Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Joseph Siry

Major

Art History

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, co-principals of New York City-based architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi, situate their practice at the intersection of power, landscape, and representation. If we view Weiss/Manfredi?s practice as probing into the edges of the architectural field, an examination of their projects as advancing a critical practice thus allows for a new understanding of their work. Though many individuals have discussed Weiss/Manfredi?s practice in terms of their interdisciplinary approach to design, their advancement of a critical practice in architecture remains largely unexplored. The intention of this thesis is thus to tell a larger story about Weiss/Manfredi?s engagement with critical practice through three of their projects. Whether this entails the critiquing of underlying power relations inherent to classical architectural form, in the case of the Women?s Memorial and Education Center at the Arlington Cemetery, VA (1989-1997), expanding the prescribed client?s program at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, Washington (2001- 2007) or elevating the layers of the site?s contentious past at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center (2007- 2012), Weiss/Manfredi seek to unearth the previously hidden or neglected aspects of a site?s context. In each of the following chapters, then, I ask how Weiss/Manfredi approach the conventions in the field of architecture. By what method do they reinvent the site of each project to advance a particular narrative? In what ways does that narrative acknowledge the latent histories of the project?s environmental context? And does the architectural solution suggest an alternative approach to the process of public memory?

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