Superficial Spaces

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. In tandem with the practical ambitions 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 sessions on modulation and fabrication will supplement a cycle of theoretical readings and discussions, leading to the conception, analysis, calculation, drawing, and making of an intricate superficial structure.Finally the seminar will incorporate a reading sequence of 6 classic texts. There will be one assigned group reading per session, followed by a short presentation and group precept.Precept Reading List Roland Barthes Cy Twombly: Works on Paper in The Responsibility of Forms, pp.157-176, University of California Press Berkeley, 1991 Rosalind 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.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 1972George L. Legendre Shin & I, essay on the ontology of the surface, in AA Files 52, AA Publications, London 2005 Reading 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/Restrictions NoneOther Information1/3 short assignments will help the seminar participants assimilate the basics -and learn new tools. Participation to & preparation for the group reading session is required. A short midterm project will develop into the final submission.Requirements/ Grading PercentagesSemi-Monthly Readings and Assignments: 10% each. Midterm Submission: 20%; Final Project: 50% Meeting First Meeting on Wednesday Sept 1 (Room and Time TBA). Then on Wednesday Sept 8.and on Wednesdays every other week thereafter. (Wednesdays9/22, 10/6, 10/20, 11/3, 11/17, and 12/1).Final Presentation on Wednesday 12/15Location 508 Gund Hall