DSGN3100: Architecture Studio

Poetics of Material Assembly



"And you can make the same conversation with concrete. And you can make the same conversation with paper, or with papier-mache, or with plastic, or with marble, or any material that has its nature. And it’s the beauty of what you create that you honor - the material for what it really is. And never say that you use it in a kind of subsidiary way which makes the material itself wonder when the next man will come who will honor its character, you see."

Louis Kahn, “Lecture at Pratt Institute, 1973”

poetic |pōˈetik|  adjective.

of, relating to, or used in poetry: the muse is a poetic convention.

• written in verse rather than prose: a poetic drama.

  1. having an imaginative or sensitively emotional style of expression: the orchestral playing was colorful and poetic.

As you are already well aware from your past studies, architecture is first and

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Olivetti Showroom / Scarpa  Photo: Tsubaki ©

foremost, about finding spatial, visual and meaningful order within the seemingly chaotic world, that we inhabit. It is rooted in functional, technical, social, environmental and aesthetic considerations. Beyond satisfying basic human needs, architecture can evoke emotional and intellectual responses, employing the phenomenal qualities of physical constructs through masterful use of materials and meticulously crafted details. The pedagogical intention of the studio is to engage all of these fundamental design issues while stressing the engagement with physical materials and their expressive potential as assemblies.

The course employs two distinct modes of investigation, empirical and theoretical: The empirical focuses on the physical state of materials and assemblage. The condition will be methodically documented and qualitatively analyzed as a generative component informing the design process. The theoretical framework focuses upon speculative investigations of significant building precedents and their material assemblage. Digital media workshops addressing advanced performative techniques will be offered to supplement conventional means.

These methodologies are implemented in the form of discrete design exercises. However they will be explicitly encoded as an exploration on how to manifest the in-between spatial conditions into an architectural resolution. This is intended to instill new skills while fostering a kernel of ideas along the way, integrating these within the main design project.