…until we can begin to understand how buildings affect individuals and communities emotionally, how they provide people with a sense of joy, identity, and place, there is no way to distinguish architecture from any every day act of construction.
Kent C Bloomer & Charles W Moore, Body, Memory and Architecture
This studio on multi-dwelling architecture emphasizes that a community is not just a collection of people and that group dwelling is not just an array of houses. At every scale from the individual to the community and in-between and beyond we behave as a different organism; each carrying both common and unique behavioral patterns. Architects need to understand these diverse needs and desires so that architecture can frame them appropriately.
The studio frames the problem of multi-dwelling architecture as one of designing spaces conducive for three states of inhabitation – solitude, intimacy and congregation – that pervade across the domestic, cluster and neighborhood scales. The studio seeks particular focus on thresholds that negotiate the said nature and scales of places. Of course, the post-pandemic scenario will form a critical part of the context that the studio deliberations will recurrently address.
STUDIO STRUCTURE & LEARNING OUTCOMES
STUDIO 2: INDIVIDUAL, COMMUNITY & IN-BETWEEN
BRIEF 1:THE MNEMONIC SEMANTIC UNDERSTANDING FROM MEMORY & OBSERVATION
NOMENCLATURE & REPRESENTATION OF DIVERSE ELEMENTS & SPACES
DEVELOPING THE ARCHITECTURAL VOCABULARY THROUGH DRAWINGS & MODELS
EVOLVING THE DESIGNS OF UNITS, CLUSTERS & COMMUNITY SPACES
CORRELATING DESIGN WITH OBSERVATIONS FROM PRIMARY & SECONDARY REFERENCES
EVALUATING THE SHIFTS IN AND CHALLENGES TO PRIMARY RESPONSES
REVIEW 3: CLOSURE OF MODULE-3
BRIEF 4:THE PRAGMATIC HEDONIC PART PLANS, WALL SECTION & MODEL @ 1:20/ 10
CONSTRUCTION & FINISHING DETAILS
REVIEW 4 – TERM-END: COURSE CLOSURE
The 16-week studio is structured as four successive briefs of varying durations
The first brief introduces students to nomenclature and representation of diverse elements and spaces that they are familiar with from experience. The second brief proceeds into applying these recollections, observations and inferences on to unfamiliar situations of case studies and preliminary design. From the larger gestures of grids & bays and massing & volumes, the studio processes proceed into developing the architectural vocabulary across the scales of houses, clusters and the site with the help of plans, sections and models. The culminating fourth brief is about learning the making of architecture through construction & finishing details.
The term is divided into four parts, each comprising of set studies and design exercises outlined in a brief along with expected deliverables, formats and assessment criteria & weightage. Students need to closely & constantly refer to briefs while responding to exercises.
The designs & studies done in response to each brief will be presented to peers and the tutor and followed up with conversations. Consequent feedback and insights need to be incorporated in the iterations of the work for presentation and discussion in the following week. The briefs will be closed after the stipulated duration in a review by an external reviewer.
Students are expected to document their work regularly and also note down insights, shifts and high & low points in their processes – reflections, not just descriptions. These notes and the documentation need to be compiled into and submitted as a Reflective Essay at the end of every brief.
Miro will be used throughout the term to post and discuss work. Students are encouraged to revisit the Miro boards in between studio sessions to refer to their own works in relation to their peers’. This has the possibility of almost filling in for the tackboards in the shared studio space which we are missing online. Seeing others’ works is an important part of learning.
One of the advantages of an online studio is the regular & proper documentation of studio work, without which studio discussions are not possible. Students are advised to update their works immediately following reviews so that curating the final portfolio is only a matter of choosing its constituents and not revising old works.
Considering that the tutor engagement is rather short during the course of the week (owing to the 1:14 tutor/ student ratio and 9 hours of contact), students are clubbed into two clusters of seven students each and further grouped into threes and fours. This helps in scaling down the studio engagements to an intimately effective size, with group members also helping to record minutes of a discussion.
Although no group-work will be assigned, the grouping further helps students in cross-checking interpretations and expectations of briefs, bouncing ideas off each other, offering feedback on and sustaining parity across each others’ works, all outside the studio sessions. This is a vital formal strategy intended to make up for an informal social dimension missing in online studios.
All instructions, announcements, briefs, material, assignments and references will be posted on Google Classroom. Students need to keep a close watch on emails received from the Classroom channel.
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA & WEIGHTAGE
Work produced across briefs, through the term will be assessed as per the three primary criteria of Representation, Submission & Resolution. These three, however, are comprised of ten sub-criteria as follows:
REPRESENTATION of Ideas, Explorations, Solutions & Design Succinctness: Appropriateness & Adequateness of Mediums & Methods Skill: Technique, Detail & Care in Skills & Mediums Applied Expression: Correctness and Evocativeness of Representation
SUBMISSION of Assignments & Deadlines Iterations: Number of Trials or Ideas Explored in the Course of Development Completion: Fulfillment of Requisite Processes and Deliverables Punctuality: Timely Delivery and Studio Participation
RESOLUTION of Design Solution or Response to Task Analyses: Understanding of Parts and their Relationships to the Whole Structure: Integration/ Abstraction of Components & Layout/ Construct Diversity: Variety of Ideas/ Elements/ Mediums/ Spaces in the Work Synthesis: Ingenuity in Assimilating Parameters/ Insights/ Concerns in Solution
While all six criteria within Representation & Submission will apply across all works irrespective of the nature of the exercise, applicability of criteria within Resolution will depend on the objectives and deliverables of an exercise. The assessment criteria will be clearly stated in each brief.
Reading is important since it opens up the possibility of imagining new worlds, which one may never have the opportunity to experience. Reading is necessary because it is meditative (of course, depending on what one reads) and develops language and vocabulary. Reading is indispensable because it fires parts of the brain by inviting it to participate and complete a story in a manner which is different from the passive arousal of visual fast-food.
It will do a world of good if students read through a book or two from each of the three clusters listed below and also meet with their groups at least once a week to discuss the readings:
Yatin Pandya: Elements of Spacemaking
Francis D. K. Ching: Architecture: Form, Space, & Order
Kevin Lynch: The Image of the City
Christopher Alexander: A Pattern Language
N J Habraken: The Structure of the Ordinary: Form and Control in the Built Environment
Kent C Bloomer & Charles W Moore: Body, Memory & Architecture
Robert Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture
Robert Venturi, Steven Izenour & Denise Scott Brown: Learning from Las Vegas – The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form
Peter Zumthor: Atmospheres
Louis Kahn: Conversations with Students
Juhani Pallasmaa: The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses
Jan Gehl: Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space
Jane Jacobs: The Death and Life of Great American Cities