Push, Pull, Bend, Bind: Enacting Architecture Through Behaviour and Consequence
LANCELOT COAR, University of Manitoba


With the recent advancements in digital and automated tools for the fabrication of materials and structures, the orthogonal prescription of 20th century design and construction industry has become dramatically transformed. Through these advances a biologically inspired formal vocabulary has emerged suggesting a more synthesized approach of form finding and construction processes. Yet despite this, industrial-era tools and orthogonal construction techniques are still being used to build designs that employ the complex geometries of digital designs when they are assembled at a ‘building-scale’. This incongruity between tools, methods, and construction techniques results in redundant technologies, unorthodox challenges in construction, complex workflows, and inefficient material and energy usage.


Arguably the appeal to produce “organic” forms in design is not purely aesthetic, as these forms offer the opportunity to achieve greater efficiencies in energy and materials when explored in concert with the full realities of constructing a building at full-scale (not only virtually).


This paper will describe the research of the author aimed at establishing a reciprocal approach to design and construction where the design and construction process are explored simultaneously at both model and building scales.  This approach is based on the idea that design with materials can be collaborative, a conversation between actions and reactions (both physical and conceptual), between the designer, building materials, and the techniques of constructing.  These actions are in fact provocations that reveal unexpected dimensions of understanding including a fuller range of other senses (touch, smell, sound, etc.) not commonly explored in industrial design and construction process.  In this research, drawing, modeling, and building become mutually congruent and contribute to the speculation of how architecture might arise out of behaviour and consequence rather than aesthetics or technology alone.

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The 2014 Atmosphere Committee consists of: Lisa Landrum, Chair (Architecture), Rae Bridgman (City Planning), Alyssa Schwann (Environmental Design), Lynn Chalmers (Interior Design), Marcella Eaton (Landscape Architecture); with web design and graphics support from Thalia Andreoglou (Masters of Architecture student), and administrative support from Brandy O’Reilly (Faculty of Architecture, Partners Program).


Questions? Please contact Lisa.Landrum@umanitoba.ca


Atmosphere is generously supported by the Faculty of Architecture Endowment Fund and the following professional associations: the Manitoba Association of Architects (MAA); the Manitoba Association of Landscape Architects (MALA); and the Professional Interior Designers Institute of Manitoba (PIDIM).                  

Aspects of Atmosphere 2014 ACTION are being presented in collaboration with StoreFront Manitoba and aceartinc.