ARC 592– Special Topics: The State of Materials
Course No.: 22347
Semester: 2014 Spring
Location: Wende – 111
Meeting Day(s): Thursday
Meeting Time: 10:00AM - 12:40PM
This Material Culture technical methods seminar will explore concrete, which is the most widely used building material in the world. Concrete has been cast in rigid molds since its invention in antiquity, and since the invention of reinforced concrete over 100 years ago, it has been cast, primarily, in rigid rectangular boxes. As a material process it is heavily standardized, typically embracing material properties of solidity, massiveness, smoothness, thickness, and primarily used as a compressive system. We will examine concrete for its irregular and unstable qualities: in a liquid or fluid state, in its thinnest and lightest state, in its roughest state, for its responsiveness to gravity, indexical capabilities, and as a modular system with a high degree of variation. In doing so, we hope to critically investigate the conceptual pairings of form vs. formwork, standardization vs. customization, digital vs. analog methods of making, human labor vs. machine labor, monolithic vs. modular construction, tension vs. compression forces, industrial modes of production vs. handcrafted modes of production, among others. The seminar will operate in a workshop setting, leading toward a 1:1 prototype occupying the Material Culture Studio in the basement of Crosby Hall. It will be heavily focused on making, building big, with members of the class collaborating on a single prototype that will occupy the entirety of the semester.