Tectonic Precedent : Group Three

Studio Reflecting Class Discussions

Our class discussions once again affected the studio projects we have been working on, with many directly reflecting some of the precedents introduced in class. In one studio group montage, the idea of a shipping container city become the focus of their urban montage. Very similar to the metabolism architecture we discussed, this would be a constantly changing area, with a crane infrastructure in place to allow for the movement of the containers, which would rest on the rooftops of Corydon avenue. This would create a structure that would constantly change and be able to adapt as needed to differing conditions.

Many of the stations themselves also recall some earlier lessons, more specifically the “designing for others” aspect. In class we were shown projects such as crayfish habitats and birdhouses, and this idea is being adopted by some students for their stations. One in particular is approaching the problem of disappearing bee populations. Due to their importance as pollinators, in the future montage an unintrusive beehive system was created, so that the urban montage becomes something more than just human focused, and is an interesting aspect of design that I don’t believe would have come up had it not been introduced in class.

Design Education

Out of the five videos assigned for this week, four of them had to do with the questioning and critiquing of design education.  In the video of Thom Mayne’s presentation he talks that the potential of design has shifted with the digital environment.  He believes that teaching and practicing architecture are interchangeable.  He thinks that some of the challenges facing design education are the ability to look more broadly at things, and being able to work quickly and respond to a problem formation, which he believes students are ready for.  The Architecture Dean Javier Quintana proposes two challenges in architecture education, which are, resolving the gap between the education and professional world and making architectural education a bigger entity.  I think that it would be nice if the gap between education and the professional world wasn’t as big, because it would show students more opportunity.  Rob Gregory thinks that you can’t rapidly change the study of architecture.  I agree with this because I think that the education of architecture has to change over time, it can’t just be changed overnight.  I found the video with Preston Scott Cohen the most interesting out of all of the videos, because it helped me make sense of my design education.  He talks about one of the challenges of architecture education being to help the students recognize the value of .doing projects and studying things that aren’t connected to architecture immediately.  He also talks about doing what seem like useless things in education.  However, these things help with thinking and imagining, which will have an effect of how you operate as a designer.  These comments made by Preston Scott Cohen helped me realize why our studio projects are the way they are, and even though they aren’t necessarily directly related to the fields we want to be in for our careers, they are still teaching us a new way of thinking, which we can use in our careers.


 “Architecture Deans Talk about the future of Education.” Youtube. Accessed December 2,2011. http://youtu.be/SQ1VY51f_1w.

“Education in Architecture: Global Difference.” Vimeo. Accessed December 2,2011. http://vimeo.com/30021019.

“Guest Speakers at IE: Thom Mayne,”Architecture and Education”.” Youtube. Accessed December 2,2011. http://youtu.be/s6UTSTJmi2U.

“Preston Scott Cohen: Challenges of architectural education.” Vimeo. Accessed December 2,2011. http://vimeo.com/23985384.

Class Note: 29 November 2011

An interesting discussion was had on the relativity of Canadian architecture today, in terms of it’s usefulness and imitations. The interests towards streets and movement was also discussed, along with new technologies that changed existing streetscapes with architectural examples shown in correlation to these topics. And lastly, the modernization of schools in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s had deans across the country redesigning the structure and facilities of their respectful educational institutions.

-Some Canadian architecture is viewed as imitations of work from the United States as well as other countries. There is a building in downtown Winnipeg, at the corner of Portage and Main, that even has a striking resemblance to a building in Texas. The curtain wall is largely in use around major Canadian cities; the fear of its degeneration and becoming second rate is one of concern. And yet, design today is largely dictated through clients rather than the architect. Should architects have some sort of screening process for speculative clients? 

-Such projects as Naked City, Confederation Promenade, and Plug-in City were discussed as means of connections, facilitating movement and means of diversity. Arthur Erikson’s University of Lethbridge exemplifies the need for functional design. In the early 1900’s, electrical lines occupied the airspace between buildings. Neither visually appealing or aesthetically pleasing, these functional and useful lines were found to be out of city by the 1940’s with the invention of underground burial lines.

