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80 521 Constructive Logic: Earth Matters

Full course name in English: 
Constructive Logic: Earth Matters
80 521
Syklus 2
2021 Høst
2021 Høst
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Lina Elisabeth Broström
Andrea Pinochet

Good understanding of written and spoken English
Intermediate to a good level of draughtsmanship
Interest in working with material experiments and large scale models

Om emnet

How can a better understanding of materials and the building industry guide our design choices? This studio is part of a series where each semester we will investigate one particular material in depth, examining the full building process from the extraction of raw materials, to production of elements, transportation, building technology and how a building is eventually dismantled. ​
This semester we will study concrete and earth-based composites. Learning about their current use through a historical and technological lense, we will seek to understand their future potential in our fast changing environment. 
The studio will research the manufacture of buildings and building components and develop prototypical designs for a medium size commercial project on a given site.

Earth Matters
Concrete is one of the most prevalent construction materials worldwide. It is affordable, easy to use, strong, long-lasting and available in large quantities everywhere, making it a staple in every building or infrastructure project. Although there are many different types of concrete, today the majority of concrete used in construction is based on Ordinary Portland Cement, and these account for a significant portion of global CO2 emissions. In addition to that, we find resource extraction practices that leave great scars on the earth and an enormous amount of construction and demolition waste behind, putting land under pressure and disrupting many ecosystems.

But what if we could use the resources found on-site to make buildings that are site specific and have a lower environmental impact? As a counterpoint to concrete, we will study other geopolymers and earth-based materials. Earth makes some of the oldest buildings on our planet, it is cheap, versatile and easy to upcycle. 

This course will then examine the building industry, in particular the concrete industry, trying to get an overview of how it works and reflecting on its culture and environmental impact. Learning from traditional building techniques and material science, we will experiment with a range of composite materials and discuss how we can develop better practices that can be implemented at a large scale, across the building industry.


Constructive Logic
The design questions raised by the studio will be addressed through an investigation of material technology and study of the building industry, letting form emerge from an understanding of the material properties, both physical and aesthetic, and the individual ambitions set out by the students.
Through an in-depth study of a given material, participants will gain an understanding of the complexity involved in the realization of a simple work of architecture. We will discuss architectural aesthetics and the craft of building as a creative endeavor.
We will also address issues relating to resource extraction, division of labor, building ethics and the politics of the construction site.

Lightweight Architecture and the Life (Cycle) of Buildings
The studio will work with lightness as a design attitude, challenging more permanent and static building solutions. Another way of understanding the concept of lightweight architecture is to think about low impact building —everything that minimizes construction material, doesn't weigh much on the environment and, therefore, has special properties.
With this concept in mind, the studio seeks to understand the complexity of a building’s life cycle, trying to anticipate not just how it will be built and used, but also how it will be maintained and disassembled; and investigating the full potential of certain materials that have a low environmental impact or that are responsive to the environment.

Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter

The studio will work with experimental characterization techniques, analytical drawing, model making and construction details. Revisiting the scientific method, we will discuss material science and study the specific and unique qualities of building materials in order to understand material properties, structural capacity and position in the industry. Getting our hands dirty, we will experiment with different materials and learn more about concrete, rammed earth, pisé, adobe, hempcrete, bricks, mortars and other building composites.
We will work with big models and physical samples, and will embrace technical drawing, budget sheets, schedules and logistics plans, making discussion around labor and organizational systems an important component of the course.
NB! In the event of school closure or limited workshop access in the fall, independent working methods will be set up by the studio in order to address the similar questions regarding material technology.


Syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.

Literature List

The Ecology of Building Materials. Architectural Press, Bjørn Berge, 2009.

The Material Book, Ilka and Andreas Ruby, Ruby Press, 2020.

Re-inventing Construction, Ilka and Andreas Ruby, Ruby Press 2010.

Bernard Rudofsky, Architecture Without Architects A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture, 1964.

Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain, John Grindrod, 2013.

Upscaling Earth - Material, Process, Catalyst, Anna Heringer, Lindsay Blair Howe, Martin Rauch, 2019.

Rammed Earth - Tradition And Potential, Roger Boltshauser, Cyril Veillon, Nadja Maillard

Refined Earth – Construction & Design of Rammed Earth, Martin Rauch, 2015.

Concrete Oslo, Langdalen, Pinochet, Szacka, Torpedo Press 2018.

Log 47: Overcoming Carbon Form, 2019.

Architect As Organizer Or The Way The World Works, Eeva-liisa Pelkonen, 2012.

Working with Industry, An Engineer Imagines, Peter Rice, 1998.

The New Less is More, Werner Sobeck, 2009.

Climates: Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary, The Avery Review, 2016.

The Natural Contract, Michel Serres, 1990. 

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