Due: Friday 09 September, 1:50pm
Vertical circulation allows human and non-human actors and objects to convey from one elevation to another without exhausting too much energy. Stairs, ramps, escalators and elevators are historical conventions of vertical circulation (in the same way that a haiku, sonnet or villanelle is a form of poetry). However, as any landscape or infrastructure they are collector spaces that are used by multiple users parallel and therefore offer a realm of social interaction. How can a design exceed the mere function of vertical circulation? You will (a) ‘exhaustively” measure and record the intrinsic and extrinsic attributes of a stair on campus acknowledging all the actors in play. (b) re-design the stair with programed intent. Most stairs have the following attributes (treads, risers, nosing, structure, handrail, guardrail?, landings?, connection to two floors or other planes of activity, etc.).
This stair could also be an apparatus: for learning about some academic subject, to support social activity or encourage solitude, as a participant in organizing materials, as a support for conveying different sizes and types of (human and non-human?) bodies, etc.. Based on your your exhaustive analysis, program the stair considering existing and possible uses and behaviours.
1 Measure and Record Drawings- in panels 30×30 or 30×60 Demonstrate and show your observations, subsequent research and analysis (include sketches, notes, annotations, questions, researched/retrieved data.). Draw conclusions and develop an agenda. How can the stair exceed the mere function of vertical circulation?
2. Re-Design -in panels 30×30 or 30×60
Consider the elements and spaces that you have observed and recorded and compare them to the conclusions you’ve drawn. Begin to alter your drawings to reflect the influences on the site and develop a strategy for modeling them. Alter and/or augment your drawings and build sketch model to reflect these influences.
3. Model Stair as ‘apparatus’- 30” x 30” x 15” (minimum), scale 1”=2’ (60’ x 60’ x 30’)
Materials: Elements should be modeled using appropriate materials and thicknesses (museum board, cardstock, balsa wood, basswood, chipboard, dowels, etc.).
Instructions: This is a planar and spatial model. Thinking about the stair as learning apparatus, how can the stair be designed as a system that supports learning, socializing, or some other agenda? Consider the materiality of elements required for various components and activity.
Julio Cortazar, Instructions on How to Climb a Staircase
Georges Perec, On The Stairs
Georges Perec, An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris
Georges Perec, Infra-Ordinary
Herman Hertzberger, Space and Learning, The School as City
Rem Koolhaas, Elements, Stairs, Marsilio, 2014 (excerpts)
Christian Norberg-Schulz; Genius Loci, (see “Spanish Steps”) pages 160 – 170, 1979