Studio Ideas and Inspiration

Stepping Back

Posted in studio 1a_2010 by mcdanza on 31 March 2010

I’m sure all of you are contemplating all the comments given from the crits yesterday.
As you back track through all your ideas, it is a good idea to go back to the basics: What are the experiential qualities of my design?

I suggest taking a break from studio, sit outside in the nice weather, and read through An Architecture of the Seven Senses by Juhani Pallasmaa.
It is not long, and you can definitely finish it in one afternoon.
His text is a good way of revisiting how each sense informs architecture, which is the focus of most, if not all, of your projects.
You can then use it to carefully structure your arguments for your final presentation.

The pdf is available below:
seven senses



Material Transformation: Steel as Lace

Posted in artists and architects, materials by mcdanza on 8 March 2010

How do you manipulate the natural properties of your chosen materials so that they can articulate the qualities that you want to express?

Take a look at Cal Lane’s work. She is able to evoke lightness and delicacy out of metal by transforming found objects into elaborate fabrics, from wheelbarrows to oil drums and car parts.

See her other works:

*All images from

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Secret Architecture

Posted in studio 1a_2010 by mcdanza on 7 March 2010
Architecture is not necessarily defined by what form you can give a building; however, it is almost always dependent on its environment and the sensual qualities desired by and designed for the inhabitants. We can turn to Caruso St. John’s Brick House as an example, where the building is almost completely surrounded by other townhouses, and has no exterior form of its own. Instead, the architect carves out the interior spaces with simple textures and light, creating a meditative atmosphere that does not require any reference to shapes or anything “organic”, “flat”, “curved”, “slanted”, etc…

This is the main elevation of the Brick House. The large glass entrance appears to be part of the Victorian townhouse sitting next to it; however, it leads to a completely separate place and is also the only indication of the house’s existence. Take a look on the inside:

And its site plan and main section:

In the Brick House, the exterior is deceptive and does not give any hints to the experiences of the interior spaces, but don’t believe that this is the brilliance of the design. Its secretive quality is only imposed by its site. The real success of the building is that it is able to create interesting, evocative spaces without relying on any definitive form.

In your project, how can you describe a space without suggesting its shape?

The exterior form of the house that is generated by this varied arrangement is incomprehensible from within. Instead, the form appears unbound and soft, as if an internal force is pressing the walls and roof out against the buildings around it. Like a baroque chapel in Rome buried deep within the city’s close pattern of narrow streets, the expansive interior is a place of escape and dreams.”
– Caruso St. John

More on the Brick House:

Examples with Corrugated Cardboard

Posted in studio 1a_2010 by mcdanza on 25 January 2010

There are a lot of qualities within corrugated cardboard that can help you move your project forward. Don’t underestimate its potential; it is very useful as a modeling tool as well as a design mechanism. Hopefully you will be able to use it to explore some unique interpretations of your project.

Here are some more creative projects done with corrugated cardboard: