On The Bri[n]ck: Architecture of the Envelope

On the Bri(n)ck: Architectural Envelope traces the historical development of a debate concerning the architectural envelope beginning at the end of the 19th century. It was then when new materials and technologies became available and began to inform architecture and discussions led in its behalf. Architects began to question the role mass-production should play in architecture, as well as they questioned the influence of new notation and construction—techniques available to develop and conceive of the architects’ work. Today these and similar questions gain a new relevance as the digital medium literally in-forms the conceptualization and production of architecture. A directed reading sequence of primary texts were used to encircle a spectrum of possible answers.

Assigned student presentations focused on the critical analysis of case studies of performative brick units through drawing, and writing. These short studies will prepare the development of each team’s brick manifesto, unit and envelope proposal.

This year the focus will lay on the production of brick prototypes using different casting techniques. The brick prototypes may range from super thin ceramic tiles, to rather complex three dimensional cooling/heating systems. The seminar will study how modular units can be adopted and transformed for diverse criteria contingent on digital design and fabrication tools.

Hands-on workshops on digital fabrication will supplement the analytic inquiry with the aim to produce first speculative performative brick-units and an envelope-model leading to a 1:1 built version using the latest CAD/CAM facilities of the school. The workshops associated with the seminar will teach Grasshopper, and MasterCam basics.

While reading, writing, and graphic analysis are important for the seminar, the major focus will lie on numerically controlled fabrication. The seminar-workshop suggests a method of research that bridges between the different practices of architecture and their significance to the modernist and after modernist history of brick. Prerequisites: Rhino modeling, some knowledge of Grasshopper, MasterCam are good but not required.