The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture’s 2019-2021 Emerging Scholar in Design Piergianna Mazzocca has launched an online exhibition featuring the results of two design-research studios and one theory seminar completed during her two-year fellowship at the School of Architecture. The exhibition, titled Good, Well, and Better, unpacks the ways in which concepts of health are ingrained in architectural knowledge and how these ideas impact architecture’s production and reproduction, as well as its practice and theory.
The virtual exhibition opens Friday, April 16, and Mazzocca’s public lecture will round out the School of Architecture’s Spring 2021 Lecture Series on Monday, April 19 at 12:30 p.m..
“To study the medicalization of architecture means to excavate the traces and track the expansion of the medical jurisdiction inside the terrain of architectural methods and procedures,” Mazzocca said. “It means surveying the intentions behind every object, and the ideas behind every architectural typology, and how these reify the clues about illness, the pursuit of health, and the always elusive ‘common good’ we see embedded in the spaces we inhabit.”
Concerns with architecture’s representation of goodness and its biopolitical applications are at the core of the courses led by Mazzocca as the Emerging Scholar in Design Fellow at the UT School of Architecture; and the research conducted by Mazzocca and her students points to new forms of architecture that emerge when the concepts, norms, and practices that have been rendered invisible by the assumption that health is a monolithic universal good are put into question. The works collected in the exhibition present a survey of two American cities – Chicago and Austin – including 18 projects that address both city’s medicalizing processes, and one Lexicon exploring the expansion of medical jurisdiction and its implications in architecture’s history, theory, and practice.
The two formats that framed this research – the seminar and the studio – allowed students to approach the idea of the medicalization of architecture from the point of view of design, but also through the point of view of history and typology. Within these two formats, historiographic and spatial analysis were combined with a rigorous design approach to introduce, reinterpret, and reverse prevalent narratives and ways of operating in which an excessive pathologizing of space is present.
“As a fellow and young scholar, I find myself in the privileged position to question the inherited practices in architectural education where health is still accepted as an immutable universal value,” Mazzocca said. “The conversations and work that has emerged from my fellowship try to depict new considerations on public health that ranges from the scale of the object to the materials we use, but also to question of environmental justice, equity, and access to all.”
For more information about the research and exhibition, visit www.goodwellandbetter.com, and tune in to Mazzocca’s lecture “Good, Well, and Better” taking place Monday, April 19 at 12:30 CT on the Texas Architecture YouTube channel.
Piergianna Mazzocca, Mariam Adamjee, Jacob Dasuta, Kendall Fleisher, and Jingyu Xu.
Juan Acosta, Jenny Adair, Andrea Alvarez, Robert Anderson, Delaney Bannister, Alexis Benton, Gable Bostic, Rachel Deschner, Nicholas Foxx, Richard Gagle, William Hachtman, Amanda Hirsch, Ezekiel Jones, Laura Lancaster, Julia Martinelli, Roberto Martinez, Makayla Ponce, Amber Pufal, Gabrielle Rossato, Crystal Torres, Nicole Vice, and Emily Yoon.