Make Architecture



1 Final Project

I would like to explore the ways in which various performative characteristics of furniture pieces can be augmented and invented, both through methods of joinery and the introduction of new materials with purpose-specific properties. One example of the former (methods of joinery) is furniture that can fold or stack itself into a more portable arrangement, or to repurpose itself (ie a ladder chair);

An example of an invented characteristic might be the construction of a seat that allows the user to glide over the bench surface, instead of remaining static.

above: plan (left) and section detail (right) seat on trapped marble

Some examples of the introduction of new materials might be the construction of planted surfaces and lighting into a piece. In order to manage water, some sort of closed-cell membrane or metal pan is called for, as well as a nesting strategy to contain water overflow. In order to incorporate lighting, the properties of light transmittance become important, either through intrinsic transparency as can be found in glass/plastics, or in the deliberate carving/melting away of an opaque material.

Section diagram of nested planter pans.


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Instructor: Nick Gelpi TA: Skylar Tibbits TA: Varvara Toulkeridou
Class Times, Monday, 1-4pm - room 5-216
4.184 is an intensive introduction to methods of making explored through a wide range of brief but focused 1-week exercises. We'll engage the real and leave behind representation in the focused context of this class gaining skills for utilizing a range of fabrication machines and technologies from lasercutting, waterjet, 3D printing, welding, formworking-molding, casting, gears, joints and composites.
In this workshop we'll constrain ourselves to the territory of the 1:1. Students will represent architectural constructions at full scale and develop a more intimate relationship with technology by engaging the tools and techniques that empower us. We will gain access to the most cutting edge machines and technologies in the MARS lab at the Center for Bits and Atoms.
The second layer of information for this course will be to look at a series of case studies in which construction methods and technologies have played a dominant role in the design process .
Over the past 20 years, architects have focused on the technology of representation to create new ideas of what architecture could be. Looking back today, much of that research failed to substantially change the way we design buildings by focusing on apriori formal configurations. This class makes the contention that this failure comes from a lack of considerations of the potentials within fabrication knowledge. We look to the future of what building might become, given the expanded palette of personalize-able technologies available to us as architects. Students will participate in curious technological and material investigations, to discover the potentials, known and unknown, for these various technologies.
The sub-disciplines of what's drawn and what's built have been compartmentalized and disassociated as the representational tools of architecture have distanced themselves from the techniques of making. At the same time the technologies for “making” in architecture have provided us with new possibilities for reinventing how we translate into reality, the immaterial representations of architecture.


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