Towards the immateriality of the building envelope

Recent paradigms of architecture design have called into question the basic assumption that rigid façades are a prerequisite for the envelopment of architectural space, drawing attention to the dematerialisation tendencies of the building exterior. With the drive towards sustainable buildings, these tendencies, from within the current era of a constant negotiation between building, individual and environment, call for further investigation. Through this intensive workshop we will focus on a historical, theoretical and critical exploration apropos of the material characters of architecture, tracing in the meantime the genesis of the dematerialisation of the building exterior. Maintaining a contemporary perspective, we will engage in a cultural reading of various architectural materialities that tend to the dissolution of the building exterior. Therefore, we will enhance our understanding of concepts such as the ones of spatial interiority, openness, continuity, perception and so on, whilst taking a wide interdisciplinary approach and drawing upon texts from the scholarly fields of architectural theory, design and technology, but also of philosophy, phenomenology and sociology. In its core, the workshop will address the thematic issues of osmosis, transparency, mimicry, pliability, mediation and comfort concerning the architectural artifact. Each lesson will consist of an introductory seminar and a writing workshop, encouraging participants to explore a theoretical or historiographic topic and apply such topic to the selected design case studies.

Course type          Lectures, Writing workshop

Credits                    4

Instructor             Dr. Stamatina Kousidi <stamatina.kousidi@polimi.it, matinakousidi.com>

Semester               Spring

Duration                40 hours (Workshop meetings) + 20 hours (Individual work)

Assignment         Workshop participants are expected to submit a 25,000-30,000 characters (excluding abstract, footnotes and bibliography) final essay in English on a topic based on the key lecture themes comprising the course, following its presentation and discussion in class.

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