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    Control: Learning X, Y, Z

    Jamie Evelyn Goldsborough
    Jan 18, '16 12:50 PM EST

    Fall Graduate 1 Studio Synopsis

    Geometry has an ambiguous reputation, associated as much with idiocy as with cleverness. -The Projective Cast: Architecture and its Three Geometries (Introduction). Robin Evans

    From the syllabus: Historically, architecture has been heavily invested in the spatial and descriptive principles of geometry. In Robin Evan’s text “The Projective Cast”, Evans ties the advancement of the discipline directly to the representational techniques of the time. Today, architecture is often divided between two mathematical camps: Euclidean (planar points/lines that are easily located within the 3-dimensional space of a Cartesian grid system) and Non-Euclidean (non-planar points/lines that are difficult to locate in the 3-dimensional space of a Cartesian grid system). This introductory studio situates itself at the intersection of these two types and seeks to unpack their historical and future potential in the form of projective geometry (drawing) and advanced computation (modeling). As a studio, we will approach this problem by isolating and then recomposing the axial space within which these types are produced.

    The very first incoming graduate studio in the fall semester is focused around the word Control. Students are expected to exert means of “control” over progressive exercises within the X, Y and Z axis before a culmination of the final project (“X, Y, Z”) combining all learned experiences and techniques. The studio began with a selection process of eight various roof profile types: mono-pitch, gable, saltbox, m-shaped, butterfly, lean-to, dome, vault. We then questioned their orientation, organization and architectural role within the generic Cartesian coordinate system: X, Y, and Z. During the X-Axis phase (known as shed) each student produced on-axis and off-axis rules relating to their roof profile. The on-axis models run strictly perpendicular to the x-axis while off-axis deviate slightly from the perpendicular x-axis line. This "rule" was flexible, per the students' own definition of "on" and "off" axis. We used basic modification tools (such as scale, orient and multiply) as a regulation to create these new forms in (a UIC-favorite) 3D program Rhino. For many of us, this was our first time using the Rhino software, so there was a hefty learning curve in creating our models and drawings. During the Y-Axis phase we studied biaxial organizations towards the production of spatial types in addition to more complex technique operations. We created subtractive types (“Caves”) and additive types (“Cruciforms”) from the existing pool of on- and off-axis forms. During the Z-Axis phase we formed totems through the addition of parts to produce either continuous or discontinuous wholes. The totems typically engaged all axis as a means of orienting the viewer and producing a continuous narrative in the round. During the final project (“X, Y, Z”) site and program finally came into play. We were each assigned a standard dimensioned Chicago double-lot size, and requirements to produce a multi-unit building. Control was demonstrated in our concepts through the first three assignments in both a physical and verbal manner through text and representation.

    Below is a breakdown of each project phase and deliverables associated to aid in an understanding of the student work samples.

    • X

    Archetype: Shed / Drawing Type: Axonometric

    • Y

    Archetype: Caves & Cruciforms / Drawing Type: Plan & Reflected Ceiling Plan Oblique

    • Z

    Archetype: Totems / Drawing Type: Perspective & Animated GIF

    • XYZ

    Archetype: Multi-Unit Building / Drawing Type: Wildcard, Plan, Section


    Required Readings:

    Evans, Robin. The Projective Cast: Architecture and Its Three Geometries. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995.

    Jasper, Michael. "Working It Out: On John Hejduk’s Diamond Configurations." Architectural Histories, 2014.


    • 1 Comment

    • Nice work

      Jan 25, 16 8:13 pm  · 

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A collection of perspectives, rememberings, and thoughts as a dual Master of Architecture + Master of Arts Design Criticism graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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