The Brunelleschi – Florence Studio ‘Re-Interpreting Masterworks’

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Rene Tan and RT+Q Architects

Studio Overview

This design studio focuses on the great Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi
(1377-1446). It is however, not a history course about the life or works of Brunelleschi, but
a design studio that studies the design principles of Brunelleschi’s works and their
relevance today.

The setting is Florence, the project is the Galleria del Mondo, and context is the Uffizi.

Studio Objectives

The objective of the studio is to familiarize the student with the works of Brunelleschi and to examine why the design principles are still relevant and how they can be reinterpreted and applied today’s design challenges. Students will study and understand Brunelleschi’s principal works and re-interpret their values, No study of architecture is complete without some grounding of Brunelleschi, his influence in architecture throughout history and the era he is from.

Studio Assignments

Students will analyse Brunelleschi’s buildings in both 2 and 3 dimensional forms. Students
will do graphic analysis, computer simulations and build models examining issues like
structure and spans, scale and proportion, hierarchy and order—and urban spaces.

Central to this studio are the 5+1 canonical works of Brunelleschi—1) the Cupola of the
Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence; 2) the Ospedale Degli Innocenti, Florence; 3) The Pazzi
Chapel, Florence; 4) the Church of Santo Spirito, Florence; and 5) the San Lorenzo Basilica, Florence–PLUS 6) the codification of LINEAR PERSPECTIVE The studio will analyse, understand its contents, and re-interpret the relevant aspects to the studio design project.

Studio Design Projects

The design project for the semester is to design a ‘GALLERY OF THE WORLD’. Apart from the practical demands of form and program, the design project will also address issues of context, structure, construction, symbolism and metaphor.

Project 1 Sketch project – 1 week
Project 2 Reinterpretation, Transformation, Constructs and Structures – 4 weeks
Project 3 Galleria del Mondo (Florence Site) – 8 weeks

Studio Project Sites

The project site will be in Florence around the Uffizi.

Studio Design Themes

The studio will address themes like structure vs enclosure, place vs space, form vs
transformation. Other issues to be considered are: programmatic requirements, vagaries
of weather and demographic movements.

Studio Term Schedule

Week 1
Tue Jan 29 – Introduction
Thu Jan 31 – Issue Project 1
– Lecture 1: The Italian Renaissance*

Week 2
Tue Feb 5 – No class
Thu Feb 7 – Review Project 1
– Issue Analysis Assignment

Week 3
Tue Feb 12 – Review Analysis
– Issue Project 2
– Lecture 2: Brunelleschi*

Thu Feb 14 -Discuss Project 2

Week 4
Tue Feb 19 – Discuss Project 2
Thu Feb 21 – Discuss Project 2
– Lecture 3: Florence & Tuscany*

Week 5
Tue Feb 26 – Discuss Project 2
Thu Feb 28 – Discuss Project 2

Week 6
Tue Mar 5 -Discuss Project 2
Thu Mar 7 Midterm Reviews
– Review Project 2
– Issue Project 3
– Lecture 4: Rome*

Week 7
Term Break – Florence Trip* (see trip itinerary & schedule)
Mar 11-15

Week 8
Tue Mar 19 – Discuss Project 3
Thu Mar 21 – Discuss Project 3
– Florence Site Model Due

Week 9
Tue Mar 26 – Discuss Project 3
Thu Mar 28 – Discuss Project 3

Week 10
Tue Apr 2 – Discuss Project 3
Thu Apr 4 – Interim Review Project 3

Week 11
Tue Apr 9 – Discuss Project 3
Thu Apr 11 – Discuss Project 3

Week 12
Tue Apr 16 – Discuss Project 3
Thu Apr 18 – Discuss Project 3

Week 13
Tue Apr 23 – Discuss Project 3
Thu Apr 25 – Discuss Project 3

Week 14
Tue Apr 30 Final Reviews
(* lectures will be conducted by RT+Q Architects team)

Studio Deliverables & Expectations

Attendance, Sketchbook, Analysis, Models, Drawings, Design Project

Studio Grading Criteria

Design Originality, Design Ideas, Design Presentation

Studio Weekly Schedule

Tuesdays at SUTD studio; Thursdays at RT+Q Architects. The idea is to balance the
teaching of architecture between a classroom setting with experiencing architecture in an
urban context.

Studio Assignment Examples