Temporary and Ephemeral Structures [M1]

In light of recent global turbulence generated by a series of crises – environmental, economic, political, social, and medical – architecture is once again challenged with an increased need for flexibility and adaptability. These crises require architecture to nimbly respond to rapid change as its user-communities learn to do the same. Although we tend to think of crises as temporary, many have become chronic issues, requiring a reevaluation of traditional design solutions. Additionally, some building types are nearing obsolescence in the face of an increased desire for the built environment to accurately reflect contemporary understandings of intersectional identities, cultures, and lifestyles. Although such reevaluations have been needed for a long time, recent upheavals have brought them to the forefront of social conscience. Increased attention must be paid to designing strategic and tactically responsive ephemeral structures that work to combat the complex and highly mutable problems that we now face. As our world changes with increased rapidity, it will become necessary to contend with the element of time to create viable responses to large-scale issues. Instead of conceiving of architecture as obstinate and static, is there a way to invent a new model of resilient, flexible, and adaptable structures that can respond to unforeseen needs as they arise?  

Each student will be asked to select a site and program around which to design a flexible temporary structure, with consideration given to the logistics of its assembly and disassembly, materiality, fabrication method, and life cycle including possibilities for coexisting programs and combined usages. In addition to producing architectural solutions to ephemeral problems, the studio will study the effect of the resultant temporary structures on user experience and identity. Inevitably, the notion of lightness in terms of visual and physical weight as well as lessened ecological footprint will become a core advantage of these structures over traditional “slow-build” architecture. These ephemeral structures have the capacity to bridge traditional practice with contemporary innovation to become a new and more equitable hybrid architecture of the future.

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