Architecture Studio: Building in Landscapes

Course Info

Course Number/Code: 4.125B (Fall 2005)
Course Title: Architecture Studio: Building in Landscapes
Course Level: Undergraduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
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Department: Architecture
Course Instructor(s): Prof. Jan Wampler
Course Introduction:
Syllabus Community and Privacy - Building in Earthtexture

The work for the semester is the designing of places for community and privacy. These are always the two main issues that we have as architects. How to make spaces that can respond to the needs of the community for joyful livable places of interaction and how to respond to the dreams of individuals to provide for a joyful livable place of their own.

The second concern is building on the land or - earthtexture. Earthtexture includes land, sky, air, wind, sun, context- all the influence what we design. Architecture happens in the space between the sky and land and the designs for the studio will always take this into account.

We will also explore materials and structures that can relate to earthtexture and to give architectural meaning to the forms. It is with an understanding of materials/structures that we can give form to our ideas of architecture.

Finally, and most important, we will be understanding and reflecting the ideas and dreams of the people we are designing for. Architecture is an echo of our society and culture and at the same time it can influence the way that people relate to their surroundings.

There are four projects for the semester.

The first two projects will be the same for both sections (Alan Joslin and Jan Wampler). Both sections will also share lectures, information and field trips during the semester as well as consultants and instructors will be available to both sections. For the second part of the semester the two projects have a similar theme of building for the individual and community, however they will use different sites and different programs.

The first project is designing a "Performance Place" in an abandoned quarry in Rockport near Boston. The concern is how to design a cover for the sky - sky form - and a platform for the land - landform - that can give people shelter from the wind, sun, rain, and snow while enjoying a performance of your choice.

The second project is a short building project to design an "A Place for the Homeless". This will be designed and built by teams of 4 or 5 from either section. The project will explore creative uses of materials that are recycled or inexpensive to provide a shelter and place of dignity for the homeless. This project will be done with Chris Dewart, Cambridge Agencies and homeless people input. The final building project will be assembled in on the MIT campus and viewed by MIT, City of Cambridge Agencies, students and faculty.

The third project is to design an "An Individual Place in the Sky" on the rooftops and walls of buildings in the North End (Wampler), or on and around the BU Bridge (Joslin). This is another translation of land and we will treat the area as a quarry, the buildings being sides of this quarry. Sites will be on rooftops, on sides of the bridge/buildings, or both. There will be as many sites as designers in the studio and each will be asked to pick a site -space- and design a place for you to live and work while projecting your life ten years from now. Each house must connect in some way to a neighbor so that there will be village in the sky or on the bridge. Again the architecture must not only relate to the sky and land but also attached to the walls or roof.

The last project and longest part, is to design "A Coming Together Place" for members of your studio on a site in the same area. The project is the making of a small building of not more than 5,000 square feet that might contain, meeting places, work rooms, living places, etc. The program for the building is to be designed by each studio member. Adjacent to this building will be a small "earthplace" a place related to nature that might be enjoyed by not only your community but also others in the North End or BU Bridge community.

During the semester, designing mediums will include many kinds of sketch modeling, sketching, making of full size pieces of the building and drawing methods both that you used last semester and new ones. In addition we will be working in digital programs, such as Adobe® Photoshop®, Microsoft® PowerPoint®, digital photo programs that can be useful in explaining your design.

Other issues for the semester include, the making of the space and space within, the making of large scale and human size spaces, the making of light and shadow and the making of beautiful architecture.

This class was taught concurrently with 4.125A. Some of the assignments are the same, some are different, and the sites for the final project are different. But since they were taught in tandem, it would be useful to look at both together.