Visiting Scholar Seminar: Jean-Pierre Chupin

"La scène emblématique de la Città analoga ou les avatars de l'imagination analogique dans l'oeuvre d'Aldo Rossi"
Seminar, 27 February 2004

Visiting Scholar Jean-Pierre Chupin presents his research.

The Città analoga has become again a legend. After being the title of a large painting exhibited at the 1973 Milan Triennial then being the provocative manifesto of a composite panel exhibited at the 1976 Venice Biennale, the Città analoga became the emblematic name of a series of drawings exhibited in New York in 1979. Since the publication of Rossi’s quaderni azzuri in 1999, we now know that this enigmatic expression was hiding a large scope of intuitions, and intentions, at the centre of which the project of an ambitious architectural treatise was germinating. Its table of contents went through various mutations from 1969 to 1981, when it was definitely “abandoned”. The metamorphoses of this book are linked to the difficulties of a research on analogy, which drove Aldo Rossi from an essay on the principles of architectonic composition, to the poetic silence of a mystical understanding of analogy, through a Jungian – and quite hazardous – redefinition of analogical imagination. The critical mapping out of this clearly visible, but literally “unreadable”, Città analoga reveals itself as a judicious material entry point for the study of the architectural intellectual scene in the mid-seventies. Contradictory theories, be they the criticism of the Tendenza or the ambitions of design methodologies, all point back to similar questions which are concerned with the role of memory, the obscure box of “methods” and the pedagogy of architectural design. Today, going beyond cultural debates and polemics between schools of thought, we need to produce a more global picture of the diversity of theories of design, as well as their underlying theories of imagination, in order to reach a better understanding of how and why the notion of architectural imagination is understood, alternately, as a “black box” and a “scientific” object, or even, at times, as an anthropological wager.

Jean-Pierre Chupin is Associate Professor at the École d’architecture of the Université de Montréal, where he is in charge of the Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle (L.E.A.P.), and is a member of the Institut de Recherche en Histoire de l’Architecture (IRHA). He was trained as an architect at the schools of architecture of Nantes (France) and Portsmouth (U.K.), and holds a Masters in the History and Theory of Architecture from McGill Universtity (1990) and a Ph.D. from Université de Montréal (1998). After teaching at the École de design of the Université du Québec à Montréal, at the architecture school of Toulouse (France) and at the architecture school of Lyon (France), he joined the faculty of the Université de Montréal in January 2001.

Jean-Pierre Chupin was a Visiting Scholar at the CCA in 2004.


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