DSGN310 FA09: Third Year Architecture Studio

"Performance" of Building Skin Assembly

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Studio Statement

"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 in architecture fueled by the proliferation of sophisticated structural, environmental and visual computer simulations re-ignited the interest in building performance. However, this 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 a response to the audience and to the context. So does the performance of a building.

This studio aims to examine the complex nature of building 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. This semester, our focus will be on the building skin assembly in relation to the performance of light.

The studio will follow the general course assignments and structure of the Third Year Studio. However it will be supplemented with incremental assignments specifically tailored for the goal of this studio.

The First Phase of the studio (duration: 4 1/2 weeks) will begin with a design and construction of “Light Filtering Device.” The observational records of its phenomenal performance will be documented and appreciated as “Light Drawings.” This exercise forms the conceptual basis for "Re-thinking the Percival-Stern" building facade as a light filtering device, a communal Third-year assignment.

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The Second Phase of the studio (duration: 10 weeks) will be an urban infill project of a modest complexity, a communal Third-year assignment (TBD). Emphasis will be placed on the following in addition to the continuous exploration of building skin as a light filtering and view framing device:

  1. design analysis in site scale,

  2. design development in architectural scale as well as human scale

  3. design integration of building systems (structural, environmental and material systems)

This studio will require an extensive use of both, traditional form of modeling as well as computer modeling. Google Sketch-Up will not be accepted. The interface and data structure does not lend itself for a precision modeling. It is not suitable for a sophisticated design exploration and fabrication required in this studio. You must be willing to learn and use one of the following 3D software; Form Z, 3D-Max or Rhino. Basic skills on Adobe Suite (Illustrator & Photoshop) will also be required.

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

Ft. Worth Modern, Ft. Worth, Tx

Ando and Associates                                              ©Tsubaki