ARC 605-2– Arch Design Studio 5: Material Culture

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Course Details

Course No.: 10318

Department: Architecture

Semester: 2015 Fall

Location: Parker – 18

Meeting Day(s): Tuesday & Thursday

Meeting Time: 1:30PM - 7:20PM

Faculty: Romano

In his work, The Craftsman, Richard Sennet explores the intertwined relationship between craftsmanship and the act of making.  Sennett argues that one can only become a master craftsman after undergoing 10,000 hours of repetitive making, and that it is only through this process that a person can learn tacit knowledge about the medium and the tools being explored.  Thus, as a methodology, we will catalog our time, energy, and material usage – attempting to theorize and optimize notions of labor in relationship to architectural production.  As a medium, we will explore concrete; the most widely used and most labor intensive building material in the world.  As a material process it is heavily standardized, typically embracing material properties of massiveness, smoothness, thickness, and primarily used as a compressive system.  We will critically examine concrete as a composite material, rethinking the “joint” in unit masonry in an effort to construct more flexible and resilient structures that are less susceptible to breakage or failure.  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, and industrial modes of production vs. handcrafted modes of production.  As a technical resource, the studio will visit, learn from, and work directly with local experts in the fields of concrete construction – specifically Southside Precast Products and Kistner Concrete, both local manufacturers of pre-cast concrete and precast stone.  The studio will operate in a workshop setting, will be heavily focused on making, building at full-scale, with members of the studio collaborating on a 1:1 specimen that will be tested to failure using the shake tables within the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL).