Diploma 9 - The Room is the Universe
Natasha Sandmeier

The unit brief and prospectus statement back in September suggested that we were going on a journey of scales – working between the realms of the room and the universe to find ways of describing one through the other. We began the year thinking about the fragments of cities we would collect to put in our wunderkammers, using them to create stories and routes to reconfigure and effectively create new cities and contexts. Ultimately we discovered that at certain points in time, a room doesn’t represent the city, it is the city.

As architects we read cities through form, and as much as we may be obsessed with objects, often designing cities by arranging icons, the reality is that we experience the city from the inside out. It is the interior, as a collection of rooms and spaces that define a city.  

Diploma 9 worked on a selection of era-defining interiors, such as Studio 54, Warhol’s Factory, the Barcelona Pavilion, Cabaret Voltaire, Schwitters’ Merzbau and others. Within these we examined their spaces as well as their cultural legacies. Our goal was heroic: to spend an entire year working on a single room. We took this ambition to an extreme and developed not only a single room serving as a larger thesis, but also a single, definitive drawing developed in order to describe the universe within this interior. Elena’s room is a narcisist’s city that follows its inhabitant much like the eyes of a portrait. Antoine’s blockbuster movie distils an elaborate alternative world of Mies. Manijeh’s cyclical quest for urbanity folds one room inside another. Geoffrey empowers the frame to define both his interior and the comic. Through each of these examples, architectural proposals can be seen to seek broader cultural context as well as depth, revealing along the way how the complexities of architectural imagination are reducible to single, self-contained worlds. 


Special thanks to

Belinda Flaherty
Marilyn Dyer
Javier Castañón
& TS team
John Noel
Alex Kaiser
Peter Keiff & team


Many thanks to our critics and collaborators

Ann-Sofi Ronnstag
Barbara Ann Campbell-Lange
Charles Arsène-Henry
Chris Matthews
Christopher Pierce
Fenna Haakma Wagenaar
Francesca Hughes
Goswin Schwendinger
Greg Ross
Jenny Jones
Kenny Fraser
Madelon Vriesendorp
Maria Fedorchenko
Marina Lathouri
Mike Weinstock
Miraj Ahmed
Oliver Domeisen
Shin Egashira
Shumon Basar
Stefano Rabolli Pansera
Stuart Dodd
Tobias Klein
Thomas Weaver
Tyen Masten