ARC 301 Design Studio III: Tectonic Assembly
Subject: A definition of tectonics, as given in the discipline of geology, is: the formation [de·formation] of the earth‘s crust, the forces involved and the resulting forms. This morphological definition may be extendended to the design and construction of buildings with the distinction that the materials may be chosen in a selective aesthetic and technical process, the forces may be organized as intelligent structures, the construction methods are the effective pursuit of material creativity and technological innovation, the motive forces are the proposition and satisfaction of human needs and desires, and the resultant forms are expressions of human labor and culture.
Method: Conceptual and empirical examination of material properties and fundamental aspects of structure, roles of structure versus enclosure and anthropometric space, staging of materials in a construction sequence, and comprehensive design of a building by means of selective material technologies and careful examination of how the different building components are detailed and assembled in a coherent whole.
1. Understanding of material properties and development of material craftsmanship.
2. Understanding of structural capacity of materials in response to gravity and applied forces, and empirical development of structural-spatial creativity.
3. Understanding of construction sequence and effective inventive engagement of construction techniques.
4. Comprehensive application of knowledge in the design of a building seeking quantitative measures of physical efficiency: i.e., mechanical, structural, thermal, optical, etc.; and qualitative criteria of sensorial performance: i.e., auditory, haptic, kinetic, visual, etc.
Course Structure & Topics
This course will consider tectonics the expression of structure, materials and methods of construction. Tectonics will be explored abstractly and developed in a comprehensive context. Program interpretation and the mediation of site conditions will serve as design catalysts.
There will be three projects: the first is an introduction to tectonics and challenges students to develop an understanding of material formation / deformation through physical manipulation [2 weeks]. The Lyceum competition will be the second project; a blacksmithing studio [6 weeks]. The third project will emphasize the integration of tectonics and comprehensive design. The program will define specific needs for spatial adjacencies, circulation, lighting, ventilation and environmental controls, which must be resolved through appropriate use of materials, geometry of structure and external envelope, and internal configuration and partitioning of space [6 weeks].
Field trips to fabrication facilities will be scheduled periodically.
Field journeys will be required to induce first hand experience of exemplary buildings providing in-situ demonstration of material, structure and construction assemblies, as well as perceptual evidence of spatial and programmatic qualities.
Housekeeping: Activities in the field as well as maintenance of studio space shall reflect a creative yet respectful behavior.
All work products (drawings, models, material probes, notebooks, etc.) shall observe careful standards of craftsmanship, proper use of materials and equipment, economy of means and aesthetic intention.