Hacking the Urban Experience

Visual Studies

Fall 2012 + Spring 2013

John Locke, instructor

This course sought to assert the relevance of the fabrication skills at our disposal as potentialities for social and environmental relevance. Through the re-appropriation and re-imagining of existing urban conditions, the students designed and fabricated a working prototype that embraced the messy reality of our city and promoted community involvement. They began by identifying a quality of the urban condition that included the latent capability for improvement and work toward fabricating an adaptive, responsive and environmentally viable solution. Specific emphasis was placed on testing and exploring through hands on research the possibilities of detailing and fabricating connections using unorthodox materials. At the conclusion of the course the students produced a full scale urban intervention and observed and documented their relevant successes or failures.

Material workshops were held to encourage students to explore constructions from inflatables to parametric agglomerations using quotidian materials. Ultimately, the students came out of the course with a healthy respect for two core concepts: firstly, an increased skill in the use and applicability of the fabrication skills we have developed for solving design issues using unorthodox materials in unconventional settings; and secondly, that there is an opportunity for architects to regain lost relevance by inserting themselves through unsolicited proposals into the public consciousness as steward’s of urban well being.

Thom Allen, Aaron Foley, Max Lauter + Kevin Le A/B/C