Gideon Fink Shapiro
BA in Urban Studies/Architecture, Columbia University, 2004
Employment: Gabellini Sheppard Associates, Architecture and Design
Collaborations: Amorphic Robot Works, Simon Fink
Publications: DomusWeb, Abitare, Architect Magazine, Journal for the Society of Architectural Historians
My research explores the role of movement in modern architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture. Of particular interest are spaces in which movement is conceived both in terms of technical processes and kinaesthetic intuition, linking bodies in motion with buildings and landscapes that "perform" in several senses. At present I am examining the work of J.C.A. Alphand, the engineer and landscape architect who designed parks and squares during Haussmann's transformation of Paris in the 19th century. Brimming with new technologies and building materials of the day, these spaces-such as the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which was built in a former quarry-were imbued with a theatrical sense of artifice that reformulated the relationships between nature and culture and public space. Like the huge glass-and-iron exhibition halls and shopping arcades built concurrently, Alphand's parks contributed to a growing culture of visual display. They also functioned as an urban system or infrastructure concurrent with the new boulevards, sewers, railroads, and aqueducts. How was the efficient use of serial components balanced with site-specific expression? What kind of urban nature is projected here? How did these spaces transform not only the ground, but the image and identity of the Parisian public? And how do Alphand's meandering promenades, characterized by constant motion and ever-changing vistas, intersect with evolving theories of movement in architecture and urbanism?