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Selected Undergraduate Design Studio Projects--Design II, Spring 2012


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Professors Guido Zuliani, Katerina Kourkoula, James Lowder

The Design II spring exercise consisted of two different, yet connected parts. The first part focused on the design of a door sited within an indefinitely extended generic wall. The second was concerned with the design of an inhabitable space located on one side of the door.

A door

A door is one of those objects omnipresent in our daily life, the perception of which, citing the German critic Benjamin, takes place in a state of distraction, in spite of the important cultural, symbolic and social implications that the object entails. The scope of the exercise was to raise, through the design of a door, the awareness of complex sets of latent cultural content embedded in the objects that constitute the physical landscape within which our lives take place. Initially three separate possible vantage points were offered:

The first vantage point was a geometric one that considered the door as the only point in common to any three intersecting planes. The three planes could be considered, respectively, as the plane on which a subject would stand, the plane along which he/she would move and the third one against which he/she would collide.

The second vantage point considered the door as a topological element that produces simultaneously separation and connection between two different environs assumed to be an interior and an exterior. Their definition ultimately defines the salient characteristic of the artifact.

A third vantage point considered the intimate relation of the human body, in particular the head, the hands, and the feet, with the door and the separate elements of its complex program.

The early phase of the design was supported by analytic considerations of different examples of doors chosen by the students, of their mechanisms and of theirs spatial characteristics and implications.

The final design was developed at the scale of 3"=1'.

An inhabitable space

The second part of the design exercise consisted of the definition of an inhabitable space for one individual—the one operating the door—and a possible visitor. This inhabitable space was to be considered exclusively as an interior located behind the door and embedded in a generic built mass. The program of inhabitation was conceived in its minimal form, comprised of the functions necessary for the existence of one inhabitant, and referring to three archetypical conditions of a body in space: standing, sitting, and lying horizontally.

The project was developed at the scale of 1"=1'.



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