08 / Synthesis / Investigation / Experiential Environment / 24 Oct 14:00-18:00

08 / Investigation / Synthesis / Experiential Environment

“Details are much more than subordinate elements, they can be regarded as the minimal units of signification in the architectural production of meanings.  …Details can be “material joints,” as in the case of a capital, which is the connection between a column shaft and an architrave, or they can be “formal joints,” as in the case of a porch, which is the connection between an interior and an exterior space.


This large scale spatial model explores how distinct architectural systems can be composed, together, to give shape to various experiential states.  This model might represent a moment in time, or it could investigate conditions and experiential states that shift daily, weekly, seasonally, etc.

Architectural systems include things we’ve already examined: circulation (stairs and ramps), landscapes, structures, envelopes, spatial sequences, apertures, material qualities, natural and artificial illumination, etc.

Experiential states include organizations, programs of activity, modes, environments, seasons, climates, illumination; timings of quotidien or special events; hierarchies, equalities, and relationships between protagonists and relationships to other inhabitants; changes in surrounding metropolitan patterns, etc.


This review will take the form of a design competition; judged in Crown on October 24 from 2:00-6:00pm.  


You’ve received five different programmatic references:

You’ve also speculated on shaping agendas through various systems and assemblies

  • stairs
  • landscapes
  • structures
  • envelopes
  • organizational models.

Now you are asked to synthesize agendas into a building section model to speculate on a spatial and material experience for a school.  Think of this model as a representative slice that contains a logic which could be applied to an entire building. Craft a high-quality physical sectional and spatial model to develop an experiential and tectonic approach to the project.  

  1. The model should fit within a volume that is 60”W x 30”D x 48” tall.  
  2. The model should have a scale of 1/4″ = 1’-0”
  3. The model should be both sectional and volumetric – i.e. spatial – and should convey relationships between programmatic territories, climatic enclosures, vertical circulation, structural logic and site/landscape relations.  
  4. This singular means of presentation suggests that you should deliver the very highest levels of aesthetic ambition, craft and care.


  • generate spatial, sensorial and social effects
  • investigate how a model can act as a conceptual and narrative device
  • develop an approach that relates relates parts to the whole
  • develop an approach that relates systems to systems
  • develop project specific techniques and craft
  • explore the implications of design in section
  • experience a competitive project working environment
  • kick-start schematic design with a model as thought framework


  • Does the experience of your proposal contribute to its use in meaningful ways?
  • Does the model communicate/embody an appropriate design approach for the project?
  • Does the model communicate the way architectural systems advance an aesthetic agenda?
  • Does your investigation suggest tectonic logics that can extend to an entire building, or site?


Brandon Hookaway, Ambient Organization.
Lisa Heschong, Thermal Delight in Architecture.
Rem Koolhaas, Bigness.
Max Risselada, Raumplan versus Plan Libre.
Phillipe Rahm, et al, Climate as a Design Factor

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