November 22 Class Note

Key Ideas:

-Issues of policy

            -Designers making political decisions

-Design equity

            -Learn from the real: where do classes actually come together on their


-“Not in my backyard” attitude

            -ex. Soup kitchen in corporate HQ

                                    -People being accepting of something until it directly affects them

-Making good design affordable

            -Well-designed projects intended to be low cost grow in price

-Influential architectural projects/groups


                        -A growing, evolving architecture

            -L’architecture mobile

                        -Yona Friedman, buildings able to be changed easily, megastructures


                        -Promotion of modernism


                        -Peter Cook, Plug-in city, Instant city

            -Team X

                        -Challenging CIAM’s modernism


                        -The Naked City


                        -Journey from A to B, engaged the public

            -Louis Kahn

                        -1952, viewing cities as flows, mapped Philadelphia traffic



The “not in my backyard” attitude creates issues simply due to a disconnect in what people say and what they are willing to do. This could be complicated in that it can mislead designers who try and collect information on whether a project would be seen as acceptable. Related to this, we agree that it’s very important that design educated people are put in decision making positions, the unfortunate reality is that most people in design would feel restricted in doing this. The look this week at historical architectural groups who explored the avant-garde was very interesting, because they looked beyond the design of buildings, but to revolutionize the very ways we live our life. This sort of conceptual architecture may seem crazy but always needs to be considered because it can give us insight into our smaller scale problems by applying principles of it. 

An Anxious Cityscape

Antoine Picon’s article critically discusses the point in time in which cities made the transformation from landscape to their own cityscape, with means of technology. He discusses the difference between traditional landcapes versus our new technological cityscapes, which are filled with humans becoming cyborgs that are on the verge of a re-enchanting world. Some of the key issues are as follows. 

-The fringes and outskirts of cities are becoming more and more characterized by a purgatory of bridges, refineries, factories, and cranes which are becoming infrastructures of ruin. 

-The new “technological landscape” that Picon discusses is saturated with man’s endeavours; green space seems to only be found in-between strips of asphalt. Technological landscapes differ from the traditional, as they do not share the same ability to co-exist with nature, acting as an extension of the natural world. The urban contexts of man-made constructions are becoming inverted with nature. The industrial revolution was the key turning point of this transition; this is when the city became the primary landscape - in and of itself. Etienne-Louis Boullee’s cathedral is an example of how the architecture of the technological landscape changed, as it used the omnipresence of the sky to become independent of nature. The city has become largely invested into the “visuals,” with everything seeking the seduction of the eye. The arts too, have been replaced with technological forms. 

-The cityscape is a place full of anxiety and imprisonment. The framework of architecture creates a sense of enclosure and disconnect from nature. The cityscape as its own landscape is limitless; there are no more boundaries as to how far it can reach. A globalized economy and fabricated nature encompass the urban landscape into a totally closed circuit full of quasi-objects; we are living in a world of temporality via connection hubs and networks that are organized around thresholds, characterized by texture and lights.

-Obsolescence and death are the greatest fears of the cityscape. These are places of consumption, marked by the acts of buying and throwing away which formulates the days and weeks. It is impossible to detach from the urban landscape, as much as country views are enjoyed. The idea of everything wearing itself out and no longer being useful is most dominant in the cityscape: Rapid changeover and acceleration to the next best thing. The example that best described this idea was the comparison of today’s locomotive to the Parthenon: The locomotive of today is beautiful but will inevitably find itself as scrap metal, while the Parthenon will still be standing strong as it always has.

-Man cannot be restored to nature until we have ruin. The rust of our creations will imprison us until we continue to triumph over nature. 


Picon, Antoine. “Anxious Landscapes: From Ruin to Rust.”Grey Room 01. 64-83.

Democratic Design

Equitable design is an issue that was explored in the reading of week 10, and in lecture. It is a factor in design that is not seriously considered, nor set as a priority.


