[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted comments in response to a back-page comment written by Lawrence W. Speck (“Togetherness” AN 01_11.06.2013_SW), which called on the architecture profession to regard its creations as collaborative efforts, rather than the products of solo geniuses. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ]
I am sorry to say that architects do NOT make buildings! To identify the field of architecture as an Industry leads to the inevitable subordination of architecture not as an intellectual pursuit capable of a transformative role in society to one of simply propping up the Status Quo.
Designtex, a domestic supplier of textiles and wallcoverings, has announced a collaboration with 3M Architectural Markets as the exclusive distributor of its DI-NOC Architectural Finishes for North America. While it has been a major success in the Japanese market for the past 15 years, 3M launched the product at this past NeoCon, held annually at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Available in more than 500 patterns and colors, the finish can achieve the look of materials in unexpected places to meet building codes, fire codes, even standards for weight restrictions on cruise ships.
Chicago’s collective IQ, no doubt already impressive, may rise a few points even higher this Thursday and Friday. The city is hosting a gathering of international thinkers and innovators who specialize in the tools that enable the creation of some of the world’s most high-tech and visually arresting building skins. The conference, Collaboration: The Art and Science of Building Facades, is sponsored by The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos.
On Thursday, the conference features a high-powered line-up of speakers on Thursday, including Fernando Romero of FREE as the keynote. Then on Friday, the conference turns practical with a series of hands-on workshops that will lead participants through the very latest tools, programs, and applications. For example, Florin Isvoranu of Austria-based firm Evolute, which has collaborating with Zaha Hadid, Asymptote and others, will host a workshop on parametrically driven optimization of freeform facades, a topic that even has industry experts signing up to learn something new.
From students to seasoned veterans, those currently attending include staffers from firms like Sapa, Thornton Tomasetti, Interface, Cannon Design, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architcture, Perkins + Will, NBBJ, SOM, and KieranTimberlake, with roles ranging from engineer to BIM manager, market analyst to company president. PhD candidates, MArchs, and undergrads are flocking in from area universities and colleges including The School of the Art Institute, IIT, and Cranbrook Academy, as well as a hefty contingent of 12 students and three profs from the University of South Dakota State University‘s new Department of Architecture (DoArch).
Collaboration is the industry conference you can’t afford to miss. There’s still time to sign up! Registration details here.
The West Coast edition of AN’s 2012 Facades Conference, “The Art and Science of Building Facades,” held at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center on July 26 examined the state of the art in building envelope design. The common thread: collaboration. The first speaker, Phil Williams, VP of Webcor Builders, set the tone by emphasizing early team integration in developing innovative design. Dennis Sheldon, CTO of Gehry Technologies, spoke on how their software facilitates a deeper and more integrated collaborative process between architects, contractors, and fabricating teams.
Who builds your architecture? “Not architects,” said Reinhold Martin. “By definition, architects do not build; they make drawings, write contracts, and do all these other things.” At New School’s Vera List Center on May 3, a roundtable facilitated debate and speculation on the rights of the lesser-discussed “workers” that make architecture happen.
On February 17, Kevin Patrick McClellan and Brad Bell will lead RHINO Design, a workshop focused on the digital design program Rhino, as part of DAY 2 of the upcoming COLLABORATION conference on fabrication and facades in NYC.
Kevin Patrick McClellan is a designer, artist, and founder of Architecturebureau, a design research office exploring complex systems and their material effects on form. After receiving his Masters in Architecture and Urbanism in the DRL from the Architectural Association School of Architecture with a Project Distinction in 2005, he subsequently worked in New York for Kevin Kennon and in London with Zaha Hadid Architects. There he led the development of two highly publicized temporary installations, one for the Serpentine Gallery titled Lilas and the second for Swarovski Crystal Palace exhibited in the 2008 Milan Furniture Fair. He teaches design studio at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Kevin is a founder and co-director of TEX-FAB *Digital Fabrication Alliance, a regional platform for the dissemination of issues related to computational fabrication.
Brad Bell is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Arlington where he researches and teaches on the integration of digital fabrication technologies into the architectural design process. He has lectured, taught, and written on the uses of such technologies for the past 10 years and has been an invited critic at schools of architecture throughout the United States. Brad is a founder and co-director of TEX-FAB *Digital Fabrication Alliance, a regional platform for the dissemination of issues related to computational fabrication. And as principal of brad bell studio, he has completed projects in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. His practice focuses on adapting contextual and regional construction methodologies with new digital fabrication techniques.
TEX-FAB co-founders Brad and Kevin will present the day-long workshop, Rhino Design, and will cover user interface navigation and provide a broad understanding of the different tool sets and workflow options within the software. Step-by-step design problems will address both Solids Modeling, NURBS Modeling and documentation methods. Advanced techniques for complex geometries and the use of the paneling tools plug-in will be covered in the afternoon session.