Faculty: Catherine Desai | Chinmay Gheware

TA: Binita Bose

Theorizing Architectural Production

In second semester MAHR we study the construction of sets of Indian buildings. This process is a means of opening wider questions of relevance to the architectural profession. The methodology we have developed in the studio aligns with that of our key text this semester, ?Strange Details? by Michael Cadwell.

This year we examined eight exposed brick buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries in Gujarat. Each student made a large scale construction sectional perspective of their building. This drawing type - developed in the studio - requires simultaneously depicting construction details and material qualities of the architectural project in question. Students also made digital models of parts of their buildings ?brick by brick?, to understand their production in relation to established construction practices. Buildings were decoded through site observation, expert discussions and archival research. We discovered that use of brick was hugely varied, ranging from normative to peculiar, deceptive and innovative.

Students used their drawings to reflect in essay format on one of four themes: changes in brick technology over time in Gujarat; divergence from normative construction practice; the disjunction between perceived material qualities and actualities of construction; the historical split between design and construction and its impact on agency in architectural production.

Studio Unit

Sectional perspectives drawn to comprehensively display relationships between construction and architectural qualities.

Brick buildings studied this semester.

Specific material junctions within buildings studied by digitally reconstructing elements brick-by-brick.

Essays discussing critical contexts relevant to the discoveries students had made through the drawing process.

Studio Brief