Vernacular lessons


Description

Analyze one of the desert settlements listed below.

Objectives

Essential goals:

  • to identify a driving idea which organizes and informs your analysis;
  • to clearly argue for this idea with original diagrams, drawings, models, or other representation;
  • to demonstrate a ‘parametric’ understanding of the precedent — that is, to isolate and abstract critical relationships between parts. (Hint: in this sense, what is ignored is just as important as what is studied.)

Advanced aims:

  • to negotiate several scales;
  • to utilize Grasshopper for the benefit of your analysis;
  • to generalize an aspect of the analysis and apply it in an original context;
  • to exhibit a sophisticated and original aesthetic sensibility.

Role in design process:

  • to jumpstart your project by borrowing some design intelligence ‘built into’ local forms
  • to inspire your creation of a robust module
  • to illustrate an integrated variety of scales and the texture they can create
Deliverables

A series of A2 annotated line drawings to a specified scale which measure and analyze important relationships.
Individuals should prepare at least three (3) such drawings; those choosing to work in pairs, at least six (6).


Possible subjects for analysis include relative adjacencies, distances, proportions, boundaries, connections, exposures, symmetries, repetitions, patterns, temporalities, itineraries, fragmentations, mutations, ambiguities &c. Analyses which measure quantities in isolation (rather than relatively) or in which fidelity overpowers legibility will not be successful. The goal is to make a reading of the project as opposed to simply and mutely represent ‘what is there’.
Drawings are likely to be recognizably one of the fundamental architectural analytical drawings: plan, section, elevation, or axonometric. However advanced studies will reinterpret or decontextualize the conventional drawing for some interpretive purpose, collaging, overlaying, disrupting, abstracting, removing or augmenting elements of the normative representation.

Deadline

Initial presentation 10h15 – 12h00 Thursday 03 March
Integration presentation 10h15 – 12h00 Thursday 10 March

Suggested examples


Hints
  • -This is primarily a formal study; don’t waste time trying to comprehensively find every document that has ever been published on your settlement. Find a plan and start analyzing by drawing.
  • -If this exercise remains primarily or exclusively two-dimensional, that is OK; three-dimensional development will happen as the project develops.
  • -Try to define what a ‘module’ is for you. Is it at the scale of rooms, buildings, tectonics, or something more abstract? Does it establish boundaries, connections, or both? What are those things: walls, section changes, doors, halls, material joints &c. It is probably easier to work from specifics to abstractions.
  • -With the last statement in mind, don’t get hung-up on specifics. At the end of the day, they don’t matter too much as we are more interested in the generalization that can be made from a large number of various specific conditions.
  • -The drawings will probably be somewhere in the 1:500 to 1:100 range, perhaps 1:50 if you really get into the module scale but not likely more zoomed out.
  • -Focus on lines, measurements, hatches, and diagrammatic notation rather than relying on color to represent the meaning of your analyses.
  • -Keep the objectives in mind! The most important task is to generate an idea to begin the design of (at least one of) your module(s). How can vernacular desert structures be useful for a contemporary desert campus?
  • -With that in mind, remember that though we are most concerned with formal and spatial issues, the reality is dependent on many other factors. For example, the fact that most of these structures are made of earth drastically affects the size of spaces that can be made. In that sense, you might translate measured relationships into your project, but you probably won’t use the same dimensional range.
  • -What other pitfalls of the exercise can you think of? In what ways is the vernacular NOT suitable for contemporary campus architecture? Be critical of the process itself.



15 Responses to “Vernacular lessons”

  1. annick says:

    Hi! With Isa, we would like to pick up the medina in Fez example! Hope nobody wants the same…

  2. frederik says:

    comment here_I would like to analyze the souk in Aleppo to understand the importance of the domes placed in the corridors for air and light. I believe that arab rather like to stay inside than outside – why do they forexample build all these shoppingmalls. It must be a inheritance from their vernacular bazars.
    As the given site is huge compared to relativly low amount of m², a very flat sturcture could be interesting. Compared to forexample the medina in Fez or the ancient city of Ait Benhaddou – wich are 2 or 3 story buildings that because of their height creates shade in the narrow streets in between.

    • Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? Nathaniel says:

      I’m glad to hear you’ve got an agenda. I don’t know the scale of the souk at Aleppo, though. Just be sure that you’re analyzing an area of comparable size to the rest of the examples such that you can get at both the module and the aggregation scales.

  3. Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? mariko says:

    Aleppo, Syria – Monica & Mariko

  4. Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? jeanne says:

    If possible, I would like to work on Aleppo as well

  5. Adrien says:

    Adrien –> will work on Ur, Summer

  6. ysabel says:

    Annik & Ysabel—-Fez

  7. anina says:

    Cyril and Anina, Fez

  8. Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? andres says:

    Yazd in Iran. Not in the list so don’t know how much I’ll be able to get. Can someone confirm its relevance?

    • Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? Nathaniel says:

      Andres – Yazd seems fine in that it has interesting fabric and some qanat infrastructure. Though I haven’t seen any plans or decent aerial views; if you can find material, fine.

  9. Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? minhluc says:

    Casbah, Algieria- Minh

  10. clio says:

    Hy,

    It’s Aurélie and Clio and we would like to take the Qanat at Anshan, Persia!!

  11. Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? Nathaniel says:

    Can the four each on Aleppo and Fez coordinate to see if you might possibly branch out a bit?

  12. Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? jeanne says:

    Since there will be several studies of Aleppo, I would like to work on Isfahan instead, if possible…

    • Error: Unable to create directory /var/www/html/organicites/2010b/wp-content/uploads/2019/05. Is its parent directory writable by the server? Nathaniel says:

      You don’t need permission so much as to get started!

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