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AUS College of Architecture, Art and Design invited to exhibit at celebration of Da Vinci-influenced castle
The College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) has been selected among the world’s leading architecture institutions to participate in a prestigious exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Chateau de Chambord in France, which is widely believed to be influenced by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Invited by the national estate of Chambord, students and faculty from CAAD will be working on a design proposal for the Chateau (castle) during the fall semester to be featured in the exhibition Chambord 1519:2019–Utopia at Work, which will take place at Chateau de Chambord in April 2019. Their proposal has been shortlisted, and the CAAD team has been invited to participate in the exhibition with a select group of 20 other teams from high-profile architecture programs around the world.
Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Dean of CAAD, highlighted the significance of the invitation:
“For the Department of Architecture at CAAD to be counted among some of the world’s most prestigious architecture programs is a great honor and confirms the level of excellence that we continue to see in our students and faculty as both professionals and academics.”
Construction of Chateau de Chambord began in September 1519 when the first stone was laid of what is now revered as an architectural gem of the Renaissance. It is widely understood that Leonardo da Vinci, who died a few months before the start of the construction of Chambord, played an influential role in its design.
The exhibition aims to highlight the significance of Chambord and examine it in the light of its original intellectual, political and artistic Renaissance context and the Utopian worldview. These considerations and the influence of Leonardo da Vinci will be put into perspective through a display of drawings, paintings, models, objects, and also digital tools, in order to allow the public the opportunity to truly appreciate this monumental piece of architecture and capture its uniqueness.
Professor George Katodrytis, Head of the Department of Architecture at CAAD, said the submission by AUS students discusses the concept of Utopia—an imagined place or state of perfection—in 21st century architecture, and investigates modern themes found within the Renaissance relic of Chambord. The proposal also seeks to apply these to propose a new kind of Utopia that considers the environmental and ecological challenges we face today.
“The speed and obsessive production of architecture and urbanism in the 21st Century has generated multiple Utopias, yet none of them are avant garde, unique or worthy of attention. We have an abundance of non-space, that is, spaces without themes. As we inch further into the 21st century, it becomes evident that to achieve any form of Utopia, we must look at Utopia’s troublesome relationship with nature and the environment.”
“Our proposal aims to rethink the volatile relationship between the contemporary and climate change to create a blueprint for a new, ecologically driven Utopia.”
Assistant Professor of Architecture Juan Roldan is currently teaching an elective class titled Architecture and Utopia to develop the design proposal of CAAD’s participation in the exhibition. In this class, students will create design drawings, models and a video to be prepared to be exhibited at the Chateau de Chambord in April 2019.