Advanced Design Studio: Deamer

Deamer: Iceland

Course

1118b
Design and Visualization

Offered

Spring
2014

Course Description

This studio will emphasize the external conditions within which architecture operates. The actual buildings we produce are the tip of an iceberg resting on a set of procedures, institutions, manufacturers, and regulations that architects organize. The smarter we are about these conditions, the more power we have. The more we gather intelligence about these conditions, the richer our architectural acumen.

This studio will situate itself in a number of these conditions - that is, in specific constraints emphasizing the fact that architecture doesn't spring from our heads alone. We will, first, be working in Iceland, a country- remote and small- that has special resources and special scarcities. Its main resource is renewable, geo-thermal energy; another is its aluminium industry. Its scarcity of other industries essential to construction, however, makes it dependent on external sourcing.

We will therefore be working with a specific industry, Seele glass facades- a German company that will supply the material and industry lacking in Iceland. They are chosen as well to take advantage of the expertise that they offer, a material and production intelligence that will limit our material palette on the one hand but enhance our expertise on producing a smart facade/building on the other. It also adds to the complexity because these highly technical facades are not inexpensive and are shipped from global locations; procurement and scheduling become part of the design logic.

Finally, Iceland has the advantage of being small, nimble, and responsive to individual initiative at the same time that it has the disadvantage of being capital-challenged and in a financial crisis. Thus, they, as a population and a government, can be highly responsive to design vision at the same time that they are strapped for cash to support it. Our program, a badly needed and highly
controversial new domestic/international airport, operates in the center of that tension.