Constructions Lab:  Conference Course

Harvard GSD, Fall 2014

Taught by Mark Mulligan and Michael Smith

Material properties, structural behavior, and fabrication / assembly issues in architecture through a combination of lectures, workshops, and design-build projects. Emphasizes two modes of architectural experimentation: analytical and hands-on/intuitive. Abstract and architectonic exercises involving these modes of experimentation will take place in a workshop format, with students working in teams of varying sizes.  Focus on the construction of full-scale artifacts that may be tested against a range of performance criteria.  Topics include fundamental statics; types of loads and reactions; material properties and fabrication; issues of joinery; and common characteristics of structural systems.


"Structure and Skin" final project:  full-size, free-standing, navigable "poché" (space between walls) made of lycra fabric skin, poplar wood and plywood frame

[see Video 1]

"Compression" exercise:  plaster cast arch consisting of "bricks" individually poured into stretched-fabric molds 

[see Video 2]

"Equilibrium" exercise:  foldable mobile cube made of poplar wood skeleton, lycra fabric skin, metal hinges

"Joinery" exercise :  poplar wood frame


Final Project:  Poché/Passageway