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40 629 SCS China Studio

Full course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
SCS China Studio
Credits: 
24
Course code: 
40 629
Level of study: 
Master
Teaching semester: 
2019 Spring
Assessment semester: 
2019 Spring
Language of instruction: 
English
Year: 
2019
Maximum number of students: 
15
Person in charge
Christian Hermansen
Required prerequisite knowledge

Admission to AHO and successful completion of three years bachelor level studies (180 ECTS).

Most important is to be enthusiastic and positive. Architectural design skills are very important. Skills in Rhino will come in handy. Previous building experience much appreciated. This is a full-time course, all students are expected at the studio from 9:00 AM to 16:00 PM Monday to Friday, in addition to traveling to the building site for a period of around 5 weeks.

Due to the travel requirements of the studio students joining SCS will have to enrol in the 6 credit course, Jigs and Joints, which runs with the studio.

Course content

The Context

Due to the primitivness of emweb it is not possible to include illustrations - please look here for the complete description.

After decades of concentrating resources on urban industrial development which resulted in China’s explosive economic growth, the government has turned its attention to rural areas where it is sponsoring a variety of development initiatives. One of these is the Louna International Architects’ Village, a project initiated by Urban Environment Design (UED) Magazine and CBC (China Building Centre), which occupies a small, beautiful valley called Louna, in Guizhou Province where SCS built its last project, the Louna Architects’ Bookshop.

However, Louna is not the only Chinese rural initiative. In pursuance of the policy of “rural revival” and “beautiful countryside”, China is developing numerous rural initiatives throughout the countryside. One of these centres in the village of Xiamutang in Jiangxi Province, which has already been the subject of interventions, the result of international architectural competitions run by UED magazine.

This is the second semester in which SCS collaborates with Tianjin University School of Architecture (TJU). Previously TJU students joined SCS students during the building phase of the Louna Architects’ Bookshop project (see: https://www.archdaily.com/900698/the-louna-architects-bookshop-the-scarc...). In this coming semester our collaboration will be run throughout the semester encompassing design, production information, and building.

The organisation of the joint SCS + TJU studio.

Through its almost decade long existence SCS has developed a working method which combines individual inputs with group work. We start the semester with individual projects, at different phases vote for the most concepts with most potential, culminating in the last phases where everyone in the studio works on one building. The gradual homing in on the most promising ideas is done through voting. To combat the idea of individual authorship, those whose projects are chosen to progress to the following phase are not allowed to work on their own ideas. In this manner we ensure collective ownership of the final building.

During this semester, this procedure will be extended to encompass students working in China. At the end of each phase projects developed and chosen by the SCS team will be developed by the TJU team during the following phase, and projects developed and chosen by the TJU team will be developed by the SCS team. The final project to be built will thus be the product of both the TJU and SCS teams. During the production and building phases, in which both teams will be working on the same project, the work will be divided into teams composed of both TJU and SCS students.

  1. Phase 1 of the studio. (15 February to 1 March)

The first two weeks of each semester, in Phase 1, after being introduced to the site, the program, and the clients, students develop individual architectural concepts. These proposals are not yet buildings, but rather attitudes or approaches which could later be developed into buildings. At this stage the studio encourages students to explore as many diverse ideas as possible, with the aim that from this diversity interesting ideas for buildings may emerge.

At the end of the two weeks students are asked to present their ideas to the studio, these ideas are discussed, and voted on. Each member of the studio, both students and teachers, have one vote each. The only restriction is that authors of schemes cannot vote for themselves. Studio members vote for the ideas with most potential for future development. By this means half of the concepts presented, those considered to have most potential, go on to be developed in Phase 2.

To bring together the TJU and SCS teams, the projects chosen by TJU students at the end of Phase 1, will be developed by AHO students during Phase 2, and the projects chosen by SCS students at the end of Phase 1, would be developed by TJU students during Phase 2

 

  1. Phase 2 of the studio. (1 March to 15 March)

Pairs of students work on the project chosen by the studio of the other University at the end of Phase 1, that is, Norwegian students work on the projects chosen by Chinese students and vice versa. Teachers form the teams of students to work on the schemes inherited from students of the other university. At the end of Phase 2 projects should have developed beyond an architectural concept and should be recognisable as buildings. The TJU and SCS teams chose the 4 projects which are to progress to the next Phase 3

 

  1. Phase 3 of the studio. (15 march to 29 March)

The procedures of Phase 2 are repeated in Phase 3. The four projects developed/chosen by SCS students are worked on by 4 teams of TJU students and vice versa. At this stage the projects should have been developed to a stage in which structure and materials have received attention. The TJU and SCS teams vote for the 2 projects which are to progress to the next Phase 4.

 

  1. Phase 4 of the studio. (29 March to 12 April)

The procedures of Phase 3 are repeated in Phase 4. The two projects developed/chosen by SCS students are worked on by 2 teams of TJU students and vice versa. At this stage the projects should have been developed to a stage where they are presented with plans, sections,elevations, and exterior and interior renderings, materials will have been chosen, the structure has been calculated on a preliminary basis, the main construction details have been resolved, preliminary costings have been done, building regulations have been considered, etc.

 

  1. Phase 5, Jury (13 + 14 April)

A jury of Chinese and Norwegian architects independent from SCS and TJU are appointed to choose the final project from the two presented by TJU students and the two presented by SCS students.

