☰ Workshops

Structures in Building Culture

Tectonical Shape of Wood (2011)

“…creative thinking is a job in the true sense of the word, rather than an unexpected flash of insight that emerges effortlessly…” – Juhani Pallasmaa

All our IP workshops, Tectonics in Building Culture and Structure in Building Culture, imply working while being able to experiment the constructive potential of the materials in an empirical way, with emphasis on approaching the creative process through intuition and deduction by doing.

“…it is obvious that we need an educational change with regard to the sensory sphere, for us to discover ourselves again as physical and mental beings in order to fully use our capabilities and become less vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation…” – Juhani Pallasmaa

By promoting experience with material instead of abstract conceptualization in the studio, students can obtain a better understanding of the inherent form of materials which, in this case, are oriented strand boards (OSB) and plywood boards. Both have similar features: they are made of wood, structure related and both consist on fibres or driven plies, differing only in the size of those fibres.

“…all materials have their own non-written laws. You should never be violent with a material you’re working on. The designer should aim at being in harmony with his material. The craftsman has the advantage that, through all the phases of his work, his material is in his hands for him to feel it and lead it…” – Tapio Wirkkala

Work should not consist exclusively in abstract experimentation with the material; this workshop requires integrating material knowledge into a “site-specific” construction. Therefore, the creative process requires a unique construction which consistently relates context-specific features with material properties and its assembly systems.

“…no honest craftsman knows in the process of working whether he is making or creating… The first, the second and the last reality for him is the work itself, the very process of working. The process takes precedence over its result, if only because the latter is impossible without the former…” – Joseph Brodsky

The workshop is a very intensive constructive experience of about 15 days which requires students to think of Time as a further element in the creative process. Thus, the project is taken as Process, instead of being the Ultimate goal. Thinking of Time as part of the process of ideation implies thinking of the production sequencing of the working group and also requires giving consideration to the construction phases of the installation and incorporating mounting sequences as part of the project. The promotion and education on these complexities and inherent values to construction are highly recommended in order to achieve a fairer, more necessary and ultimately more sustainable architecture for the future.

“…to deal with this physical crisis we are obliged to change both the things we make and how we use them…” – Richard Sennett

“…if a revolt is to come, it will have to come from the five senses…” – Michel Serres

by Claudi Aguiló and Raimon Farré
Universitat Polytécnica de Catalunya, School of Architecture of El Vallès, Barcelona