Construction and Structural Synthesis

As a paralell to tutoring undergraduate design I also taught a studio introducing principles of structural, construction, and material performance in architecture. Under the co-ordination of Iain Maxwell the subject instilled an important connection between spatial design and construction through understanding architecture as structural material systems. Precedent studies formed the primary mode of studio activity leading to project-based design exercises utiising the principles extracted from analysis.

The studio aimed to enable students to escape from conventional structural thinking of column, slab, curtain wall, by organising thinking through historically identifiable structural principles:

Monolith Frame Shell Hybrid Forming technique (Construct, Waste, Cast, Form, Add)

Once students had a grasp of the principles, individual projects explored application for single cell architectural proposals through model making and drawing. Assessment of the studio arrived through two meta-structure tasks, the first documented material experiments using the structural principles. The second task proposed a pavilion that demonstrated a practical knowledge of the principles by combining a structural method, forming technique and construction material. Delivery of the pavilion desing took on the form of a professional architectual proposal moving through sketch design, to design development, before presentation and review. All group work compiled into a final exhibition displaying 1:25 scale physical models, diagrams describing the prototype, supporting photographic evidence describing embedded principles and composite section drawings communicating interior to exterior relationships.

Below are examples of gif slide shows presenting the process involved in making final models as part of the final digital submission.

Tibell Group Amy Tibbels, Blake Lewis and Tahlia Garland

Wang Group Michelle Wang, Qingran Zhang, Wanqing Zhao and Minchao Liu