This blog will serve as a platform that unites two parts of a large-group independent study co-taught with Professor Jose Gamez: one focused on designing and building a Tea House at Hodges|Taylor Gallery in Charlotte, NC, and the other focused on designing and building a Con/Temporary Temple founded on the tradition and reality of African American churches in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The purpose of this independent study, and what unites the two projects, is the influence of Visiting Artist Theaster Gates, Jr. at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte this semester (October 28, 29 and 30).
Readings will be found on the server, under the ClassFolders folder, within ARCH4050/6050_f09_Gamez.Wendl-TempleExercises.
The content and organization of this course occurs around a visiting artist’s presence on campus, making academic use of the particular knowledge and expertise of Theaster Gates, Jr. By incorporating the knowledge of this artist into the curriculum, it is believed that a more lasting and meaningful impression can be made upon the students – by their direct involvement with the same strategies and contexts that Gates is using. The organization of the course into two separate projects allows for a meaningful and well-researched design build opportunity for both the Tea House and the Con/Temporary Temple, and the alternate meeting times allow for interested students to participate in the design and making of both projects at their discretion. The focus of this course on real sites, real communities, as well as cultural and informative texts provides an opportunity to take knowledge and apply it to real material and cultural conditions and sites. This is a rare opportunity for students of architecture to design and build not out of ‘necessity’ or ‘service,’ but out of optimism and generosity of spirit, guided by a visiting artist, two professors, texts, and community input.