Bamboo ReVisions

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Felix Raspall

Architecture has a fundamental relationship to materiality. Matter not only makes architecture “physical”, it supplies fertile opportunities to advance its own expressive possibilities. How can material technologies, from traditional to cutting edge, empower the compositional and typological intentions of the designer’s imagination? “Bamboo revisions” focuses on a specific material, bamboo, which serves as a platform to examine architecture’s essential topics such as form, space, typology, structure, energy and narrative. In this way, instead of an inert recipient of the designer’s commands, bamboo becomes the means to embark into creative design production and critical discussion.

The studio welcomes and encourages variety in approaches, from formal and spatial explorations to technological innovations using advanced digital technologies or proposals that targets social concerns related to the production of bamboo. Throughout the term, projects will develop from initial concepts into rigorous projects through constant architectural production and experimentation on drawings, physical and digital models and other design techniques and formats. The studio’s fi nal output will be a fully-fl edged design of a building, whose program, typology and form will embody a critical position developed throughout the term.

The first four weeks will start with the short assignment “the chair”. Chairs has been a crucible for architectural ideas and their design throughout the trajectory of modern architecture has serve as a laboratory for the concise expression of idea, material, fabrication, and form. In this exercise, students develop their design and fabrication skills using bamboo through exploration of the conceptual, aesthetic, and structural issues involved in the design and construction of a full-scale prototype chair. Concurrently, students will conduct a thorough study of the basics of bamboo in architecture, including the social and environmental aspects, the spatial and typological dimensions, the technical details and the
canonical projects of bamboo architecture.

During the fourth week, the studio will travel to Vietnam and China to study the characteristics and activities in bamboo villages and visit the work and office of Vo Trong Nghia and other Vietnamese designers to discuss our projects and initial findings.

The second part of the term will be devoted to the definition and clarification of design position and the development of initial intuitions into fully-fledged architectural projects. Emphasis will be placed on delivered conceptual thinking and high-quality architectural representation, including drawings and plenty of physical models. The studio will promote intense studio culture, balancing hard and passionate design work with heated architectural conversations between the studio team of students, faculty and collaborators.