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Architecture Students Collaborate with College Library

Wall for new books proposal

Last fall, seventeen students took part in MATERIOUS, a new seminar taught by professor Robert Sproull that focused on the exploration of materials and their specific characteristics as an influence on the making of architecture. The dialogue of the class centered on the material selections that architects make—both good and bad—and began to place materials in a historic context by examining specific case studies throughout history. Students read a series of essays and articles on design processes, material selection criteria, specific architects’ methodologies, and particular works of architecture. They then tested the theories they encountered with a hands-on project that will become part of the newly renovated Library of Architecture Design and Construction in the summer of 2013 

The students worked closely with Kasia Leousis of the LADC to design the new feature wall that is intended to serve multiple functions. First and foremost, it will be a display of space for new books. It must also serve as an exhibit surface for work done within the college. While these were the functional requirements, Leousis challenged the students to design a wall that would be beautiful to look at even if there were nothing displayed on it. With these three objectives, students teamed up in small groups and took part in charrettes where they developed four schematic concepts. The semester finished with a presentation of the work to Marcia Boosinger, Associate Dean for Public Services. 

In spring semester, a special section of Materials and Methods of Construction taught by Professor Sproull resumed work on the project, taking two of the previous four designs to a more developed point. Through presentations to the LADC staff, students eventually identified one project that met all the requirements, and the result is a subtle and refined surface  with interchangeable shelves capable of displaying books and exhibiting work. The project will be fabricated using CNC technology and installed this summer.