Superficial Spaces

Description At a time when architectural discourse and practice are brimming with references to new geometries, this offering investigates the architectural potential of abstract three-dimensional surfaces. Hand-in- hand with the more practical ambition of the option studios, it is intended to help us devise formal prototypes for architectural consumption while broadening our understanding of the rigours of abstraction and formal analysis. With equal emphasis on theoretical reading, graphic analysis and diagramming, elementary mathematics, numerically controlled fabrication techniques, and theoretical writing, the seminar will circle, in increasingly tight loops, the surface as object of knowledge. Semi-monthly hands-on workshops on modulation and fabrication will supplement the cycle of theoretical readings and discussions, leading to the conception, analysis, calculation, drawing, and making of an intricate superficial structure. This year the seminar will incorporate a directed reading sequence of seven classic texts. There will be one assigned group reading per session, followed by a short student presentation and a group precept on the text. The broad focus of the discussion will not discriminate among issues of technique, formal analysis, art criticism, art history/theory -or even the study of language itself. Reading List (Required)Roland Barthes Cy Twombly: Works on Paper in The Responsibility of Forms, pp.157-176, University of California Press Berkeley, 1991Rosalind Krauss Grids in The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths, The MIT Press, Boston 1986.Peter Eisenman Iconicity and Instrumentality*, Cahiers de L\’IRCAM, Instruments, Paris 1995.Erwin Panofsky Contribution to the Problem of Describing The Works of Art and Interpreting Their Contents*. Les Editions de Minuit, Paris, 1975.Robin Evans Not To Be Used For Wrapping Purposes in Translations from Drawing to Building, Architectural Association 1997.Greg Lynn New Variations on the Rowe Complex, in Folds Bodies and Blobs, La lettre vole, Brussels 1998.Robert Venturi Some Definitions Using the Comparative Method in Learning From Las Vegas, pp. 87-103, The MIT Press, Cambridge 1972Reading List (Optional) George L. Legendre, IJP: The Book of Surfaces, (Architectural Association, 2003).George L. Legendre, JP\’s Way, in Mathematical Form: John Pickering and the Architecture of the Inversion Principle (Architectural Association, 2006).Prerequisites/RestrictionsNoneOther Information3 short assignments will help the seminar participants assimilate the basics of surface design -and learn to use new tools. A short midterm project will demonstrate their willingness to conduct an analytic exploration of parametric surface design (term to be defined).Requirements/ Grading PercentagesSemi-Monthly Readings and Assignments: 10% each. Midterm Submission: 20%; Final Project: 50%MeetingWednesdays only. Every other week after September 9.(Wednesdays 9/2, 9/9, 9/23, 10/7, 10/21, 11/5, 11/19, and 12/3).Final presentation on Tuesday 12/15Location 508 Gund HallTypical ScheduleWednesdays 13:30-16:00 Group reading and precept followed by seminar discussion.Coffee Break16:30-18:00 Technical tutorial and/or discussion of weekly assignment.