It has been expressed, in lecture that, design that is prescriptive, instead of lax, is usually not successful. Occupants prefer to inhabit a space, which allows them to direct their own living, rather than occupying a dogmatized space - which dictates living (circulation, movement, personalization, and all things related).

The Frankfurt Kitchen exemplifies this. The Frankfurt kitchen was a fully equip kitchen which prescribed workflows, in hopes to better the efficiency of domestic kitchen spaces. Many users found the space not flexible enough for personalization (where items are kept for example), including personalized flows.


As described in lecture, it is difficult to design critically for the general public - how is it possible to fulfill the desires of multiple identities? Additionally, it is difficult to implement programs where different castes come together. Instead of trying to prescribe such places, we should be more observant, and  learn from environments where castes naturally come together.



November 15th Class Reflection

Key Ideas:

-discussion of the reading about temporary contracts:

                                -massive corporations are contributing factors

-Co-operation is a current sustaining value, example is the Dongdaemoon Market

-Massstudies, MY Studio and Studies on Transformative Urban Forms and Fields(STUFF) works:

                -the projects were not just for profit, but also used to learn

                -projects show how architecture goes beyond conventional knowledge in order to solve the contemporary problems of design

                -the knowledge gained from the projects forces designers to understand something unfamiliar

                Examples of the works:

                -R house by STUFF

                -Chiff Street House(MY Studio)

                -Torque House(Massstudies)


It has become evident to our group that designing requires a designer to learn about an unconventional subject matter.  Some group members liked that the Versatech project done by Jae’s firm used a little strip of grass with a distinct scent.  Little details like this help people connect with a place through something non-visual, which our group thinks is an very important part of architecture.  Other group members also liked the R House by STUFF because it required a lot of effort.  A lot of people might have given up on that project with all of the requirements for the house, but STUFF was able to think it through and get in a proper mindset to incorporate everything needed into their design.  This is very good, because one job that the designer has is to meet the needs of the client.

Territories of Urbanism: Challanges

“Territories of Urbanism: challenges” was a lecture, given by various different professionals, at the Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. The primary focus of discussion was the challenges that the study, and practice of urban planning, city planning, and urban design – collectively “urbanism” is faced with. The following challenges/problems were discussed:

 Urban design historically stems from landscape architecture. It is a new, young realm of study and practice, and is therefore faced with challenges related to the institutionalization and the practice of urban design as a convention. 

 Mobility, the contemporary economy, and ecology are all struggles challenging urban design. Additionally, and fundamentally is the struggle between institutionalization of the study of urban design and the needs we address through practice – the design challenges are the problem, and the institution is still in formation.

Design equity is not currently considered in urban design

o   There is the need to emphasize: equity, democracy, and diversity

o   Equity / justice is not foundational to the activities of designers

o   EX: the new Yankees stadium is nostalgic - it is a success in design terms. It displaced the largest park in the Bronx, which will supposedly be replaced. The local community opposed the building of the stadium, and political members that voted against the project were dismissed form practice. This project represents the injustice that is ignored because of the triumph of design.

·      Urban design is dependent on the sense of architecture (first an architect, than an urban designer)

§  EX: when modernism happened in architecture modern urbanism followed

o   Therefore, architecture and urbanism share an intimate relationship –  architecture influences urban design. The challenge is the current epoch – the format of parametricism ( a style that is rooted in animation techniques, and is based on advanced parametric design.)  it ignores 2 fundamental elements of urban design:

§  The Measure of culture and the question of typology and history

o   Since urbanism follows architecture, and architecture is following a current epoch which denies the fundamentals of urbanism, the challenge is that urbanism is having to become more autonomous and less dependent on architecture. The future effects of this are undetermined.

·      Urbanism has an evolving identity – it is a hybrid project.

