ARCH 793AB: Practice Make Performance

Instructor: Lisa Little

Practice Make Performance

The advent of digital mass customization means many similar but different parts can now be produced as economically as a single repeated part. Aggregation of mass customized parts has rich potential including architectural qualities of open-endedness, blurriness, and the non-figural. But systems built of small parts combined together also afford specificity and precision through their scale and variability thus providing powerful potential in terms of performance.

With part-to-whole mass customization as the premise, students directed their research and thesis projects in one of several possible directions. The emerging body of work self-organized under the term ‘The Discrete’ offers options to explore social concerns and scale-in-place potential in a digital era. Critical computation challenges architects to use computational techniques to define new value systems for form generation. Alarming climate change poses another important area to deploy performative part-to-whole aggregated systems. Through additive design strategies and processes such as aggregation and 3d printing, students iteratively worked between research and making as a way to ‘practice the practice’, interrogating the small part with an emphasis on iteration as a means to excellence.

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