Material Settings

This course serves as an introduction to architectural design and the design.

Studio – and explores making as an essential component of design. The theme for this first studio is the Table – understood both in its functional and structural terms but also in its cultural value as a place of exchange and community. With a strong emphasis on the collective, this studio introduces and promotes the principles of collaborative learning. Working with tutors, experts and each other, students are immersed in the complex, interrelated problems presented by the city, while simultaneously tackling material and logistic problems related to construction.

Making Connections

Introduction

Because of the temporary closure of the HKU campus, this design studio was conducted partly online. The use of digital media, referencing and student interaction was incorporated to foster an online studio environment.

The course introduced first semester students to architectural design as a symbiosis of space and structure. This complex task was addressed through theoretical lectures, hands-on workshops, project analysis and presentations, as well as iterative design tasks focusing on conceptual sketching, technical drawing and crafting of models.

The studio was taught using the methodology of research by design, with students interacting and engaging in parallel to creatively investigate a multitude of solutions and share their individual insights.

Content

The studio was taught in 3 blocks, focusing on structure, prototypical design, and media:

In the first exercise ‚structure‘, students were asked to create a 1m timber structure for various support and load conditions. The structures were tested with weight until failure. Their deformation and collapse was documented In film and technical hand drawings.

The main part of the semester was focused on Block 2 design. Students were asked to create an abstract, volumetric site model of either CITY, COURTYARD, or SLOPE. Students then had to join up in groups of four to create a neighbourhood and assign circulation and assembly tasks for architectural intervention. Each student had to design two models in timber, which related to the site context, showed structural and spatial understanding, develop an architectural language and interact with his fellow team members.

The final block was conducted remotely and focused on technical drawings and digital modelling at a closer scale. Students were asked to survey their individual room, create technical hand drawings at 1:10 and create a detailed 3D model and axonometry of this room. The rooms were finally referenced together to create a common labyrinth connecting the individual spaces.

Learning outcome

+ Exploring and discovering the range of possible design solutions through progressive design iterations.

+ Critical reflection of structural behaviour in relation to form and topology and spatial impact of architectural design.

+ Develop the terminology to describe and communicate space and structures and the skill of documenting and presenting such insights through various media.