domingo, 18 de enero de 2009

Course Content

UVa Spring 2009

INSTRUCTOR: Rosana Rubio-Hernandez

“To grasp spatial relationships and orient oneself in the metropolis of today…requires a new way of seeing.” (KEPES 1944)
Recent developments in engineering at the level of optics have transformed Modern industrial glass in a multiple variety of specialized materials that reinvent light as architectural meta attribute. They explode a bigger range of optical and mechanical interplay between them, light and individuals. They have lost part of their transparent nature in favor of expanding the possibilities of thermal and visual light. They can dynamically change their levels of transmission, reflection, diffraction, translucency, transparency and opacity; they can also transform day light into electricity and even transport it, influencing the very architectural and urban features.
In the past fifteen years, as well, some of the most vibrant experiments in architecture have used computer technologies to develop new types of geometries-with curves, facets, and non-standard shapes-and to fabricate architectural elements directly from digital files without working drawings. The incorporation of feed-back systems has also gradually created totally new human environments that are not passive wrappings but active processes.
Building on these investigations, a new type of post-digital experimentation has called into question the "muteness and inertness" of traditional glass architecture and its transparency.
We will be working on the definition of the novel “trans-apparent” condition of glass designing and building full scale envelope prototypes for a polemical urban context such as Times Square in NYC.
We will be exploratory as well as critical with the technology and with the context itself, i.e. in this environment precedent glass architectures can be read as accomplices of consumerism and new glasses as definers of a commerce that is polarized in mass and elite societies. On the one hand, the hybridization of conventional glass with LCDs and LEDs, and on the other, the translucency and information encryption as common denominator of elite boutiques. Thus, we, as designers, will be arguing that there are some other opportunities for the novel glasses to perform in an urban milieu.
To contextualize and move our work we will be drawing in the culture and history of glass, delving in technological as well as in literary, artistic and architectural sources; starting in the mid-nineteen century and focusing specifically in the recent techniques, theories and practices.

Students, working in groups of three or four, may develop a one to one prototype of a glass/plastic envelope, which responds to the urban environment in real time. The work in progress will be up-loaded weekly in the class´ blog and edited in a leaflet by the end of the course.
The process starts with a design proposal that challenge some of the disciplinary questions that the new materials and techniques trigger. Dynamic light and optical effects as spatial definers, the blurring of the boundary between ornamentation, information and publicity as well as issues of visual and haptic perception, will be taken into consideration no less than questions of comfort and sustainability, among others.
The geometry and structure of the envelope will be digitally designed and fabricated.
Students may also design the interactive performance of the construction:
Input—sensing environmental stimuli.Processing—interpreting input data.Output—correspondingly changing optical or luminous conditions in real time.
Pragmatics of this construction will include:
Research on materials: optical films and glasses, LEDs, LCDs and Solar Cells.
Research on Generative Components and Rhino scripting.
Making motion and interactivity: sensors and actuators.
The class will meet for one session each week in hands-on working sessions and will include guest lecturers and critics and discussions about the required readings. A few introductory lectures and exercises will be followed by individual designing, testing, and iterative prototyping.

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