ARCH 120 Basic Design II


Basic Design Studio II (ARCH 120) is built around four pillars of study: Structural systems; Material Behavior; Form and Space; and Environmental Context. With each of them, students are invited to work with a variety of materials, to explore their properties (color, texture, type, size, number, behavior) and to utilize them in ways that maximize their qualities. They study why and according to which rules, main ideas, principles, parameters and constraints various design elements could/would and/or should (or should not!) come together (to make a composition) – in any given visual field.


The aim of this exercise is to build a wearable structure to cover the upper part of the body (parts of the head, one or two shoulders and upper part of the torso). It is composed of repeating units and each unit will be generated through the technique of cutting, scoring and folding. When designing the wearable structure, students are expected to use these units and their parametric variations to explore probable folding variations of basic geometric shapes. The final product should demonstrate controlled flexibility, stability and durability. Three dimensional quality of the final composition is an important aspect. Students are expected to use their knowledge of strong and weak types of connections (i.e., interlocking) and design their own details; they are not allowed to use glue or any other adhesive material.


The aim of this exercise is to learn about structural forces by making a three dimensional composition and by exploring the relationship between physical and visual balance. Using 3 self-standing units, wool strings, thumbtacks, and additional materials which work either in compression or tension, students are asked to design a 3D composition within a 40x40x40 cm frame. They are supposed to cover approximately half of the structure, and apply weaving, patching and interlocking techniques to create continuous surfaces. None of the wooden elements of this unit should touch each other. The forces acting on each point should be equal to zero and distributed evenly along the sticks and strings. This exercise requires students to design their own connection details. They are not allowed to use glue or any other adhesive material.


In this exercise students are asked to design a self-standing unit in [1/1] scale by using metal materials. The self-standing unit will function as a light source/lighting device. Like in the structure exercise the use of adhesive materials is not allowed; students are expected to develop connection details. The aims of the exercise are twofold: the first is to learn about the material behavior; students need to mobilize their knowledge of structural forces to successfully work with different types of metal which would operate either in compression or tension. The second is to introduce function as a design parameter. The end product asks for the design of multiple layers with different surface and material qualities to control light.


In this exercise students learn about context/site and different qualities and properties of space. They design a “narrative path” that crosses the given site from one end to the other by making a stop at three “stations.” In these stations they are expected to engage in the following activities: 1) observing; 2) reading; and 3) playing. The next step is to design the experience that takes place before, during and after these activities (transitional spaces). The entry and exit to stations (T1 and T4) are especially important since they mark the beginning and ending of the experience/activity. In addition, T2 and T3 should reflect two of these three experiences: tactile, visual and aural. The site is bounded by a small hill on one side and a creek on the other with a group of trees located alongside it. Working through section models and drawings students should consider different times of the day, seasons and weather conditions; they are expected to form opaque, translucent and transparent surfaces as well as open, semi open and closed areas. Finally, they are not allowed to bring furniture in; instead, they can use the earth and the structural system to develop interior spaces. The scale of the model and drawings are 1/50.