Student Work

Studio 7 Tectonics & Structure

Course Description

This course posits new ways to inhabit large urban structures through a process-driven methodology. By challenging type-driven formulaic structural responses, conflicts between architectural priorities and structural efficiencies are celebrated as the starting point of a dialogue that instigates structural adaptations creating rich tectonic expressions, complex spatial configurations, new program relationships.

When structural design lacks integration with architecture, the structural design criteria become largely dependent on efficiencies in cost and construction. The studio projects reinforce the concept of an efficiency that encourages resiliency through tectonic adaptation. This efficiency is understood to exist within a much longer time frame where the expression of the building is both integrative and timeless.

If we posit that architecture is to fulfill a need beyond structural stability and cost-effectiveness in construction, then the integration between architecture and structure points towards a different relationship in which the two disciplines engage in a dialogue. Founded on critical analyses of prevalent formulaic structural solutions, a productive dialogue is one in which there are meaningful conflicts that must be resolved. The students identify sources of conflict in order to develop an adaptable structural system. The metric by which resilience is measured is informed by the degree to which the integration between architecture and structure is successful in creating a trigger for a rich tectonic expression that adapts to conditions and needs while at the same time fulfilling the responsibilities of structural stability and efficiency.

Course Learning Outcomes

Student Work

Structures 3 Systems Investigation

Taken concurrently with ARH 410 Studio 7, in this course structural intuition is cultivated through physical model making to evaluate and propose structural systems for design studio projects. The relationship between structural behaviors and building geometry is studied through load tests and load path diagrams to establish design criteria for structural systems.

Architects collaborate with structural engineers in the design of buildings. For this collaboration to be successful it is important for architects to cultivate an intuitive sense of how building structures behave. We will develop structural intuition through load testing physical models and making careful observations. Structural design this semester will aspire towards a close integration with architecture. A clear architectural design intent and an open-mindedness for inventive structural systems are the necessary ingredients for a meaningful integration. When structural design is approached as an architectural design opportunity, rather than as a restriction on design freedom, compelling and rigorous design proposals will follow. Grounded in a critique of prevalent contemporary structural systems, we will explore and experiment with creating conditional rules for structural behaviors to invent new structural systems.

Our goal this semester is to integrate the architectural design intent with the structural solution. The structural proposal will be uniquely adapted to the architectural studio project. In other words, the structural proposal will not be one that is generic. To this end, we will actively seek to create a structural problem. The presence of a structural problem in your project is a good litmus test for the integration. 

Constraints make better design. For this reason, the competing design criteria between architecture and structure is welcomed in this class. The negotiation and compromise that must happen to reconcile the competing priorities is what we refer to as the integration between architecture and structure, our goal.

Course Learning Outcome