Monocoques, Component Design

This course has an irregular schedule. Please see below.MONOCOQUES: INTRODUCTIONTechnology develops cumulatively, rather than in isolated heroic acts, and it finds most of its uses after it has been invented, rather than being invented to meet a foreseen need.\”Guns Germs and Steel\” by Jared Diamond The re-writing and innovation of architectural design and its structures requires a revolutionary change in the thinking of how architecture is conceived now. From the notion that a building is a composite of standardized elements such as columns floors and walls, we have to \”re-think\” a building being composed of mass-customized \”generative components\”. Prefabrication as pure repetition of standard elements is an outdated mode of operation; mass-customized units are evolving as a series of varying elements, defined by an analysis of specific performance, rather than just structural requirements. Standard repetition has been replaced by custom variation. The components\' intelligence refers more to car- and plane-design than to architectural design, is more system-based than mechanical assembly-based. Prefabrication itself is changing as well: where before it would be described as the industrial manufacturing of the same repetitive element, now units are custom-manufactured in a series of varying elements, specific for its use and in its efficiency. This more organic and systematic way of thinking is new for architects, but common ground for scientists and industrial designers. Of course, as proven in history, all first proto-types appear grotesque. Nikolaus Otto\'s first car, in 1866, was a 7-foot-tall gas engine, its prototype if not scary looking, hardly attractive. Each year the USA issues about 70,000 patents of which only a few reach production. There are several reasons why an invention would be, or not be, accepted. Jared Diamond describes these factors as: first, a relative economic advantage compared with the existing technology; second, a social value and prestige, which can override economic benefit; third, compatibility with vested interests [keyboard design]; and last, the ease with which the advantages of the new technology can be observed. RESEARCHThe studio will analyze, map and develop different versions of \”smart components\”, which finally will result in an assembly of building components for a new skyscraper. \”La Fonction Oblique\” [by Claude Parent & Paul Virilio] reconsidered the importance of human orientation in relation to the inclined plane and the oblique axis, a development that the editors heralded as the platform for creating a \”new urban order\” if not the \”total reinvention\” of the architectural vocabulary. The sixties Skyscraper, as the quintessential example, is taken here as a case study. The tower\'s components will learn from and be derived from an intelligent biological system, and hence be organized by a varying component system with \”sequential variation\”, \”transmutation\” and density. The re-writing and innovation of architectural design and its structures requires a revolutionary change in the thinking of how architecture is conceived now. From the notion that a building is a composite of standardized elements such as columns, floors and walls, we have to \'re-think\' a building being composed of mass-customized \”generative components\”. Structure, traditionally a result of engineering, will now be analyzed as a biome – \”structures which develop and behave not unlike organisms evolving in an ecosystem\” [Kevin Kelly, \”New Rules for the New Economy\”]. The study of smart components researched both through data and experimentation will not only change the way archi