Project Name

Classic Six

  • Data

    Classic Six. 2010. Floor Plans to Confections Patterns: Apartment House in New York City 1900-1914. Upper Main Gallery, Abrons Art Center, New York.

  • This project received the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship

Project Details

Drawing on the archives of the New York Public Library on “Classic Six” apartments, Tania Candiani conducted an interdisciplinary project, located in the crossroads between architecture, drawing, sculpture and clothing.

 Classic Six consists of Patterns, blueprints, floor plans, fabric, thread, oak tag paper, drawings, and clothing racks.

A project on dresses for the city, or buildings that become dresses. In Classic Six the artist converted the architectural plants of these buildings in cutting patterns. The project interweaves domestic narratives into the ever-changing cityscape and aim to investigate issues of home as a space where we feel safe. Using sculptural elements of architecture where public and private spaces are juxtaposed with such an intensely private space as the body, it establishes similarities between clothes and house walls –both as decorative elements as ways of enclosing oneself.

The “Classic Six” is a type of apartment buildings built before the First World War. Consist of six rooms: a hall, a formal dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen, one room for the servants, and 1,2 or 3 baths. The Classic Six is the most prized and less available properties in the city of New York.

These buildings are emblematic of an historical moment that marks a change in tastes and trends to be followed by the wealthy classes in terms of housing. A change which in turn will influence the way in defining the urban development of the city: as the middle and upper classes was shifting its residence to departments, architects were changing styles, sizes, layouts and distribution of spaces to meet or attract customers, so the architectural typologies had changed. This architectural design has generated, along with the greed of real estate speculators, the construction of buildings ever higher and more luxurious, and the adequacy of the norms of construction to permit an urban development typical of the city of New York and that defines it until today.

Many of the buildings categorized as Classic Six were demolished to satisfy the need of change in the consumer society which also applies to urban planning.

This project explores elements of how the city became what it is today. Using this as a starting point, the project more importantly delves into how our modern cities are shaped, what is the concept of a home in such a city and how space is becoming more and more of a rarity and commodity in today’s world.

A vital part of the project was to involve architects and students of architecture in an experiment to explore new boundaries of space. The aim to use a different entry point into the world of structural design – instead of beginning with functionalism and then moving into design elements, students were encouraged to, first and foremost, think about aesthetics, geometry and shape and then fit functionality within the provided constraints. Each student choose one particular sewing pattern from the series and fit an architectural plan within the chosen pattern.

Classic Six



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