3501 FA08: Architectural Design Studio IV  

Building Performance Studio

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"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 perforation 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 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 of the temporal-spatial (phenomenal) quality of a physical construct as they develop technical proficiency in the design process. We will focus on the Tectonics of Structures as it relates to Performance of Light this semester.

The first phase of the studio (duration: 4 weeks) will engage in a group research on building precedents and individual building analysis. Interpretation of the analysis and construction of a “Light Filtering Device” will follow. The observational records of its phenomenal performance will be documented as “Light Drawings.” A discourse on architectural diagrams as a generative tool will serve as a transition.

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The Second Phase of the studio (duration: 11 weeks) will be an infill project of modest complexity focused on the structural systems and the envelopes. We will engage in designing the New Roof Structure for the existing Texas Tech Swimming Pool, a communal project for the 3rd year. In particular, the performance of the roof assembly as a “Light Filtering Device” will be examined, as the interplay of light and shadow is a crucial to the materiality and the tectonics of the building.

Field trip to Dallas / Ft. Worth metro area to visit the following institutions, renowned for the way the buildings embody light will be required: The Rachofsky House, Nasher Sculpture Center, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum

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 precise construction. It is not suitable for a sophisticated design exploration / fabrication required in this studio. You must be willing to learn and use one of the following 3D software in conjunction with the Digital Media Course (ARCH3314); Form Z, 3D-Max, Rhino. Basic skill to use Adobe Suits (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.