Effective Massing

Related Staff : David Erdman

Studio Instructor: David Erdman

Using an industrial development in Xiamen, China slated for adaptive re-use, Effective Massing postulated ideas about the effectiveness of massing and massing effects. It required students to conceive of how a surface affects mass. Projects were constrained to work with what is traditionally the boundary between exterior and interior (the building enclosure). The conceptual underpinning of the studio was to omit the dichotomy between space and mass and liberate interior massing from exterior massing.

Effective Massing sought to reverse student’s understanding of mass as that which is solely exterior and suggest there are always two types of mass operating in any project; interior and exterior. Embracing the congestion and density of the 21st Century city (where as Latour suggests there is no longer a clear inside or outside), the studio took an invigorated interest in massing and its urban potential by realizing that the contemporary “skin job” in China may embody a new set of architectural ideas – exteriors independent of interiors. Using a regime of ideas relegated to the superficial such as texture, revolving and lenticulation projects conceived of how a new building enclosure and roof could produce large scale massing effects shifting texture to textural or revolving to in_volving.Working primarily in models, and operating within a zone that ranged from 500mm – 2m, students explored and developed the edges of four bulidings both inside and out for their potential to emit and absorb mass. Their respective existing structures, circulation systems and enclosures were intensively modified by each student-team. Different methods of articulation between both sides of the enclosure were exploited as means of exaggerating interior/exterior autonomies. Adaptive Re-use served as the anchor allowing for the detailed study of curtain walls and Poche. The accumulation of new programs and the addition of new equipment on to the existing buildings was harnessed for massing opportunities within and between buildings.

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