June 12, 2012
Designing and Building a Pavilion: II
The Yale Pavilion is an experiment in what digital technology allows us to produce with our own hands and tools. The model for engaging architecture students in construction as an educational experience is rare in the annals of the profession. Few architects become laborers on their own construction sites. Paradoxically, technology may serve to reunite […]
The Yale Pavilion is an experiment in what digital technology allows us to produce with our own hands and tools. The model for engaging architecture students in construction as an educational experience is rare in the annals of the profession. Few architects become laborers on their own construction sites.
Paradoxically, technology may serve to reunite architects with production. Digital design and fabrication tools allow for highly specialized components to be produced with greater efficiency, speed, and quality control when architects also serve as fabricators.
These tools are widely available in the Yale shop for numerous seminars devoted to fabrication. Many of them facilitate façade design, which, in itself, is a testament to its emerging importance to designers. In fact, some predict that the delivery methods of architecture will be changed as a result.
In The Alphabet and the Algorithm, theorist (and Yale faculty member) Mario Carpo, outlines two project delivery methods that were present in the early Italian Renaissance. He reminds us that Brunelleschi, designer of the Florence Cathedral’s dome, was heavily involved in construction, leading the work crew and making key decisions during the building process. On the other hand, Alberti, whose drawing set for a building was as good as built, did not involve himself in the construction process at all. And he would not tolerate deviations from his original drawings.
Since the Renaissance, architecture has largely been following Alberti. We produce sets of drawings for clients, but we’re rarely involved in the process of building. But, as Carpo writes, the proliferation of digital tools has the potential to upend this system.
It was this realization that spurred a number of us into action to initiate this seminar. Having worked for a number of years in professional offices before returning to graduate school, we were interested in the relationship between investigations in an academic setting and their implications to the practice. All we needed was a client, a budget, a professor, and a site.
David Bench is a recent MArch II graduate from Yale, having entered the program in 2010 after four years at Richard Meier & Partners. In the same year, he completed his first independent design-build project, a loft conversion in Brooklyn. David received his B. Arch. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006 and is a registered architect in New York.
This post is part of a series on Designing and Building a Pavilion