The Experimental Models of Space and Structure course at Rice University teaches students in-depth knowledge of architectural structure and construction.
The objective of this course is to establish a foundation for the technology sequence and more broadly to the curriculum at large through a fundamental understanding of the reciprocal relationships between space, material and structure under a holistic approach.
The course teaches knowledge of the two fundamental construction paradigms introduced above, tectonic and stereotomic, and their corresponding material expressions, steel, wood, stone, earth, clay, textiles, concrete or fibre-based composites.
Through this course, students become familiar with structural principles and construction processes.
On the one hand, structural principles are introduced through the explanation of the static behavior of load-bearing building elements, such as columns, beams, walls, trusses, etc, as well as their fundamental role in the definition of the architectural space.
On the other hand, students understand construction processes through the introduction of contemporary methods involving both traditional techniques as well as digital technologies.
In parallel to these theoretical sessions, students develop experimental explorations in the form of physical and digital models in order to understand structural and construction principles and how to translate them into material constructs as an integral part of the design process.
Top image: Equilibrium models (1–4), reciprocal models (5–8), students work 2019–2020, Rice School of Architecture.
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