Advanced Topics in Architecture: Articulating Voids

ARC465H1 S1
Instructor: Angela Cho
Meeting Section: L0102
Winter 2023

Casting materials undergo many changes of state as they are worked—they have a perfect ability to copy and retain information from the bodies they contact. They remember everything: the intentionally indexed object or formwork, the influence of the operator, and even one's loss of control over the substance because of environmental forces. It is because these substances are so volatile that they have great material memory. Such ruthless memory lends itself to analytical processes.

This seminar will ask its students to begin by carefully examining an architectural precedent. By studying existing photographs of the building's interior (or exterior), you will select an object found therein and sculpt a representation of this object to create a positive, “original” form. Complex mould systems (negative/void forms) will be made as frameworks for producing replicas (positive/solid copies) of this object, in a new material. Thoughtful mutations will be performed on the mould in order to cast a new exploration. Short written reflections along with readings on our subject will impact choices of material, process, and manipulation made by the student throughout the semester. These exercises will provide the groundwork for returning to a casting-driven study of the architectural precedent at a different scope.

Students will be exposed to a wide variety of casting and mould-making techniques, and will become versed in working with materials such as plaster, silicon, clay-slip, and concrete.

The objective of this seminar is to think through the nature of casted forms, to encounter themes including material memory and authenticity, the dialectic between index and representation, and to bring artifacts of process to the fore.