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Practice : Fall 2008
newswoRThy ] Designing TogeTheR : a PaRallel sTUDio newswoRThy Designing Together: a Parallel studio about living in the américas Latin literature, rolling Mexican hillsides, and a fiesta in La Manzanilla invigor ate the design exploration of an urban Boston street intersection. Each passing person paused to look into the classroom on the fourth floor of 100 Massachu sett s Avenue. Pedestrians on the sidewalk below looked up into its window on the weeknights; a flurry of activity ensuing amidst vibrant stream s of crep e paper. Papeles picados — Mexican folk art cut into intricate patterns on colorful tissue paper—were strung from wall to wa l l, infusing the design sketches and free-standing models with Latin flavor. This was the working studio for Designing Together: A Parallel Stu- dio about Living in the Américas. The studio was taught by John Pilling AIA (Pilling and Smith Architects) and Luis Montalvo (BAC Director of Media Arts). BAC st udents, dubbed the Longst udieros, traveled to places within New England to view works of art and architecture, and met a nd collaborated with instructors of architecture and students from the ITESM campuses in Guadala- jara and Mexico City. The L ongst udieros undertook a design problem Involving housing and its associated public and private outdoor spaces. The proposed site included parc el 7 of the Massachusetts air rights bet ween Beacon Street and Brook line Avenue. To balance this st udy, the Longst udieros traveled to Jalisco, Guadalajara, and Mexico City. Back in Boston, design exploration through conceptual modeling was translated into concrete designs carried to a full schematic, including expression of structure, skin, and services. The method by which that design was investigated was to create a series of gestural models. Students assem- bled the material s into sketch models which they then criticized and edited into a new set of models. By drawing inspiration from their participation in the Fiesta de San Miguel in La Manzanilla, incorporating journal notes of Mexican landscapes and reading the great works of Latin literature, the L ongstudiero s f ashioned solutions to an urban, Boston- centric problem . The studio had a captivating and vital approach: engaging in other cultures, learning from them, and discover- ing the many underlining similarities of human existence and urban planning through design exploration. left to right: Fiesta de San Miguel in La Manzanilla; Students sketch from a terrace at Gilardi House, Mexico City PRaCTiCe 27