Modulating Monocoques

The necessity to produce continuity, structure and articulation within complex topologic surfaces has given rise to a new refinement in contemporary architecture practice. While modularity and aggregation constitute a rational and constructively feasible approach to material reality, the need to continue to generate a more holistic and integral approach to form, structure and construction continues to hunt not only the field of architecture but the automotive, aeronautic, marine, and even the product industry as well.The ambitions behind the seminar are twofold. First, the exploration of a conceptual framework and technical form of modulating continuous structural surfaces that moves beyond logics of self-similar modularity. Second, the examination of a form of construction and assembly enabled by [but not limited to] digital fabrication that serves as a ground for the emergence of new forms and material effects in architecture.Specifically, we will be looking at complex structural surfaces known as \”monocoques\” [French for single shell] of unibodies and their possible application. Whilst an infrequent approach to construction and design since its inception, [i.e.: monocoque or semimonocoque construction is currently used in no more than five percent of contemporary vehicles] these structures imply a uniquely integrated process of fabrication, production and assembly capable of streamlining construction processes while at the same time allowing for an advanced degree of technological, formal and material innovation. Under this framework, the class will investigate the potentiality of shells and self-articulated surfaces in the production of small size objects [proto architectures] that inventively challenge the overly assumed notions of hierarchy and separation between structure and skin.