Advanced Design Studio: Patkau

Patkau: Stuttgart, Bregenz, Zurich

Material + Force = Form


Design and Visualization



Coordinating Faculty


This studio will investigate the essential and formative contribution that material issues bring to an understanding of architecture.

To this end we will focus on architecture as the spatial and formal outcome of a process of material construction. To quote Rafael Moneo from his discussion of the origin of architectural form in the work of Antonio Gaudi, we will focus on how “the invention of form coincides with the invention of the building process.”* We will consider the potential experiential characteristics of materials; the structural characteristics of materials and the implication of configuration on the structural characteristics of materials; the material dimensions of energy use and distribution, and the logistics of construction and how tools and techniques, from tower crane to digital printer, affect building form; for while a work of architecture can be broad, multivalent, and even self-contradictory in its cultural engagement, it is nevertheless highly specific in its material resolution.


Musical instruments embody a direct connection between material form, force and performance. Although typically more singular in their performance parameters than buildings the direct expressive character of musical instruments provides a wonderfully demonstrative example for architecture.

The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments comprises nearly one thousand objects including instruments, accessories and related items, the majority of which document the Western European and American art music traditions.  A growing minority represent the cultures and traditions of Asia, Africa and South America.  A significant number of the instruments have been restored and are maintained in excellent playing condition allowing for their use in performances, demonstrations, lectures and tours.

Presently, only 10% of the collection is displayed due to the space limitations of the current facility. To make the larger collection accessible to both the Yale community and the broader public a new museum facility is planned. The site is to be located within the block described by College Street, Temple Street, Wall Street and Elm Street.


  • The project will begin with an analysis of the block within which an open space plan and building site for the new museum will be proposed.
  • Simultaneously, the experiential, expressive and physical characteristics of different building materials, both conventional such as wood, plastic, glass, concrete, steel, and masonry as well as unconventional such as bamboo, fabric, carbon fiber and shrink wrap, will be investigated as a response to program, topography, site characteristics and context.
  • The constructional possibilities of different materials will subsequently be investigated, especially in regard to the spatial and structural potential they offer.
  • Prior to travel week students (in teams of two) will also undertake precedent studies focused on the material aspects of the buildings we will visit. These studies may include analytical and/or interpretive models and drawings, and will be shared with the studio as a whole on site.
  • Upon return from travel week the project will be developed at three scales: block master plan, building and open space design, and detail design of a selected component of building or open space. Emphasis will be placed upon the experiential, spatial and structural possibilities, and constraints, offered by a selected palette of materials at the scale of both building and open space, and detail component design.


Facility Program

Within an overall building area of approximately 50,000 sf the Musical Instrument Collection facility would include a space list similar to the following. (This list is provided for information - it is assumed that it will be reinterpreted to inform and reinforce the architectural objectives of individual projects.)

Reception 4600 sf component net area
• Entry vestibule 200 sf
• Lobby (reception and performance) 2500 sf
• Reception desk 150 sf
• Gift display 50 sf
• Catering kitchen 100 sf
• Table and chair storage 200 sf
• Lockers and Coat storage 200 sf
• Public restrooms 500 sf
• First aid room 100 sf
• Classroom 600 sf
Collections area 19,000 sf component net area
• Permanent exhibit galleries 9000 sf
• Temporary exhibit gallery 3000 sf
• Open storage for collection 3000 sf
• Closed storage for collection 3000 sf
• Manuscript and scores library 500 sf
• Reference library 500 sf
Staff area 1400 sf component net area
• Directors office 240 sf
• Staff offices (2 @ 120) 240 sf
• Meeting room 240 sf
• Technical services 600 sf
• Staff washrooms 80 sf
Support area 5900 sf component net area
• Loading 700 sf
• Uncrating / Packing 400 sf
• Service elevator 10f x 15f
• Clean workroom 400 sf
• Dirty workroom 400 sf
• Installation workshop 400 sf
• Crate Storage 800 sf
• Light fixture storage 150 sf
• Misc storage 150 sf
• Custodial stations (1 / fl @ 50sf)
• Security office 100 sf
• IT / Server room 100 sf
• Mechanical / Electrical 2000 sf

Parking spaces for an equal or greater number of cars as currently exist on the site must be incorporated into design solution.


To experience buildings and structures in which material inquiry has been truly generative, in which issues of material construction have contributed both enduring value and meaningful invention we will travel to Stuttgart, Bregenz and Zurich. We will visit a variety of projects, large and small, by architects and engineers including UNStudio, Frei Otto, Peter Zumthor, Le Corbusier, Shigeru Ban, and Christian Kerez. We will also visit the Achim Menges Institute for Computational Design and the Institute for Lightweight Structures founded by Frei Otto at the University of Stuttgart, and the Gramazio & Kohler digital fabrications lab at the ETH Zurich.

*José Rafael Moneo in his speech of acceptance as a full member at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, dated in January 2005 and titled “Sobre el concepto de arbitrariedad en arquitectura.”