by Manja van de Worp, AA Technical Studies tutor
05 March 2013
AA Lecture Hall, London
AA Technical Studies has recently launched a new event called PLUS. It brings together experts from different fields to express their views on design topics. Searching for links, conflicts and therefore technical inspiration, the events are centred around current design drivers in architecture.
The design process of architecture is very diverse and takes inspiration and design methodologies from various technical fields. PLUS was created out of a need to address the richness that remains hidden behind every design and reveals the unknown depths of the design process. The aim is to engage a deeper understanding and allow 1 PLUS 1 to become 3. In each session, four technical viewpoints on a specific topic are presented which is then followed by a discussion. Panelists, students, AA staff and people from the industry enrich the discussion and fill in gaps based on their own experiences and interests.
The three chosen topics for the different events were based on the three legs on which Technical studies in the AA stands; 1# Structures, 2# Environmental design and 3# Materials.
PLUS #1 Action and Reaction
Action and Reaction in the design process can be seen as an input to the design and a specific reaction to that. It can be linked directly, evolve over time or be part of an open or closed design system. It becomes interesting when actions of various parts of the design adapt to one another and continuously reshape the outcome.
Starting with action and reaction – evolution - in nature; where design is cheap and material is expensive. This contradicts the architectural man-made energy heavy solutions with cheap material. Formula 1 car design, placed in the centre of developing technologies, also evolves with great precision. But in order to stay on top of innovation, a car is redesigned from scratch every year through prototyping and telemetry, enabling an answer to the changing regulations and incorporating new fabrication techniques. In contrast we looked at the development of a product, ETFE cushions, which follow and drive on the demand of the architect and the creativity of the industry to react. Should architecture aim for working within the boundary of the “product” versus the inevitable result of a “new” design that responds to its needs? Tying it all together is the action and reaction between different parties who are required to know the system and to provide the right information at the right time.
PLUS #2 Body, Building & Environment
Understanding the impact of the environment on design, we challenge the extreme versus the technical and the engagement of the occupier with its environment. We question how people and buildings react, influence and engage with their own environment at various scales.
Leave no trace design in the Black Desert and kite-skiing on a Greenland Ice cap - two extreme climates that drive a direct relation of the body to its environment; managing comfort, survival and adaptation. Next to that we place architecture that mediates a certain bandwidth of comfort and creates its own external microclimate. Architectural surfaces and the use of pre-programmed environmentally controlled spaces, change the direct interaction between a body and the environment. A required understanding of green roofs or water surfaces and potential engagement in individual or collective environmental control is needed. But as adaptation of systems like air conditioning are said to be developing at top speed, a new strategy and a new way to engage with it will present itself soon.
The final debate for 2013, PLUS #3 Envelope/Facade, discussed the definition of what is an envelope/facade. We addressed a technological yet theoretical point of view - the use of bricks & energy storing materials, parametric design and optimization techniques for facades bridging different technical disciplines and architectural component based systems.
The intention of PLUS was to leave you with food for thought, with discovered technical interest created by linking different industries and areas of expertise in order to reach a wider audience of the entire AA Community.
For more information:
Technical Studies Programme
Plus #1 Lecture Video
Plus #2 Lecture Video
Plus #3 Lecture Video
[caption id="attachment_932" align="alignnone" width="360"] The overview of the three TS PLUS events[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_936" align="alignnone" width="360"] PLUS #1: Action and Reaction[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_934" align="alignnone" width="360"] PLUS #2: Body, Building and Environment[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_935" align="alignnone" width="360"] PLUS #3: Envelope/ Facade[/caption]