The fourth week of the quarter starts tomorrow and it’s rather incredible the amount of new techniques a brain can process and learn in such a short period of time. During the last couple of weeks we have been expected to design, digitally create, physically build and draw our first project all while balancing the demands of a history, theory and digital modeling class.
During this first quarter most of the first-year grad students are enrolled in 16 units, some in more and some in less depending on prerequisites and previous course completion. The normal course load consists of Ancient and Medieval Arch. History (Lecture 3, Discussion 1), Behavioral Factors in Arch. (4), Intro to Digital Media (2), and probably the most important component, Intro to Arch. Design and Lab (3+3).
Without a doubt the studio aspect of the program has required the most time and has presented the steepest learning curve, especially for me. Hand-drawing an axonometric view of my project was frustrating and difficult, but definitely rewarding when done.
The first project assigned in studio deals with the idea of design by program. Basically we start by taking components from a room in our house (i.e. window frames, doors, walls) and manipulating each component through a matrix of rules. The objective is to create a new space/volume based on the shifting, rotating and expanding of lines and planes (our components) along the x, y and z axis and according to the rules of our program. Initially everyone was a bit lost and confused by the ambiguous design strategy of this project, but after working on this project for the last three weeks I now appreciate the undefined nature of this design process.
During our first project review our graduate director, Kip Dickson, explained that often first-year architecture students see the study of architecture as simply learning how to build houses and skyscrapers but he emphasizes that architecture goes far beyond houses and skyscrapers to explore systems of organization, functionality, and non-ordinary systems of design.
Now that we are moving past our first review we are taking elements of the first stage of this project to incorporate and set the course for the next design task. Currently we are working on using three cut sections from our first model to create new composites that will represent three new cut sections and will be use to extrude new volumetric shapes and create a whole new space (I can’t believe I just wrote that and that it actually makes some sense). I’m sure this is a bit confusing but I will posts some pictures with updates as this next stage of the project develops.
First-year graduate student in the M.Arch program at Cal Poly Pomona. I have a background in philosophy with little to no studio experience. I'm here to document my three year experience at Cal Poly and hopefully provide answers to those with non-architecture backgrounds seeking to enroll in an architecture program all while showing the various non-traditional ways of engaging with the academic discipline and further exploring the intersection of theory and practice.