I am very happy to kick off a new school blog to add to the site's archives - while I don't think I can be quite as detailed or frequent as, say, Lian's GSD blog, I can certainly give it the ol' college try.
A brief background:
13 students from Carleton University's M.Arch program in Ottawa, Canada have travelled to Helsinki, Finland to study under Tuomas Toivonen and Nene Tsuboi of NOW Office and in conjunction with Aalto University. NOW Office is a promising new studio located in Helsinki, who have recently finished the Kulttuurisauna in the city centre.
As a graduate from the Dalhousie B.E.D.S. program I've held a long-standing appreciation for the sensitivity of vernacular design and how it can speak to the history of a people - Brian MacKay-Lyons' approach to a 'plain modern' architecture. This study-abroad trip was a rare opportunity to discover a new way of thinking about Critical Regionalism in an environment that is in many ways similar to Canada's east coast, but in a culture completely removed.
Even as I look deeper into critical regionalist thoughts and approaches, I am at the same time trying to teach myself new software skills to understand how to properly represent my ideas in an on-going manner. I've been researching lately the implications of parametric design in contemporary design practice and have started to look into how critical regionalist theories (humanitarian) can coexist and thrive with new parametric processes (techniques), and I believe this will be a large part of my work and research throughout my time in Finland. Last semester I looked at the ethical implications of using parametric principles to drive a design and the transition away from this towards aesthetic considerations; I finished by positing that the best parametric design practices simply allowed the complexity of the script to be the design, rather than seeking a complex image. This was meant to find a connection with Pallasmaa's ideas of a genuine architecture that is deeper than a face-value. This is all preliminary research to help inform the direction our thesis will take in our final year.
I'm hoping to use this blog to be a way to force me to get my thoughts down on... paper? screen? As well as keep an on-going documentation of what we are doing on a weekly basis in Helsinki.
Hope you enjoy it!
An on-going documentation of the work happening in Carleton University's semester-long work for the Directed Studio Abroad to Helsinki, Finland in the joint studies program with Aalto University. January-April 2014.