Soft

Collaborative and interdisciplinary in spirit, this sponsored studio will explore the design potentials of an emerging set of soft, flexible polymer technologies that deliver and transmit information, light and energy. Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and flexible micro-electronics may be integrated into pliant natural and synthetic material hosts such as gels, rubber, neoprene, silicone, and a wide variety of 3-D knit fabrics and textiles. These soft materials offer a new integration media for flexible photo-voltaics, displays, antennas and other receptors, sensors (switches) and microprocessor controls. Converging with the current growth of wireless data and communications networks, flexible OLED technologies challenge conventional categories of infrastructure, fixture, appliance and furnishings-with significant implications for basic elements of architecture such as wall types, windows, structural and enclosure systems. This nano technology is miniaturized and lightweight, autonomous yet interconnected and personal in it\'s proximity to the body. Printed, embedded or woven into the surfaces of daily life, convenient and available when needed, flexible technologies can become material artifacts of architecture– performative and dynamic, changing over time. The role of materiality takes on a renewed importance as the interface between the physical and digital realms can become increasingly tactile, tangible and sensual. Students in this studio will consider the dynamic performance of OLED polymers as material phenomena that influence the perception of space. The trajectory of the studio will advance from an understanding of the technology and its material effects towards the design of an architecture of material affect– the choreography of a space that moves. Resisting the temptations of the assumed \”realism\” of digital animation, the studio will focus on the selection and elaboration of key perspectives and orthographic projections to describe the material and spatial characteristics of surface hood in the students\' designs. The studio will explore a language of representation that uses drawings as abstract and deliberate representational tool to describe the spatial predicaments of a temporal materiality: the dissolve, the transition states between material conditions, the physical deformation of giving surfaces, and the succession of multiple material readings. Using the design of a spatial choreography as a catalyst, students will explore how wireless infrastructure and soft hi-performance polymers may introduce new formal organizations and programmatic possibilities for program typologies in education such as the classroom, library, student dormitory and public commons space. During the course of the semester, students will develop designs for cross over applications where flexible technologies are integrated into soft surfaces that operate between the scales of the body, the building, and the city. With energy efficient, low voltage micro-circuits, flexible polymers offer highly effective potentials for affordable photo-voltaic power generation and storage with mobile and exterior applications in architecture. Students will develop these potentials in design concepts for solar powered surfaces of light and information that cross over between needs associated with the \”developed\” and \”developing\” worlds. In this way, the studio responds to fundamental human needs by offering innovative, effective and affordable designs that provide the economic basis to accelerate the pace of a broader global cultural adaptation of these energy efficient materials. Student projects may include designs for interactive fabrics, upholstery, wall claddings, furniture, facades, roof surfaces and building envelopes, as well as designs and value propositions for an evolving new class of soft surfaces and mobile objects that constitute the space of this extended architectural and urban landscape.Students wil