Brick: Thick/Thin

This studio explores a material paradox that the discipline of architecture has constructed the idea of brick and its status as a contemporary building material. The notion of thickness has been replaced by a desire for the opposite: transparency and thinness. The studio examines the role that this ubiquitous material plays in an increasingly global and digitized world of material production. Research reconsiders archetypal brick detailing techniques such as battering, corbeling, buttressing, vaulting, piercing, and racking, and forms an iterative process of digital surface-making and hands-on prototyping.

The studio shifts to the design of the Taller Metropolitana de Bogotá (TAMBO), a regional design center and creative live/work incubator, in the historic center of Colombia’s “City of Brick.” As one of South America’s most culturally progressive and economically maligned cities, the informal nature of Bogotá’s material industries is out of sync with an emerging creative industry. La Macarena becomes the site of confluence between historic architecture, modernist plans of urban renewal, and contemporary programs of material production.

Brick: Thick/Thin is a Studio Report from the Fall 2016 semester at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Published by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Spring 2017.

Instructed by Frano Violich
Series design by Zak Jensen & Laura Grey
138 pages, softcover, 17 x 24.5 cm
ISBN 978-1-934510-62-9

Available for purchase from the Frances Loeb Library and