2b | space, experience and midterm reviews

As we move towards the mid-term, our goal will be to fully develop our proposals by working in model form, using sectional models at various scales to understand the complete array of architectural systems that combine to form space.  Working with light, material, boundary, structure, circulation, use, furniture, scale, texture, threshold, etc, you should continue to build on your ideas from the inside out, working in as much detail as possible to fully develop the spaces of your monastery, and perhaps more importantly, the transitions between the spaces.

– design space and experience, as opposed to form
– continue to implement your programmatic strategies using architectural systems that primarily shape the interiors and volumes of your monastery
– learn to build efficient and effective large study models with a variety of materials focusing on spatial impact and an iterative process.
– develop diagrammatic building plans and sections in conjunction and harmony with models and spaces as opposed to before and/or after.

In the week’s time between now and midterm reviews, you are to rigorously develop the space and sequence of your projects iteratively, and predominantly in model form.  Using whole building massing and sectional models of various scales, the individual spaces of your monastery as well as the sequence between spaces, and between the interior and exterior.  Develop a series of models at a variety of scales that can be used to accurately and comprehensively describe your comprehensive building proposal, leaving no space unexplored.
Ignore the standard and time-consuming conventions of MDF walls and replace them with a quicker, more nimble, less consequential, and therefore more effective strategies for exploring layers of materiality, aperture, circulation sequences, furnishings, etc. Work in models as you would with drawings.  Treat them as a sequential process of development. No two models should be exactly the same and no two models shall be completely different.  Work in a controlled manner, yet rigorously to develop a number of different explorations that will ultimately provide the highest potential for your monastery design.

Develop a thorough midterm presentation that describes a complete building proposal, it’s spatial organization, it’s spatial character, it’s massing, and it’s site impact predominantly in model form.

Midterm Reviews will be held in Upper Core on Wednesday, March 7th, starting promptly at 2pm.  Reviews will be conducted in your individual studios with guest critics.

Deliverables for the review are as follows:
– an organizational diagram or diagrams (such as plans and sections) that describe the sequence/scale/arrangement of your spaces and their relative position on the site.
– full building sectional models – minimum of 2 – at ⅛” to ¼” scale describing massing, sequence, scale and relationship to the site.
– individual space and between spaces sectional models at ⅜” to ½” – minimum of 3 – describing scale, light, experience, materiality, texture, structure, etc.
– any other drawings or models necessary to communicate your proposal or process. These make include study models, massing models, sketches, rendered photographs of models, etc.

NOTE:  Models can be made of any and all materials, but focus on being specific and accurate to ensure that you adequately describe the depth of your exploration and the full and accurate experience of the space.  For example, don’t model 12” thick gray concrete walls from a single layer of black chip board for your final presentation as it doesn’t fully convey your understanding or the proper experience of the material or scale.


Study Abroad in Wales – Midday Presentation by Dr. Cristian Suau


As part of the COA’s international study abroad program, Dr. Cristian Suau from the Wales School of Architecture is going to give a short presentation about the possibilities of studying architecture in Cardiff and the region of Wales.

The presentation will take place today (Monday, Feb. 27) at 12:30pm in the Lower Core of Crown Hall.

Exploring Space Workshop

before class
Please locate sheet good materials to produce two (2) 1/2”=1’-0” models of a 450 sf space with the dimensions 18’x24’.

Pre-cut sheets of  ¼” or ½” white foam core, cardboard, chip board, etc.  Please use scrap materials wherever possible and share amongst each other when you can.

you will need:
(2) 9”x12” boards. These will be the floors for your spaces.
(8) 15” tall boards to create walls for your space. Account for the thickness of your material; the walls are to sit on the “floor”.
(2) boards to be used as ceiling planes. The ceiling will sit inside the walls so, again, account for the thickness of that material.
(1) 4”x4” board
(1) 12”x4” board

In addition to the space defining sheets you should have the following pre-prepared items
(10) ½” scale figures standing
(2) groups of 5 scale figures sitting on a simple bench.

suggested additional tools/materials
Extra building material
Digital Camera (or share with a friend)
Exacto with plenty of fresh blades
Masking Tape
Hot glue gun
An angle poise lamp or flashlight


schedule of events
2:00 +lower core
introduction | the value and meaning of “space” intro to photographing models

2:30 +in studio
exercise 1 | examining space
Working with your precut materials you will quickly assemble one space, holding the walls together with masking tape. Explore concepts of grandeur, comfort, appropriateness, discomfort and danger by gradually lowering the ceiling using dress maker pins to hold it in place. Get into your space and study the “feel” of the space with different ceiling heights. Photograph each iteration of the space before you disassemble it. Place your scale figures into the space to evaluate each change you make.
3:00 +in studio
exercise 2 | manipulating space
Using the ceiling arrangement you deemed most appropriate during exercise 1, deploy the (2) freestanding walls within the space. These interior walls may be used independently or in consort. How can you create intimacy, screen another activity, provide surfaces for artwork or program with these walls? Use your scale figures to reinforce the tableau. Again, photograph each iteration.


3:45 +in studio
exercise 3 | “let there be light”
Using your model from exercise 2, take down the deployed walls and remove or puncture the exterior walls to create opportunities for light and view. Consider a strategy before you start cutting so you can use the same board over different iterations. Explore the directionality of the light, the size of the aperture, the height of the opening relative to the floor and the ceiling, and its relationship to other walls. Use your light source to bring light into the space and photograph each iteration and lighting effect.


after class
Now you have a series of digital photographs of your work and of the spaces you have created. For Friday’s class manipulate these photographs to best describe your outcomes and further explore the potential. Select 3 photographs of your space and modify them to create vignettes which communicate the “feel” of the space as you imagine it. At the most basic level you will need to clean up edges from your study models, eliminate glue marks or tears in the paper and remove any background of the studio space. With these clean, baseline images you can add colour, scale, texture, a view to another space or make changes to the space digitally. Print copies of your “renderings” for a pin up on Friday.