April 26, 2004
Project Helps Students Rethink a Material World
A class at Auburn University explore the issues of materiality and sustainability involved in making a wall.
Last fall, Auburn University students enrolled in Associate Professor Magdalena Garmaz’s “Naming and Building of the Wall” studio undertook a four-week project to explore the issues of materiality and sustainability involved in making a wall. After these pupils, who hailed from both the architecture and interior architecture departments, researched materials that were recyclable and earth-friendly, they built structures from them. In the process of building the walls, which were two feet by six feet, minimum, the students also arrived at a personal definition of what a wall was—a divider, skin, barrier, or something else altogether. Building matter used ranged from CDs, shredded office paper, and plastic trash bags to gelatin, plastic bottles, and pine cones.
According to Garmaz, the project was rooted in the way walls, with their “opacity and transparency,” create different spatial constructs; it also was inspired, she says, by Metropolis’s “Productsphere” columns, which often detail innovative, sustainable materials. Below are some of the students’ final projects.