Breaking Down Architectural Techniques With USC School of Architecture’s Foundational Graduate Studio | Features
Kicking off 2023, we’ve connected with USC School of Architecture to learn more about one of its graduate studios taught by instructors Ryan Tyler Martinez of Studio Ryan Tyler Martinez and Jimenez Lai of BUREAU SPECTACULAR.
For our latest installment of Archinect Studio Pin-Ups, we explore Graduate Studio 1: Form, Order, and Representation. This foundational studio focused on giving students with no previous architecture backgrounds an opportunity to gain “experience to foundational design concepts, disciplinary knowledge, and techniques for thinking about and developing fundamental architectural principles.” Comprised of three studio projects and a field trip to Chicago, first-year graduate students could learn, explore, and apply these foundational design principles as they continue their studies.
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Studio Summary: “How does one dive into architectural design education as a graduate student with little to no previous architectural experience? At USC Graduate Architecture, that introduction is made through the pairing of ARCH409 & ARCH505a. ARCH409 is an intensive two-week design and skills immersion that introduces students to abstract form-making, spatial concepts, and digital modeling & representation skills. ARCH505a is the 1st-year Master of Architecture core studio at the USC School of Architecture. Collectively, these two courses are the introduction to foundational design concepts, disciplinary knowledge, and techniques for thinking about and developing fundamental architectural principles.”
“The course assignments started with abstract formal experimentation focused on two-dimensional representation translated into three-dimensional objects. Physical models and 1:1 scale full-resolution studies were used to help students develop an understanding of model construction, material thickness, and craft. During the second half of the semester, students applied the concepts, techniques, and disciplinary knowledge acquired in the previous assignments through the design of a Center for Practical, Social, and Emotional Support for People with Cancer.”
Project One: A Collection of Objects
“The first project investigated and introduced formal techniques to produce a collection of digital and analog objects. Students revisited the notion of still life as a classical exercise to study form, composition, and representation. Students worked individually to create a collection of massing typologies that were used throughout the semester. Discussions about translation helped students understand and develop 2D and 3D workflows. Students were introduced to concepts of scale and measurement to understand and develop translation in architectural representation and function. Attention to craft, physical modeling techniques, orthographic drawings, and cultivating an architectural lexicon was at the forefront of project one.”
Chicago Field Trip
“Students were also introduced to the value of precedents, case studies, and design culture. The importance of this aspect of design education was cultivated through a studio field trip to Chicago to study building precedents in person and visit important cultural institutions & architectural practices while fostering a deeper studio culture through shared experiences. The class visited built projects, offices, and institutions such as the Edith Farnsworth House, Studio Gang, The Art Institute of Chicago, Norman Kelley, The Graham Foundation, SOM Chicago, UrbanLab, and the IIT campus.”
Project Two: Full Resolution Studies
“The development of project one led to a collection of objects. Students worked in teams to select an object to build as a 1:1 full-resolution study (FRS). The studies were used as a proof of concept when resolving details, material thickness, and tectonics at a larger scale by combining standard building components that one could purchase at a local hardware store. The quick two-week design charrette introduced students to design collaboration and materiality assemblage with a focus on form and construction. The quad above the USC Helen Topping Architecture Library at Watt Hall was used as a site-specific location for all six full-resolution studies. The goal of the assignment was to allow students to be exposed to building construction methodologies while also creating a conceptual relationship between multiple forms of representation and scale.”
Project Three: Form, Order, and Representation
“The final project used the techniques and representation workflows from the previous projects to design and represent a concept design building proposal. Students worked individually to develop a Center for Practical, Social, and Emotional Support for People with Cancer. As the first building project in the graduate curriculum, students focused on form, massing, program, architectural narrative, site-specific furniture, models, and orthographic representation.”
Students: MacKenzie Bower, Marquise Charles, Xin Chen, David Crawford, Janette De Los Santos, David Hill, Drew Hombach, Adam Kent, Ting-Yu Kuo, Bryan Sinkwon Lee, Cynthia Leon, Bingqing Li, Wang Nian Long, Christopher Paliungas, Dhriti Pangasa, Jianghui Qu, Aliza Rosenkranz, Delaney Ryan, Negin Sabouhi, Elaheh Salehi, MacIntyre Schnell, Tianxiang Sheng, Maria Luisa Sta Maria, Qianting Tan, Qinyi Wang, David Wright, Eric Yu, and Hanying Zhu
Studio Instructors: Ryan Tyler Martinez and Jimenez Lai
Learn more about USC School of Architecture and past editorial coverage by exploring their Archinect School Profile.