Do-It-Anyway: Place, Tectonics, and Time [M1]

In this studio, students will design and fabricate a project at one-to-one scale in the space of seven weeks. Why?

We are living in an unpredictable and volatile era. A seemingly unending series of natural disasters and anachronistic wars affect our daily lives. The places we inhabit may be unstable or mobile—a trend that will accelerate in the future—and we are expected to quickly adapt to a changing environment.

In this situation, we must question the traditional status of architecture as a stable occupant of real estate. Should we instead imagine ephemeral, temporary, or transient architectural artifacts? How could forms and techniques of building be adjusted flexibly and spontaneously to adapt to new situations? How do these tectonic strategies respond to the specificities of place? And can these architectural ideas be used to address pressing contemporary problems including housing instability, economic inequality, and climate change?

This studio will address these questions through a hands-on project with a clear outcome and goals defined by each student in conversation with the instructor. With these goals established, students will design and fabricate a space or assembly at full-scale to put into practice their own concepts. As the studio designs and builds, we will examine and experiment with materials considering the constraints of time, ease of assembly, and cost. Typical building materials will be re-examined in addition to waste materials and other atypical materials. We will study and invent architectural details that circumvent the conventions of permanent installation and bonding. Instead, we will experiment with reversible processes of assembly such as friction joints, rope, straps, wedges, notches, and more.

The outcome of these tectonic experiments will be a space or assembly that engages the body. This could be a shelter, partition, or structure which can accommodate various daily activities.

Throughout the studio, we will discuss our methods of working, and how adaptable spaces and details can and should be used. At the same time, we will also work quickly and intuitively to reach a tangible conclusion. We will start with the conviction that something must be made, hence the theme of the studio: do-it-anyway.