Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute / First Year Undergraduate Studio
– Project Credits:
Edwin Liu (Studio Instructor)
Students: Sarah Bertis, Chen Wentai, Varun Chillara, Kaitlin Dell, Zeyu Feng, Allison Thayer, Elias Tonias, Ally Turner, Deanna Valcor, Erica Vinson, Zheng Lei
The ocean will serve as the context for a design studio that will explore new relationships between architecture and the environment. With parts of it still largely unexplored, the deep ocean remains a mysterious realm, populated by creatures and geological formations that have never seen the light of day. This setting will force students to question their assumptions about architectural issues such as construction materials, enclosure, interior versus exterior spaces, form and function, programmatic sequencing, stability, gravity, light, orientation, and site.
There will be three phases to the semester. In the first phase, students will learn fundamental conceptual and representational techniques, while also learning how to discuss and present their ideas through the examination of a grid system and various two- dimensional and three-dimensional transformation exercises. The second phase will build upon the work of the first phase and introduce the ocean as an external force imposed upon built form and space. Students will be asked to examine how their three- dimensional grid studies will be affected by pressure, balance, gravity, and buoyancy.
Additionally, students will look towards sea-dwelling flora and fauna for conceptual and formal inspiration about how to deal with these issues. The third phase will incorporate all the work from the previous two phases into the proposal of a habitation situated underwater. This design will take the grid system transformation generated in phase one, apply the external site condition of the ocean and the formal and functional studies of underwater life, and apply it to an architectural proposal for living within the ocean.