OS01 INSTITUTION Oslo School of Architecture (AHO)
Span and Space. A pragmatic and aesthetic discourse on structures   in architecture
TEACHING STAFF Professor, PhD.† Bjorn N. Sandaker
SUBJECT AREA Architectural criticism NUMBER OF ECTS CREDITS … CREDIT ECTS=
25 hours of studentís work
5 ECTS
RELATED TO OTHER MODULES no   PER WEEK PER SEMESTER
ON LINE LECTURES 5 ONLINE HOURS n/a  
ON LINE TUTORIALS none HOURS OF PERSONAL WORK n/a  
OTHER FORMS OF CONTACT essay TOTAL Consultation by email  
MAXIMUM NUMBER OF STUDENTS 6 MAIN SELECTION CRITERIA Previous experience/knowledge
DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTENTS OF THE MODULE

The question raised in this module is how to establish a contemporary critique of architecture that takes material and structural issues as starting points, and which appraises structures both as mechanical systems and as expressions of architecturo-spatial intentionality - both as techne and telos.

Today, the challenges for architecture and architectural engineering come from the new and increasing complexity of architectural concepts of space. New design technologies (3D computer graphics) and manufacturing technologies(CNC etc.) contribute to traditional design ideals losing ground. The current problem is no longer how to implement the paradigm of structural efficiency and honesty but, rather, how to recognise structural qualities in changing architectural contexts.†

The main strategy to bring about a discourse on architecture and structures is to establish a dialogue between theoretical disciplines (structural mechanics, aesthetics) and the practical knowledge held by the professions involved, namely architecture and engineering.

The five lectures are:

  • Structures in architecture, an ontological approach (Introduction: what are structures, as a class of objects? What fundamental aspects characterise their form? How are structures explained and understood?)
  • Structural pragmatics (1). Structures and materials (Three basic mechanical concepts; material characteristics, mechanical efficiency, structural scale. Structural materials and architecture; a brief historical overview. Structural materials and form; three hypotheses).
  • Structural pragmatics (2). The concepts of efficiency and scale (Structural vs. technological efficiency. Structurally efficient materials. Structural efficiency and structural form. The scale problem. The scale, the span and the space).
  • An aesthetics of structures (1). The theoretical background (An aesthetic qualification: the freedom to choose. Writers on aesthetics and structures. The aesthetic experience).
  • An aesthetics of structures (2). Aesthetics of the mechanical and spatial functions (Strategies for a critique of the mechanical. Materials, efficiency and scale in an aesthetic context. Utility, contextuality and iconography vs. the mechanical).

 

 EXPECTED COMPETENCES AS LEARNING  OUTCOMES TEACHING METHODS EVALUATION METHODS
  1. To command a theory-based discourse on structures in an architectural context.
  2. To gain knowledge on aesthetic theories adapted to an appraisal of technological objects.
  3. To be able to include well-founded views on structural form and materiality in an architectural critique.

Lectures

Written paper

 DELIVERABLES OF THE MODULE

The module is based on five lectures, which will be available on the web-site and reading of Space and Span. On completion of these tasks the student will propose three relevant essay topics of which BS will choose one.
The essay will be of approximately 5000 words + illustrations, appendices and references.
The candidate will present a completed draft of the paper and receive comments, which then will be incorporated into the final paper. The final paper will be graded and handed back with comments.
All communication with the teacher will be through e-mail.

 OTHER CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MODULE