House: Innovation in Design & Technology

TCourse Description: This seminar explores select architects\’ innovative construction of the single-family house. This course will focus on the design, technology, and management of these experimental houses and their building assemblies. Through project analysis, the class will investigate these explorations of building materials, prototypes, patented systems, and the transformation of conventional constructions.Weekly case studies will include works by Frank Lloyd Wright, Schindler, Neutra, and the 1950\’s case study houses of Eames, Keck & Keck. This seminar will also examine the designs for mass fabrication and customization evidenced in works by Gropius and Wachsmann\’s General Panel Houses, Buckminster Fuller\’s Dymaxian Prototypes, and numerous material fabricators\’ demonstration homes. Additional research will examine the wood, concrete, metal, and plastic manufacturers\’ sponsored technology transfer and applied research. The management of the differing innovations will be critically assessed, contrasting varying models of experimental and prototyping methods. Each student will develop and discuss a case study based on a historic or contemporary house prototype. Key strategies and innovations will be compared and contrasted with their historical precedents and their contemporary context. Pedagogic Objectives:Through the in-depth case study, each student is challenged to develop a framework of inquiry into the process of innovation. The integrated format of the design, technology, and management will demand a multi-disciplinary investigation, integrating design and management issues with building fabrication and construction. The students are challenged to expand their research to include current works in progress, accessing patent reviews, research labs, fabricators and manufacturers. Students\’ Time Commitment:In compliment to class presentation and discussions, select readings and field trips will be organized. The case study research will extend the full semester, demanding approximately 4-6 hours per week on research and discussion preparation.Basis of Final Grade:Grading based on class participation and the final research project.