Hybrid Formations: Interdisciplinary Design

“How much does your building weigh?”

This question was posed to Lord Norman Foster by Buckminster Fuller after he visited the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, England. The building, a shed-alike structure made entirely out of glass, aluminum panels and a large structural spaceframe appeared to be floating while defying gravity, leaving Fuller astounded by its unfamiliar architectural appearance. Through mixing programmatic aspects (museum and exhibition space) with an architectural technology usually applied to the construction of hangars, depots and factories, Foster created a new paradigm for architectural typologies and programmatic function.

Prototypes are generally devoid of any programmatic function, yet it can belong to a similar lineage of hybridized technological systems and performance based design. The narrative for these prototype concepts will be driven by performative structures, material properties and aesthetic qualities in order to further explore the capacities of architectural typologies.

How can you design something to be paper-thin and super-light while maintaining its structural integrity and creating big volumes?

Similar to the fabrication of an airplane we will apply techniques of the aviation and automobile industry to the fabrication of these prototypes. Manufactured out of extremely lightweight, aluminum panels, the installations will consist of unique and custom CNC cut components. These individual components will be assembled like a large 3-dimensional puzzle, forming an elegant, soft and dynamic volume. The assemblage of these components will form a complex and futuristic design. It will be conceived of as a aggregation of volumes speculating on architectural ‘raum’ while; to answer Bucky Fuller's question, we will be very much aware of how much our building (prototype) weighs.


Some of the seminar sessions will take place at the:

Autodesk BUILD Space
23 Drydock Ave
Boston, MA 02210

Metro passes will be provided to participating seminar students.

This course will have an irregular first meeting time of Tuesday, September 6, 6 PM, in Gund 109.