learning from matter exploring materials and natural systems

Publication by Professor Marc Swackhamer, Chair of the Architecture Department

May 26, 2020

Congrats to Marc Swackhamer, professor and chair of the CAP architecture department, on his forthcoming article in the Chinese journal, Contemporary Architectural Education. ⁣⁣⁣
Marc Swackhamer, Chair of the Department of Architecture, and his colleague Blaine Brownell, Professor of Architecture at the University of Minnesota, wrote about a studio they taught together that focused on material exploration. Pictured here is an installation their students created out of borax-infused polyester batting.⁣⁣

The article is titled “Learning from Matter: Exploring Materials and Natural Systems in the Graduate Architecture Studio.” Here’s more info:⁣
ABSTRACT: Materials are essential for the realization of architecture. However, the architectural design studio has historically privileged activities like drawing and scale model-building instead of full-scale material explorations. Today’s environmental concerns, coupled with emerging discoveries in science and technology, offer compelling incentives to incorporate material thinking more integrally into today’s studio pedagogy. ⁣⁣⁣
A sequence of graduate-level studio courses taught at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture has provided a platform for heuristic experiments in material-focused student learning. This article offers case studies of three studios in which students generated material-based design narratives in connection with the natural and physical sciences. Assessments of opportunities, challenges, adaptations, further thinking, and potential broad impact of the methods used follow studio and project summaries.⁣⁣⁣