This design studio focused on the complex operations involved in turning abstract architectural concepts into concrete building proposals. If one’s goal is to build architecture, it is necessary to move beyond surface appearances to understand the complex, and often hidden, material composition of buildings. One must learn how to negotiate between ideas and facts, charting a course that leads from conception to construction and, ultimately, to inhabitation.
Moving quickly from generative principles to implementable practices, the studio explored questions related to the production of architecture as building. Along the way we inquired into some fundamental questions: from what materials and elements are buildings made? What are the relationships between these elements? How many of them are involved in the construction of a space? Which ones remain visible and which are hidden? Why? Carefully considering these questions allow us to define meaningful criteria for making informed decisions during the design process, criteria that allows for the enrichment, rather than the debasement, of the architectural concept as it moves towards built reality.
The project for the semester was the design of two variations of an early childhood education center in Newark. The school will serve as an educational facility that may accommodate community activities and some form of social gathering as a complementary program. Within these parameters, and starting from a given program, each student was responsible for defining the specific complementary programmatic considerations without adding new areas to the program.
The work of the semester began with an introductory abstract spatial exercise (seed), the analysis of an existing educational building as a specific architectural program (source), and the selection of two chosen sites (context). It continued with the informed synthesis of the inputs from that triad, “seed-source-context,” into a conceptual strategy to be formalized twice.
STUDENTS SELECTED WORK: Paola Bodano, Noah Balla, Joseph Guirguis, Kelly Barragan, Michelle Duong, Muhammad Khan, Katrina Mall & Ruben Izurieta