·      Currently urban design education is focused on directing human behavior, instead of supporting the multiple identities which characterize the urban landscape.

o   The challenge is to address, accommodate, and address messy urbanism – the places that are shaped by the resistance to status quo (messy and vibrant urban areas)

o   Urbanism should set the stage for other actors who will enrich, modify, improve and characterize designed spaces. 

o   “Remember that a store, is also a store keeper”


I thought it was interesting to hear about what different people thought were the challenges within Urban Design. I agree with the comment that the natural forces and urban identities need to coexist.  I think that this is very important to the success of urban design.  I liked the idea of embracing messy urbanism instead of having all urbanism neat and tidy.





This past Friday evening, the annual 10x20x20 forum was held at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG). Artists, architects, landscape architects, filmmakers, photographers, and historians all came with presentation material based on their current and past projects, current events, and ideas and objects that they found interesting. The format was 20 slides presented for 20 seconds, for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds each. Sponsors of the event include the University of Manitoba Association of Architecture Students and the Manitoba Association of Architects Interns in Architecture Committee.

The list of this years presenters include: Jordan Van Sewell (Heritage Winnipeg), Grace Nickel (Ceramicist), Lisa Landrum (Architecture Professor), Hazel Borys (Placemakers), Gary Hilderman (Landscape Architect), Dave Thomas (Architectural Intern - Prairie Architects), David Perrett (Sculptor), Bill Stewart (Creative Director of Frantic Films), Lawrence Bird (Architecture Instructor), and Jim Yamishita (Architect - Smith Carter). 

Lisa Borys, the Principal Listener for the town planning firm Placemakers gave a very interesting and engaging presentation on the the city of Calgary and how it has reached a land size equivalent to the city of New York, and yet it houses a tenth of the population. Her talk brought to life the issues of suburban planning today and how we should be working closer with our politicians and the people making these planning decisions to ensure the future of cities do not take up all the usable and essential farmland surrounding them which provides food for cities. Her narrative was in correlation to what we have previously discussed in class, because it touched on such issues as sustainable planning practices, Transportation Oriented Design (TOD), and issues of the future. Essentially, Lisa’s message was important and shed light on the fact that urban design should be focusing more on the vertical, rather than the horizontal.

Temporary Contracts

Key Ideas:

-Prominence of the temporary contract in our post-industrial landscape

            -Focus on low commitment, short-term profit

            -Creates a volatile landscape

            -No interest in investment, R&D

            -Life cycles becoming shorter (exemplified in malls)

-Manufacturing has lost its economic position to images and information

-Decentralization of development  

            -Locational flexibility, electronic access encourage this

            -Traditionally urban functions move outwards to suburbia

            -Creation of ‘edge cities’      

                        -no sense of community, meant to be experienced from the car


            -Exemplification of the post-industrial landscape

            -Negatively impacts ‘Mom and Pop’ stores in small towns

            -Leases land

                        -Can abandon market when it has run dry

                        -Lack of commitment characteristic of post-industrial landscape

-The impact of the temporary contract

            -Prevents attachment/belonging to anything (people, or place)

            -Separates us from the public realm

            -Architecture becomes commodified—as temporary as our landscape

            -Does not create a sustainable landscape or culture in the long term


 We felt rather disgusted by the picture painted by this article. The lack of sustainability in moving to the periphery is very worrying and will force us as designers to approach the problem. Moving up rather than out was suggested as a way to more sustainable way to build. It becomes a difficult problem to approach when stockholders are only interested in short term profit, but these are the sorts of issues that our generation needs to start dealing with now, before things get more out of control than they already are. Our group agrees with the city core revitalization projects happening, but on the other hand the city continues to sprawl. One group member talked about their 45 minute commute through the city—it begs the question, at what point will the city core revitalizations be worthless because it’s simply too far to travel. The edge cities lack the qualities of public space that we desire in the urban area, so the quality of life for the people living on the periphery will suffer greatly. As designers and human beings, public space is extremely important, and finding a way to integrate it into the impersonal ‘edge cities’ will become important if we don’t stop the rapid outward growth soon.


Dunham-Jones, Ellen “Temporary Contracts: On the Economy of the Post-Industrial Landscape.” Harvard Design Review, Fall 1997, 4-11.