 

  1. Phase 6, Production Information (15 April to 3 May)

In the four weeks Development Phase, students are divided into production teams who work on specialized aspects of the project. These teams are to be composed of students from TJU and SCS working together connected by means of the internet. The subjects of these teams would include: design development, structural calculations, construction details, costs calculations, building permission submission, construction scheduling, critical path analysis, construction materials, quantities and procurement, sponsorship, media (web-site, blog, Facebook), etc. One student from TJU and one from AHO will be appointed as coordinators of the project. Their roles are to make sure that information is coordinated and consistent amongst the different working groups. The coordination of the information produced by different groups is achieved mainly through the constant updating of a digital 3D model which contains all the information being produced by each working group. Assembling all information into one 3D model of the building tends to make inconsistencies and contradictions more evident. The aim of this phase is to prepare as thoroughly as possible so the teams have determined the materials needed, the way these materials go together, the tools and techniques needed to accomplish construction, and the speed of construction needed to finish the building in the allotted time.

 

Half way through this Phase two students from SCS and two students from TJU will travel to the site of the project 15 days prior to the 3 May to prepare for the coming of the rest of the SCS+TJU teams. Their job is to make sure building materials are located and purchased, the building is set out on the site, and the foundations are cast.

 

  1. Phase 7, Building (3 May to 7 June)

The main group arrives on site two weeks after the advanced party and starts to build according to the construction details and schedules prepared in advance.

 

The diagram below is a graphical representation of this process: See the document

The Site and the Program

For a complete description of site and program See the document

SCS works in the context of the real world. For this reason the task and the process are not totally under its control. The clients and partners involved in SCS projects have their own aims and problems. On occasions decisions made by SCS’s clients have meant that projects have had to be cancelled, either before they get off the ground or during the period in which projects are being developed. We have been faced with clients not keeping agreements, clients not owning the sites we were supposed to build on, etc. On each of these occasions we have had to cancel the project and turn our attention to another task.

Although these occurrences are very frustrating, and SCS does its utmost to organise things so that the projects develop smoothly, everyone in the team has to be prepared for these or other factors to intervene in SCS’s work. This is the price of working with real projects, and it is part of the life of a professional architect. If anyone feels threatened by uncertainty, this is not the studio for you.

The program for the building to be designed by the SCS+TJU team will be a small community building (up to 80 m2) for the town. At present our TJU partners are liaising with the local community to determine their needs and to choose a building program which may contribute to satisfying those needs. By the start of the semester, in January 2019, the program and nature of the design/build task should have been established.

Learning outcome

Knowledge, skills and competences:

On completing the course, the student:

  • will know about, and develop skills and competences related to designing for the needs of a foreign local community
  • will know about, and develop skills and competences about detailing and specifications of small communal building.
  • will know about, and develop skills and competences about local building regulations and building practices.
  • will understand the requirements of buildings in their local climatic settings.
  • will know about, and develop skills and competences about building costs and budget management during construction
  • will have acquired the skill for using manual and mechanical tools for building.
  • will know about, and develop skills and competences about designing and building in conditions of scarcity.
Working and learning activities

The studio will be based mainly on one-to-one and small group discussion of student work supplemented by talks and workshops.

Students who join this studio will have to also enrol in the Jigs and Joints course because its contents and scheduling are linked to the studio program development and travel. It is a requirement of the course that students spend the time needed to construct the building in China. Although it is difficult at this stage to determine the length of the period of construction our estimation is four to five weeks. Students will have to fund their own travel, accommodation and food in China. Insurance which covers each student during the time abroad is required and will be the responsibility of each student. It is expected that the trip to China will be around April May 2019. EHS rules regarding students at construction sites will apply during the period in China.

Form of Assessment/Examination

The assessment will be on the basis of submissions, performance and participation in the studio.

The final assessment of each student is based on a combination of individual work (40%), done mostly in the first phases, contribution to group work (40%), and the quality of the final product (20%). Individual work is judged through a report done by each student documenting their contribution to the studio throughout the semester. The contribution to group work is based on a judgement by the teaching staff of the extent and willingness to contribute to the studio work which each student displayed during the semester.

Mandatory courseworkCourseworks requiredPresence requiredComment
Presence required RequiredThe minimum attendance to the studio activities is 80% of organized events.
Obligatoriske arbeidskrav:
Mandatory coursework:Presence required
Courseworks required:
Presence required:Required
Comment:The minimum attendance to the studio activities is 80% of organized events.
Form of assessmentGroupingGrading scaleComment
Portfolio assessment (Vurderingsmappe)IndividualPass / failStudents will be asked for specific submissions during the semester. These submissions are part of the development of the project in China. As much of the work is done in groups, participation is of the utmost importance.

The final assessment will be made by the external examiner and will be based on:

The individual report documenting the student’s individual work during the semester. (40%)
The level of participation and contribution to the collective work. (40%)
The assessment of the quality of the building and its construction achieved by the studio as a whole. (20%)
The minimum attendance to the studio activities is 80% of organised events.

The final decision as to the performance of each student will be taken by the external examiner (sensor) on the basis of the group performance, a report on each individual’s participation done by the teachers, and a portfolio showing the extent of each individual’s contributions to the studio.
Vurderinger:
Form of assessment:Portfolio assessment (Vurderingsmappe)
Grouping:Individual
Grading scale:Pass / fail
Comment:Students will be asked for specific submissions during the semester. These submissions are part of the development of the project in China. As much of the work is done in groups, participation is of the utmost importance.

The final assessment will be made by the external examiner and will be based on:

The individual report documenting the student’s individual work during the semester. (40%)
The level of participation and contribution to the collective work. (40%)
The assessment of the quality of the building and its construction achieved by the studio as a whole. (20%)
The minimum attendance to the studio activities is 80% of organised events.

The final decision as to the performance of each student will be taken by the external examiner (sensor) on the basis of the group performance, a report on each individual’s participation done by the teachers, and a portfolio showing the extent of each individual’s contributions to the studio.