06 July 2009

'Ocurt' assignments: undergraduate advice at ESARQ

During academic year 2008-2009, Professor Antonio Sanmartín and T.A. Marc Camallonga invited me to do an advice in their last year Architectural Projects class, in the undergraduate program at ESARQ – UIC.

Although they don’t consider themselves up to date in matters of digital technologies in architecture, they have a very interesting approach to encourage students to design algorithmically and, by doing so, evolving beyond XXth century. They begin by studying parameters to create variables from site and context, and also from a very different income: literature. They chose a novel and distributed it, one chapter per student, to generate a diagram from it (in the very Eisenman style!).

My contribution began doing a short lecture on algorithmic design and giving what they called the ‘Ocurt’ assignment: to take the diagram and site variables and develop a complex surface out of them by an algorithmic strategy. Remembering Karl Chu’s reconsideration of Eisenman, I taught them a strategy of synthesizing data and mapping it on a base shape, based on Chu’s morphogenetic approach that he teaches in the Master by an analogic algorithmic strategy (without programming).

In a more advanced stage, I was called for a second 'Ocurt' assignment: a digital fabrication plan. After suggesting some reference reading on the subject, a CAD/CAM strategy was applied to the developed architectural element, so that it could be fabricated in the CNC machine of the school. Some cases required basic training in rationalization of complex surfaces with PanelingTools.

The image shows some student projects at different stages. Photos by Marc Camallonga.

Thanks to Alberto T. Estévez for recommending me to Antonio Sanmartín for this class.


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