The Temporal Field – A Sports and Recreation Center

This project for a student recreation center will involve a range of explorations of temporal phenomena that influence architectural space, form and structure. Students will study sports and recreational activities and develop a theoretical position relative to program, function and the organized and spontaneous social behaviors entailed in the project. In response to other temporal phenomena including seasonal change, local microclimates and daily patterns of use, the studio will also explore a variety of experimental architectural technologies. Dynamic building envelopes, structures and environmental strategies will be explored. The studio will provide an opportunity to develop a project to a high level of technical resolution relative to material, structural and environmental systems.Fields of Performance: Regulated Space and Localized PatternsCollege athletics are a form of competitive and ritualized social behavior. They are also an essential part of campus life, fostering social interaction for both participants and spectators. Most collegiate sports involve competitive physical activities circumscribed by rules and boundaries particular to each sport. \”Pick-up\” versions of many sports, far more common on campuses than their official variations, highlight the value of these governing codes. While these informal games often condense and simplify rules and boundaries, the lack of official oversight intensifies the need for social conventions and consensus among participants. The athlete\’s performance is measured relative to localized spatial fields where physical and regulatory boundaries restrict the variables heightening and exaggerating specific physical skills. Playing fields and courts are an example of regulated and sometimes physically bounded spaces, analogous to architecture. Within these bounded conditions the dynamic variability of the sport is defined as play. Analysis of these spatial structures can help to illuminate architecture\’s role as a mediating and delimiting factor in human behavior. ContextBennington College is a four-year liberal arts college offering programs of study leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in disciplines within the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 600 students with additional Master of Fine Arts degrees in dance, drama, music, visual arts, and writing and literature. The College was founded in 1932 on a belief in independent and self-guided education. Students at the College are expected to be self-motivated in defining their course of study and their use of resources. This course usually combines several disciplines and involves interactions, both formal and informal, with visitors, faculty, staff and other students. The campus is 150 miles from Cambridge. The College is located on the outskirts of Bennington, Vermont on 550 acres of rolling farmland at the foot of the Green Mountains. The proximity of lakes, rivers and amenities such as the Appalachian Trail encourages outdoor activities, including canoeing, kayaking, skiing, climbing, hiking, caving and whitewater-rafting. Many of the buildings on the campus are converted farm buildings. Contemporary campus buildings include an interesting array of modern designs by notable architects including Pietro Belluschi, Robinson Ward, Edward Larrabee Barnes and others. Students should anticipate making two scheduled trips to the campus.Project DescriptionThe design of the student recreation center will encompass a broad range of topics including programmatic response, campus planning, climatic response, as well as structure and material technology. The project will have a research and analysis phase that engages campus planning, relevant research into athletic activities and recreational facilities as well