DSGN1200 SU12 WK 5+6: Graduate Architecture Studio

Form, Space, Materiality and Performance of Light



"Nature in the form of water, light, and sky restores architecture from a metaphysical to an earthly plane and gives life to architecture. A concern for the relationship between architecture and nature inevitably leads to a concern for the temporal context of architecture. I want to emphasize the sense of time and to create compositions in which a feeling of transience or the passing of time is a part of the spatial experience."

Tadao Ando, From the Periphery of Architecture.

performance |pərˈfôrməns|, noun

1. an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment

2. the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function

A building performance is not simply a technical predictability of its structural and environmental behavior or an aesthetic legibility of the design ideas. It is an action, an ingenious response to various internal and external forces as they seek equilibrium through time. Recent technological obsessions fueled by the proliferation of sophisticated structural, environmental and visual computer simulations re-ignited the interest in building performance. However, the current trend tends to limit its potential by merely re-affirming the old functionalist thinking, predicting the predictable. A good musical performance has an element of surprise, an unexpected experience, as it is an intuitive, improvised response to the audience and to the context. So is the performance of a building.

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This segment of the summer studio aims to examine the complex nature of performance through focused iteration, cultivating student awareness to the temporal-spatial (phenomenal) quality of a physical construct as they develop technical proficiency in the design process. Our focus will be on the tectonic transformation of form and space in relation to the materiality and making. We will begin with a discourse on drawing as a projective tool. Series of skill forming exercises will accompany the discourse, culminating in the construction of plaster cast “Light Receiving Device” and its tectonic transformation into a basswood sectional model. The observational record of its phenomenal performance will be documented and appreciated as “Light Drawings.” A series of analytical diagrams of the device will accompany the drawings, establishing the conceptual foundation for the future iteration.

“Performance” is an empirical process of improvisation and adjustment through trial and error, a self-discovery process. “Student Performance” in the studio is also evaluated as such. Disciplined, self-directed recovery from a spectacular error is valued over mediocre success merely following the instructions.

Chichyu (Under-earth) Art Museum / Ando  Photo: S. Berger

Light Drawing / J. Morganstein

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