Georgia Institute of Technology
Studio Coordinator: Prof. Lars Spuybroek
Instructor: Sabri Gokmen
The Matter Matters! program investigates design related to materiality and technology in a generative manner. Usually, matter and technology are understood as merely following design’s lead, with design being viewed as a game of pure drawing and modelling, and materialization as one of engineering and production. In our profession this rift is known as that between the Beaux-Arts and the Polytechnique schools of design: art and engineering, with architecture commuting in between. Some architectural theoreticians, such as Gottfried Semper in the 1850s and Frei Otto in the 1970s, have tried to overcome this problem. They have pointed out that materials constantly produce their own architecture. For instance, when we look at the way mud cracks or how soap bubbles aggregate, we see the same thing over and over: matter finds form. Traditionally, we have learned that matter is inert and needs to be shaped into form by external agents, but the reverse is true: matter is pure agency and actively shapes itself.
All three Matter Matters! studios will use such inherent processes in matter to develop our designs and create architectural structures. These processes will be steered by the students to fit with a hotel program on a site in Miami close to the beach. A hotel program is very diverse: it combines repetition of small spaces with a large variety of larger spaces such as clubs, restaurant, pool and lobby. The site will require a contextual approach on the ground level, while going up the building orients itself on ocean views.
In this studio section the students focus on researching middle-scale patterns based on ironwork, fretwork, and tracery, that have as many phenomenal as structural qualities. The techniques will be based mainly on developing the ability of figures to incorporate variation and to team up with other figures to create large-scale configurations.