This design studio attempts to revitalise construction’s role in architectural imagination by introducing material and structural considerations as the starting point of the design. Architectural pedagogy usually privileges formal conceptions over materials and techniques of construction leaving so the possibility of a deeper tectonic research constantly outside the priorities of the design process.
Here, we’ll get familiar with the idea that construction embodies the fundamental meanings of architecture. We’ll analyse materials, their structural arrangements and their articulations, perceiving them as primary events that generate the thrill of architectural experience.
In order to comprehend the inner reason of a construction we must operate as anatomists. We must deal with the inner fabrication of forms and consider densities and gaps, ordered coherency and its disintegration, the laws of the materialsand their violations. Through this approach we may acknowledge the intrinsic economy in the practice of building but also the poetic transgression of this economy.
The studio work will be developed around the design of a lookout point at the end of the long pier that protects Volos’ port. This structure, that will also house the existing port lighthouse, will offer a new landmark for city’s waterfront.
The lookout structure will be composed of a large wall (high up to 12 m.) and a staircase leading to an open deck or some other observation facility. These two elements, the wall and the stairs, their interweaving and their material and structural configuration comprise the field of the design research. The proposed scheme must be safe for its users and defiant in front of the force of the wind and the waves. The footing of the structure and the condition of the surrounding area are also issues that the proposal has to satisfy in a convincing manner. Projects will be presented with detailed drawings and models in1:20 scale.
The work will start with an exploration focused on wall structures and their cultural significance. We’ll deepen our understanding of the structural and expressive qualities of masonry systems by examining case studies and fabricating models of collaged wall patterns and textures. Studio lectures will analyse works like St. Petri Church bySigurd Lewerentz, Summer house byAlvar Aalto, Fondazione Querini-Stampalia byCarlo Scarpa, Vigo University Rector Office byEnric Miralles, KolumbaMuseum byPeter Zumthor, Ningbo Historic Museum byWang Shu.
Final studio grade will be based on an evaluation of the quality, originality and refinement of the final proposal (60%), the successful completion of the initial assignment (20%) and the attendance and full participation in studio classes, and activities, (20%).