Material Performance – Fibrous Tectonics

Advances in the conception of materiality and the technologies of materialization have always been a catalyst for design innovation in architecture. Today, technological advancements across multiple disciplines suggest a profound transformation of the way the future built environment will be conceived, designed and materialized. As design computation is no longer limited to the binary realm of the digital, it can be perceived as an intense interface to the more complex domain of the physical. A new understanding of the material in architecture is beginning to arise, forging new alliances between the fields of design, engineering and natural sciences, and leading to novel, multidisciplinary and multifaceted material cultures in architecture.

The studio explores the notion of material performance, its manifold and its deep interrelations with technology, biology and culture as a central field of architectural inquiry. It seeks to trace the emergence of new material cultures within the context of the ever accelerating integrative technologies of design computation and robotic fabrication, with a particular focus on advanced fiber composite materials. Students will be introduced to a design approach that bridges between the cultural as well as technical dimension of fibrous materials in architecture and the rich repertoire of fibrous material organization in nature. Most biological systems are natural fiber composite structures that unfold an astounding level of performative capacity and material resourcefulness through morphological differentiation, which is the summary process of each element’s response and adaptation to its specific environment.

Based on an understanding of the micro-scale material make-up, meso-scale material system and macro-scale architecture as reciprocal and instrumental relations, students will investigate biological and technological fibrous systems, experiment hands-on with robotic fiber lay-up and filament winding processes, and pursue the development of fibrous tectonics in architecture as novel spatial, structural and ecological potentials. They will engage with a design approach that no longer conceives of material as a passive receptor of shape – as is still emblematic for most current attempts at digital design – but rather as an active generator of form, space and structure that enables the uncovering of novel, performative capacities and hitherto unexplored architectural possibilities.

Irregular Schedule:
The Achim Menges will meet on an irregular schedule. Meetings outside of these times can be arranged individually with the instructor. The Studio meeting dates are below:

30 Aug, First Studio Meeting
03 Sep, (optional) Second Studio Meeting
05 Sep, 2:00 Workshop Introduction , 3.00 Desk Crit
06 Sep, Desk Crits
12 Sep, Desk Crits
13 Sep, Desk Crits
19 Sep, Desk Crits
20 Sep, Desk Crits
24 Sep, Tue, (optional) Expert Workshop M. Doerstelmann, M. Prado
25 Sep, Wed, (optional) Expert Workshop M. Doerstelmann, M. Prado
26 Sep, Expert Workshop M. Doerstelmann, M. Prado
27 Sep, Expert Workshop M. Doerstelmann, M. Prado
28 Sep, Sat(Optional) Expert Workshop M. Doerstelmann, M. Prado
03 Oct, Desk Crits
04 Oct, Desk Crits
17 Oct, Desk Crits
18 Oct, Fri Possibly ALL DAY: Option Studio MIDTERM REVIEW
19. Oct, Sat AM: Option Studio Review Feedback (optional/to be individually arranged)
07. Nov, Desk Crits
08. Nov, Desk Crits
21. Nov, Desk Crits
22. Nov, Desk Crits
06. Dec, (Optional) Desk Crits
11. Dec, ALL DAY: Option Studio FINAL REVIEW
12. Dec, Thu AM: Option Studio Exit Interviews