Advanced Studio, Fall 2011: McCarter

  • Work by Xiaoyang Gui for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
    Work by Xiaoyang Gui for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
  • Work by Xiaoyang Gui for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
    Work by Xiaoyang Gui for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
  • Work by Xi Qiu for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
    Work by Xi Qiu for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
  • Work by Tim Scolarici for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
    Work by Tim Scolarici for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
  • Work by Lingde Jia for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
    Work by Lingde Jia for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
  • Work by Lingde Jia for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.
    Work by Lingde Jia for advanced studio taught by Robert McCarter, Fall 2011.

Advanced Studio, Fall 2011
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR LITERATURE: An Addition to Terragni's (Unbuilt) Danteum in Rome

Robert McCarter, Ruth and Norman Moore Professor

The studio program, an International Center for Literature, is a monastic enclave providing for both long-term residence by writers and scholars, as well as short-term symposia, serving as a new international cultural center where people come to write new works and to study how human history and thought are embedded in works of literature, as exemplified by Dante's The Divine Comedy. The program includes seminar rooms, auditorium, residences for fellows, dining hall, and, at its center, the rare literature library and associated reading room.

Students must create this new International Center for Literature as an "addition" to Giuseppe Terragni's Danteum, designed in 1938 and—for purposes of this project—presumed to have been built by 1940 at the northern edge of the ancient Roman Forum. The Danteum encloses three sequentially higher spaces, each referencing one of the books of The Divine Comedy: Inferno, a lightless room with black ceiling and downward spiraling floor and columns; Purgatorio, where the ceiling opens to the sky and the floor rises in a spiraling set of diminishing rectangular apertures and terraces; and Paradiso, a room open to the sky above, through the grid of glass beams, and to the darkness below, through the slots that cut the floor into blocks.

The studio begins with a sketch project that allows students to develop their own interpretation of a place for writing and literary studies, engaging and embedded in both past and future but only realized in the present. Following a field trip to Rome, they abstractly engage the studio program through a second sketch project, paralleled by disciplinary research in which they reconstruct Terragni's Danteum, in site model and drawings. These are used in designing and documenting the "additions" of the students' individual designs—the primary project for this comprehensive studio.