The Dirty South - New Orleans

Masters Studio with Jennifer Bonner

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    The Dirty South, Fall 2014

    Stefann Plishka
    Dec 23, '14 5:08 PM EST

    The second installment of Jennifer Bonner’s “Dirty South” studio at Georgia Tech's School of Architecture immersed itself in the culture and history of New Orleans. Continuing the analogy of East Coast/West Coast rap wars in the 1990s and the emergence of the Dirty South artists Outkast and Goodie Mob, the graduate studio pushed forward the unique identity of Dirty South architecture. From the French Quarter to the Garden District and 9th Ward to Algiers Point, we criss-crossed the Big Easy looking for patterns, peculiarities, and idiosyncrasies. Using the framework of a guidebook of B-side tours, members of the studio established research questions to explore and expose the unique conditions of the city.

    Our sojourn to the Crescent City illuminated nooks and crannies ready for architectural delight. From mis-using Charles Moore’s Piazza d’Italia with a new streetcar depot to erecting a labyrinthine bureaucratic skyscraper on the city’s highest and driest point to creating an “under the bridge” venue across the Mississippi River for Bounce music, our projects attempted to shed light on a city with many shadows.

    During Georgia Tech’s final review week, critics representing East and West Coast architecture faced Dirty South architectural critics in vibrant, dynamic conversations about the work produced in the studio. Theorists, practitioners, and academics, the critics brought insight to topics such as “How does ‘A Land-based Water Tour’ arrive at reservoir urbanism?”, “How can reappropriation of ‘Terminally Unwonted’ monuments help the South deal with its awkward history?”, and “How can stacking and piling of the figure-ground produce an urban market?”. As occurred in the Hip-hop world, Dirty South architecture positioned itself as a voice with unique narratives and stylings, ready to rise up and make an impact.


    Visiting Critics

    William Downs, Georgia State University

    Jonathan Louie, Syracuse University

    William O’Brien, MIT

    Mack Scogin, MSME Architects


    GT Faculty Critics

    Volkan Alkanoglu

    Alan Balfour

    Amy Landesberg

    Lars Spuybroek



    Quentin looks to the figure-ground relationship to inform the form of suburban and urban markets by stacking and piling.




    Colin documents southern female icons, the spaces they inhabit, and makes a proposal for axonometric architecture "fit for a queen".


    Jessica recognizes a pattern of architectural misuse and questions what to do with Charles Moore’s Piazza d’Italia.




    Matt references the history of lifting homes and questions how the Lower 9th Ward might occupy the oblique.


    Clara embarks on a land-based water tour and arrives at a reservoir urbanism.




    Stefann wrestles with controversial southern histories, proposing to move all unwonted monuments south of the Mississippi River.


    Jessica works on a hospital of balconies for restorative healing in NOLA’s neutral ground.


    Christina points out the scattering of utilitarian pumping stations and develops labyrinthine variations on a bureaucratic skyscraper.




    Fasil remixes three genres of music (jazz, hip-hop, and bounce) and uses programmatic sampling and the comic drawing to tell new stories.


    Joanna obsesses over NOLA's snoball stands which leads her to the corner problem and the pharmaceutical solution.




    Andrew takes on the failed 1984 World’s Fair, Charles Moore’s Wonderwall, and the architecture of convention halls to insert a Black Market architecture.


    • zzzzzzzzzzz

      Interesting studio and I'm wondering why all the projects are rendered in that stark black-white-gray axon heavy graphic style. Is this a requirement for consistency across projects? Or are students simply pushed in that direction during desk crits?

      Dec 24, 14 6:26 pm  · 

      Jennifer Bonner's work uses the same graphic language.

      Dec 30, 14 9:54 pm  · 

      yeah so i noticed. its not a criticism just a question about representation. when i was in school they kind of pushed us towards things like minimal use of color, vector-heavy diagrams, etc but not to the extent that every drawing was this consistent across the entire studio- although i think it really works to communicate the ideas presented. wish i could sit in on a review sometime and ask about it directly.

      Jan 3, 15 4:03 pm  · 

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About this Blog

The second installation of The Dirty South studio with Jennifer Bonner at Georgia Tech takes on New Orleans. Using the legacy of Dirty South hip hop as inspiration within the framework of a guidebook of B-side tours, students investigated unusual patterns and idiosyncrasies in the city. Projects spanned topics from misuse of Charles Moore's Piazza d'Italia to reappropriation of the city's most controversial monuments to installation of an illegal auction house within the convention center.

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