Nicholas Mattia

Nicholas Mattia

Chicago, IL, US


Big Urban Buildings

This studio examines the relationship between architecture and the city and in particular, the ways in which architecture can both inform and be informed by the city into which it intervenes. The studio’s main focus is on disciplinary questions of the relationships amongst typology, function, and form in urbanism. 

Contemporary cities are complex organisms that defy any easy analysis of singular characterization. They are composed not only of flows of capital, information, peoples , and resources, but also of the inert mass of streets, buildings, and infrastructure. The studio argues instead that architecture is an urgently needed element in cities and that it can uniquely provide them with defining new diagrams. 

This project explores urbanism through the examination and development of single buildings that, owing to their size, form, and urban impact, become themselves, urbanism. 

This project began with Fritz Hogen’s Chilehaus building in Hamburg. A series of formal manipulations based on site specific lines, produces the resulting massing.

This project occupies a large site in the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles, adjacent to the Los Angeles River. It is conceived in relation to the current plans for the river’s transformation. 

Los Angeles is a great city without great urbanism. While the structure and atmosphere of the city is compelling, its urban form remains an ephemeral promise rather than a concrete fact. The problem of urbanism in Los Angeles today is a problem of architecture, not planning. 

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Status: School Project
Location: Chicago, IL, US