Visiting Scholar Seminar: Robert Kirkbride

Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro
Seminar, 2 August 2004

This seminar presents an ongoing investigation of the historic relationship of architecture and memory through the Renaissance studioli of Federico da Montefeltro (1422-82), the renowned military captain and humanist patron. These small, image-filled chambers, whose use of trompe l’oeil crystallized a transformation in practices of thinking and making, reflect how the discipline of architecture has traditionally equipped the mind with metaphors for wisdom and methods for learning. While adapting this research for publication in book format, a series of fictional interludes are composed that complement the scholarly analysis, illustrating how the studioli might have been used in circumstances of diplomacy, dialectical inquiry, civil judgement, princely education and leisure. Several explorations in interactive media, conceived to demonstrate the mnemonic workings of the studioli, are also presented.

Robert Kirkbride’s investigations have centered on the interplay between the physical environment and such intangible agencies as habits and memory. He pursues several modes of architectural practice, from the design of permanent structures, furniture and temporary installations and exhibitions, to scholarly research and teaching. Kirkbride lives in New York City, where he is director of studio ‘patafisico and a corresponding editor for the Nexus Network Journal. A former Bogliasco Fellow, Kirkbride coordinates the Senior Thesis Studio in the Product Design Department at Parsons School of Design, and recently received final approvals for the environmental planning of a conservation subdivision along the Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Robert Kirkbride was a Visiting Scholar at the CCA in 2004.

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