bernardina Borra, Amir Djalali, Fernando Donis, Maria S. Giudici, Platon Issaias, Hamed Khosravi, Christopher C. M. Lee, Francesco Marullo, Dubravka Vranic