2013/14 Brief 07 – Indeterminate Design

Over the first semester you have acquired numerous elements including random compositions, magic drawing techniques, films, sound-scapes, poems, programmatic moments, alphabets and physical architectural components that are real things, made out of real materials and which exist in real space. You also have techniques for drawings and construction, methods, materials and experiemental recipes for making real objects.  And you have your studies and research of change and found conditions in Marrakech itself.

These will be the elements that form your architectural proposals. Many of them can be understood as 1:1 components to be used directly as architecture. Other can be scaled up or down, combined, repeated, superimposed, juxtaposed and used to design architectural elements. Alphabets can exist as graphic elements, as the basis of plans and sections, become grilles or balustrades, or doorknobs or coat hooks.

In the development of your project we would like you to use these elements as building blocks for your architectural projects, building outwards in scale. At the same time, we like you to use the chance operation methods developed out of the systematic use of the I Ching to develop plans, sections, elevations, programmes, structural and environmental systems in an indeterminate way. How can you use the I Ching in conjunction with elements of your own work to develop a programme? How can it be used in determining the arrangement of spaces? The heights of floors? The length, width, topography of circulation spaces? The location, size, character and position of windows doors and other elements? The use of components? The relationships between communal and individual uses?

In setting the parameters to which you apply the I Ching you may find the paper “An Urban Grammar for Marrakech” helpful; and the other research you have done on Marrakech and the way in which the city operates. Other sources should be added to the blog as the project progresses.

Another component you should have in place by now is a site. This in itself is a chance element with characteristics, constraints, orientations, microclimates and surrounding uses, which are not determined by you. How do your elements and components interact with the site?

Over the next two weeks we want you to use the I Ching (or other chance operation techniques) to develop, through trial and error, a systematic design technique for developing a programme, plans, sections and elevations of your proposal.  You will need to consider the nature of your components, the programme, the site, materials, scale and means of representation. With regard to the latter we want you to develop techniques of traditional architectural drawings alongside the myriad of different materials including paint, wax, plaster, nails and wood, strings found objects, using chance operation to help you combine techniques.

Whilst we expect certain conventions of architectural representation will need to be adhered to (i.e. plans, section elevations etc), we expect you to be inventive with how you develop these (e.g Drawn in wax?  Drawn by a tree or machine? Etched into plaster? applied with a tree trunk? Dripped in chocolate? Made in string?). 3D things will of course also be welcome. Importantly, as with your earlier work, each thing, whether plan, section, perspective, elevation 1:1 or scaled model should by understood to be a discreet and exquisite piece of work in its own right.

Submission Thursday 13th February.

Outcomes – developed design methodology together with plans sections, elevations, and 3d representations (as drawing and model) of the first iteration of the architectural proposal.

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