|Studio or individual?||Studio|
|Max number of students:||5 students maximum|
Description of the project:
The emergence of new and innovative structural design possibilities has regularly sparked waves of creative architectural projects. These developments, whether in the form of advanced structural technologies, improved understanding of structural principles, or enhanced calculations, have played a pivotal role in shaping the architectural landscape. We can observe their impact in various instances: the understanding of arches and vaults led to the creation of gothic cathedrals, the introduction of reinforced concrete gave form to modernism, and digital fabrication influences current design and making of architecture. It is evident that advancements in structural design, encompassing both technology and design principles, significantly influence the field of architecture.
If we understand the structure of an architectural project as the system of elements that withstands its primary loads, such as live loads and self-weight, then the structure not only supports the project at hand but also accommodates (and determines) different infills of other possible architectural projects. Consequently, the exploration and development of innovative and imaginative structural designs (as bearer of architectural space) will open doors to a whole set of new architectural possibilities.
The objective of this studio is to explore the realm of structural design as a catalyst for pioneering architecture. The primary tools for this exploration are structural models: physical models concisely constructed following specific structural principles, or digital models created in structural analysis programs. These models serve as sources of structural feedback, directing the design exploration process.
To excel in this studio, students must possess the ability to create architecturally compelling spaces and a solid understanding of structural behaviour and theory. This understanding is crucial for correctly interpreting the structural feedback provided by the models. Through a process of model making, experimentation, critical thinking, and iterations, students will develop innovative structures that possess the potential for unexplored architectural investigations.
To guide this exploration, students will study various cases of structural design that exemplify interesting structural principles (e.g., tensegrity, radial span, and reciprocal frame structures), advanced technologies (e.g., 3D printing, and parametric design), and compelling relationships between models and architecture (e.g., school building in Leutschenbach by arch. Kerez, Sydney Opera House by arch. Utzon & eng. Arup, and Munich Olympic Stadium by arch. Otto).
At the end of this studio the student will have developed and made one or more sets of structurally sound models (physical and/or digital) that add to the existing knowledge of structural design, and bear this quality of architectural potential.
- A manuscript presenting the exploration and development of the structurally sound models: their relation with existing cases, the analysis and principles of their structure, and their potential for architectural design.
- A set of physical and/or digital structural models as proof of design.
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Image: School building in Leutschenbach, Zurich, Switzerland
Design by Christian Kerez, Photo by Walter Mair