The Dirty South

Masters' Studio with Jennifer Bonner



Dec '12 - Feb '13

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    2012 Fall Semester Review

    Freya Schlemmer
    Dec 26, '12 9:40 AM EST

    What takes place in Atlanta's underbelly? You might know a little bit of the dark side of our fair city, but  there are a multitude of overlooked phenomena hidden here. Beginning with the idea of a guidebook, TVSDesign Distinguished Studio Critic Jennifer Bonner mastheaded 14 graduate students in a studio titled the "Dirty South," which had the goal of looking at this city through the filter of the rap ideology of east coast/ west coast/ dirty south and translating this to the realm of architecture. Through an intensive process, the students eked out a number of oddities particular to Atlanta to formulate a new guide to the city, which will be published later this spring.

    This fall, each student identified a unique element of the city that they developed to propose an architectural problem and stance. Projects range from an addition to JJ's Rib Shack on Campbellton Road as an homage to Hip Hop; "Portmanteau": an aggregation of the world's busiest airport and the atriums made famous by Atlanta's own John Portman to create an Architecture of Quarantine; and a collection of Atlanta's geography of smells stored in a parasitic addition to the Marcel Breuer downtown ATL library.

    The Dirty South studio was what all the GA Tech archies were buzzing about during final reviews earlier this month. The studio was joined Dec. 4, 2012 by a number of archi-pros to compose the final review panel that included Rice's Bryony Roberts, TVSDesign Distinguished Studio Critic Volkan Alkanoglu, and the Dirty South's very own Mack Scogin & Merrill Elam of MSME Architects. The jurors provided critical feedback and raised valid questions to help push forward the guidebook for next semester, like: "How do you make an object in suburbia?"; "How can the preservation of smells influence form?"; and "How do you decapitate the post-modern building tops and replace them with (non-post modern) post-modern tops?"

    Visiting Jurors:
    Volkan Alkanoglu, TVSDesign Distinguished Studio Critic
    Merril Elam, MSME Architects
    Bryony Roberts, Rice University
    Mack Scogin, MSME Architects

    GT Faculty Jurors:
    Alan Balfour, Dean
    George B. Johnston, Chair
    Benjamin Flowers
    Lauren Hickman
    Laura Hollengreen
    Jude LeBlanc
    Stuart Romm
    Jack Pyburn


    Take a look at the dirt we've uncovered:

    Is this mail for sale? Freya Schlemmer unearthed the mystery of Atlanta's Mail Recovery Center (otherwise known as the Dead Letter Office).

    What goes on up there? Jennifer Lewis said "off with their head" to Atlanta's post-modern buildings.


    Want some Dirty South memorabilia to take home? Annie McCarthy's collection of curious propinquities found on Buford Highway are on sale at the world's largest gift shop.

    Patrick Deveau's "Wish You Were Here" postcards make a cynical reference to Atlanta's displaced facades.


    How can you visit Atlanta without ever stepping foot into the city? With the help of John Portman, Ian Fralick has found a way.

    What goes on down there? Mary Coleman Rogers has revamped Atlanta's well-known Underground.


    Intimidated by the bright lights, heavy traffic and fast pace of the big city of the south? Sara Frederick creates a place for you where urban and rural lives collide.

    What's that smell? Cynthia Smith encourages tourists to follow their nose to the World's First Scent Depot: a new addition to the Marcel Breuer Library in Downtown Atlanta houses the city's smellscapes.


    What's good to eat? Katie Bouret establishes a new Flex-Code for restaurants to pop-up in Sweet Auburn neighborhood to launch a food culture in the parking lots.

    How do you make a landscape a landmark? Claire Pardo revives Atlanta's Piedmont Park for a contemporary World Fair. She positions a set of pavilions inside a new landform landscape.


    For the final review, the students took the panel on a guided tour through the city by unveiling the oddities we discovered this semester:

    Kasia Zycinska sells the panel on a new "Average" Atlanta Home.

    Bryony Roberts follows Dana McClure's lead through the Museum of Forgotten Art.


    Mack Scogin of MSME peers into Cynthia Smith's parasitic addition to the Marcel Breuer library.

    "Smell Jars" containing the scent of Atlanta's newly defined icons waiting for the jury to take a whiff.


    Merril Elam (left) takes a sniff of the sweet, BBQ infused aroma from "JJ's Rib & Rap Shack: An Homage to the Dirty South." Volkan Alkanoglu (right) studies the ingredients that compose the scent of Emily Tuttle's watering hole--a giant reservoir in the heart of the city.

    Ian Fralick unveils his Portman-inspired concoction, leading the critics through a maze of airport terminals, MARTA train stations, and Portman tunnels.


    Annie McCarthy shows the critics where you can find souvenir treasures at Buford Highway's World's Largest Gift Shop.

    ...stay tuned for the publication of the Guide to the Dirty South this spring!

    • 1 Comment

    • wow. really interesting idea for a studio...

      Dec 31, 12 4:46 pm  · 

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