Materials & Design (1) – An Introduction to Structures

Outside of our main studio/design class, all of the first years also took our first structure-related course, entitled “Materials and Design” – here we were introduced to not only basic structural systems such as the column and beam, but also to various materials. Most of our learning was through hands-on, exploratory work as opposed to straight research.

The first portion of the class, which lasted for about 4 weeks or so, tasked us with the creation of various structural systems that were required to hold a certain amount of weight, usually bricks, without breaking. For the majority of the tasks I was paired up with a fellow student and friend Jesse. Our process usually consisted of various sketches and incredulous head-scratching as we tried to figure out how we were supposed to support a multitude of bricks with such a small amount of material. Eventually we would build a design and test it, at which point it would inevitably fail catastrophically. We would examine the breaking points of the structure, and attempt to modify it to support more weight. This typically repeated a couple times until we had satisfied the weight requirements for the project (or were at a loss as to how to proceed). We would then bring our various designs to class to have them be tested there and allow the professor to comment on the design.

At the end of the project(s) we compiled all the designs into a small booklet, which I have included here.



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