Model as Building – Building as Model 2

This is the second -and final- instalment of a critical exploration of the phenomenon known as 'model as building – building as model', whereby buildings of any size or purpose are designed and built anywhere -except on site- using the latest materials, information technology, fundraising models, and cultural trending.

Building a building indoors and trucking it to another destination is not a new idea. The Bauhaus first proposed it in the 1920s as a socially progressive model for mass housing, while several European governments adopted it to alleviate housing shortages in the aftermath of WWII. Today, while need remains an important factor behind this mode of production, need is no longer the dominant factor; desire in its contemporary forms is equally important: digital technology, social media culture, consumerism, and money.

From volumetric cabins such as Minimod by Brazilian outfit Mapa, to larger housing terraces such as Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners’ Oxley Woods (UK), and, further afield, Shigeru Ban’s earthquake shelter terraces in Japan, the studio will explore the resurgence of Off-Site Manufacturing (OSM) and its central premise that building is merely a 1:1 model (and vice versa).

To better concentrate on its own creative work, the studio will make use of last year’s preliminary design research (OSM Manual Spring 2018). This year’s preliminary study will focus on four contemporary, ground?breaking OSM projects currently under construction, with exclusive access to unpublished design documentation.

This will be followed by a studio trip to Scotland for a joint Learning Week hosted by the Built Environment Exchange at Edinburgh Napier University. The learning week will include two site visits, several design seminars, and two eye-opening OSM factory visits in Glasgow and Inverness, with substantial road travel through the Scottish Highlands to connect the dots.

Upon returning from the studio trip, participants will have the option of developing proposals at drastically different scales -with correspondingly different OSM approaches- either in a rural location north of Edinburgh, or in the historic heart of the seventeenth century city.

This studio will be fast paced and extremely organized. It is open to motivated individuals from the Architecture and Urban Design programs.

Individual Performance will be evaluated on the basis of each student’s contribution to the opening research phase, the midterm submission, and the final project.

George L. Legendre will be in residence on January 24, 25, 29, and 30, February 12, 13, 26, and 27, March 12, 13, 26, and 27, April 9, 10, 23, and 24, and May 3, 6, or 7 for Final Reviews.  The instructor will also be available via Skype to account for “off-week” missed time.