- Teaching Fields Lecture Courses
(previously Structural, Environmental and Construction Technologies)
co-taught by Terry Boling, Tom Bible and Michael Zaretsky
This UC course is a co-requisite for the required graduate INTEGRATED STUDIO course. The premise of this course is that the technologies – structure, environment and construction – are tools that the designer uses to establish and resolve the aesthetic and functional intents within the building scheme. INTEGRATED TECH is focused on strategies for deploying architectural technologies at a variety of scales as well as addressing the practicalities of application. In your graduate education we seek to concern ourselves more with the “why” of systems and technology rather than the “how”. Marco Frascari, in his essay the “Tell the Tale Detail”, touches on this relationship when discussing “constructing” and “construing.” It is also the intention of this course to support the development of the INTEGRATED studio issues, but this relationship is often indirect.
The goal of INTEGRATED TECH is to provide an introduction to strategic and operative thinking when considering building technologies as a constituent element of the [architectural] designer’s palette. Dalibor Vesely’s remarks above, and those made by Edward Ford, call to mind that technology in its many forms: construction assemblies, structural systems and the more broadly held environmental “controls”, can master and solve many of the problems that an architect faces in the realization of a building.
In this manner, technology, and building systems in particular, remain a method or a process…that by which a load is carried, an enclosure is integrated, and the manner in which air or water are moved to and from a building. What technologies to employ, and what methods to consider, begin with issues that are raised by the process of design itself: the designer’s values and intentions for site, space, form and experience. As a method, technology serves to realize the designer’s intentions. At the same time, there are many building technologies to choose among and each has its own inherent characteristics for performance and manifest form. Both wisdom and invention show us that the relationship between design and the problem-solving technology, is not a linear process, but rather a more cyclical and self-informing set of relationships. And thus technologies are a constituent element in the multi-faceted and malleable design framework that balances and integrates decisions with reciprocity.
A critical aspect of the interaction between technology and architecture is the way in which they have continually redefined each through history. Early Modernists regarded technology as a transforming force for change and modern architecture has consistently affirmed and alluded to technological progress. The technological optimism of the 1960’s, processes of mass production, the notion of flexible environments, and an architecture of functionalism all grew from the aspiration of technological progress. Dialogues of architecture and technology now encompass broader concerns including place-making, social responsiveness, energy use, urbanism and ecological awareness. Crucial to contemporary architectural practice is the creative interaction of the “disciplines of architectural technologies” and the resulting interplay among building systems. This self-informing relationship among technology and architecture results in an architecture that now offers a wider variety of experiences than previously possible, along with architecture’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of contemporary society.
Clearly, the formative strategies for an architectural design response must include building technologies as both method and ideology, and this is the focus of this course. You will not learn rote solutions for individual technical problems in this course, but rather will be exposed to architectural precedents, and architectural thinking that balances multiple, and sometimes contradictory agendas within a synthetic, but value-laden design framework.
Students should be able to demonstrate productive capacities with the following:
Actively research architectural precedents and be able to identify, assess and evaluate a.) environmentally informed responses b.) construction and detail ethics, and c.) structural concerns/performance. And further, understand how these issues are valued, and interrelated by the architect.
The ability to identify, assess and evaluate structure, construction assemblies and detailing that can/will have a consequential impact on the design project in terms of both performance and form. An understanding of how working with material choices and assembly processes, as well as detail and material systems, can serve architectural thinking in a generative capacity.
The ability to identify, assess and evaluate environmental conditions that can/will have a consequential impact to the design problem at the most schematic phases of design thinking, including the design activities of site selection, and orientation as related to form and experience.
Working in groups of 3-4 students, teams do a detailed analysis of the Structural, Environmental, and Construction/Detail factors that have informed the design intentions of the project and the architect. They also identify examples of “Integrated Strategies” that exemplify the combination of multiple technologies within the design expression. Students choose form a list identified by the faculty.
Shown below are a few examples of pages from the books that are produced by the students in their Case Study Analysis.