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August 21, 2008 School of Architecture College of Architecture Arts and Humanities Clemson University ARCH 251 L – Architectural Foundations I Fall 2009, all sections

fragment one : pause Due on Monday at the beginning of class

Constructing a grammar for architecture and narrative With this exercise, we will explore space-making and spatial relationships through composition. We will develop and catalog techniques concerning object and material relationships that help us manipulate and describe the nature and quality of spaces we conceive. This exercise will specifically examine: a: space as transient b: objects and materials in space c: space as orientation For example, a window may have been conceived as transient in nature; ‘window of opportunity’, as a stationary and distant object; ‘the dining room window’, or a device used to frame a view; ‘The room was filled with the scent of the ocean. She slid to the window where the night sky illuminated the crashing waves below.’ As an object, we understand the window as an assembly of materials, as a solid and a void simultaneously, as having a spatial relationship to its physical context. The window, however, is merely one element that helps to define a space. In fact, it is impossible to define a space without drawing a relationship to a context. A sheet of paper alone is still on a desk, in a room, in a building. A single line drawn on that sheet still must exist within the boundary of the sheet itself. At the same time, using words such as ‘window’ to define a space not yet considered bears the weight of cultural conditioning and symbolism. To free ourselves of these concerns and approach the question of spatial relationships as directly as possible, we will begin by creating space with a few of the most essential elements; a point, a line and a plane. A point, in essence, is a single location in space. It is without scale and is universal in proportion. A line implies a two dimensional object. Direction, scale and proportion are all factors that may describe a line. A plane (for the sake of this exercise ) differs from a line with the addition of a third dimension, thickness. A. Construct 3 studies that contain 3 components: Assemble the three components into three different scenarios.

Components: Cartesian cross, ~ 1/8” or 1/16” linear Thick opaque plane, 1/2” – 3/4” thickness Thin transparent plane, 1/16” (or smaller) thickness

Models_ Through modeling these studies you will investigate the intersection of the components and the reactions they have on each other. Materiality is important in this step. Think about how materials want to go together. Be sure to imply the boundary by bringing the elements out to the 3” x 3” x 3” boundary. A very high level of craftsmanship is expected. Do Not Use Hot Glue Guns.


Materials_ Construct the thick plane out of chip or museum board. The thin transparent plane can be made out of acetate, plexi-glass, or abrasive mesh (a kind of sandpaper available at any hardware store). The cartesian cross can be bass wood or soldered piano wire.

3 studies: each model will integrate the three components and must exist within a 3” x 3” x 3” boundary

B. Examine the grammar of your models: Create a series of drawings that describe spatial relationships in your models. A technique may be described as a method of accomplishing a desired aim An effect describes a distinctive impression produced in one’s mind. light, sound, texture, material properties and particular spatial arrangements are all vehicles for effects. Drawings_ As you experiment with the fabrication of your models, be aware of the spatial and material relationships you are creating. Make a catalog of these emergent techniques and effects by assigning a name, definition, and explanatory diagram of each. Remember, this set of drawings is an opportunity for you to describe, clearly and in detail, each technique and effect you deliver in your models. Drawings should be 1:1 scale [full size] and will therefore each exist in a 3”x3” boundary. Use a sequence of three squares [viewed left to right] to display your techniques or effects. For each of these, the drawing at the left should identify its name and its essential description. The two drawings at the right should be measured, technical renditions highlighting the technique or effect you describe. These may be any combination of orthographic projections, section perspectives or axonometric drawings. Select three techniques or effects to describe for each model.

Model 1 drawings

Model 2 drawings

Materials_ Watercolor Paper. Medium to be specified in studio.

Model 3 drawings


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