Architecture Studio A

‘a’ is for Architecture

Studio leaders: Laura Martires and Marijke Davey

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

David Foster Wallace, Excerpt from the speech “This is Water”

This is Architecture; an introduction to architectural tools, process and methods. People often say to architects something along the lines of, oh, you’re an architect? I don’t know anything about architecture. This, of course, is false. Almost everyone in the modern world has spent their lives surrounded by architecture—tugging on its door handles, gazing through its windows, bemoaning its shoddy construction when the roof leaks or the cold outside seeps through the walls. We are all lifetime owner/operators of architecture and we know lots about it. Or take for example cooking; just because you are not a chef, it does not mean you don’t know anything about food or cooking.

So what then defines the difference between the home cook and the chef? It lies in the time taken to re-learn how to chop an onion, properly. Rigour, understanding, discipline, technical excellence, dexterity, control, a mission, a vision—a wealth of tools, methodologies and conceptual understanding that gives the chef mastery over a discipline and the choice to cook with purpose. It is much the same with architecture. It is firstly a new way of seeing what has been around you all the time. A disciplined way of, noticing, measuring, understanding, and looking with a critical eye at the day-to-day fabric that frames our lives.

In this studio, students are introduced to architectural thinking, tools and methods. Rather than providing a single path, this course is taught in a series of three vignettes, each encompassing a different methodology for operating as a designer and problem solver. The vignettes are structurally independent from one another, but build in their complexity, scale and the amount of architectural tools required to complete them. Each vignette provides not only a diversity of tools, but also a survey of pedagogies.

While the studio embraces that there are many ways to approach the problem of design, the sequence of vignettes will instil a strong understanding of the foundations of excellent design practice. Those foundations include;

+ Seeing the spatial and material composition of all things

+ The ability to do spatial and conceptual analysis

+ Attention to detail, rigour and time-management

+ Understanding of basic architectural drawing types

+ The ability to meaningfully analyse precedents andapply that analysis to new proposals

+ The ability to use digital and analogue tools withcontrol, specifi city, and for the right task

+ Agility in responding to constraints

+ Understanding of the purpose of iteration,variation and experimentation

+ Ability to work in a team and negotiate

+ Understanding of the city as construct

Architecture 2020_winter