The Roman architect Vitruvius summarized the two sided nature of the architect’s task in his 1st century BCE treatise, De architectura: Architects must be skilled in fabrica, or materials and craftsmanship, and ratiocinatione, the ability to cunningly demonstrate an idea. In contemporary practice, these two aspects – design and construction – are commonly understood as two autonomous professional activities, a condition that has created unfortunate divisions in our building culture.
Studio 2D believes that the design activity and the construction process are closely linked. We cultivate the architect’s skills and imagination by placing the act of construction at the center of design education. Just as design leads to construction, so does construction lead to design. The inter-relation between drawing, building, and making is critically employed in the studio, from schematic design to construction details.
Studio 2D foregrounds local traditions and building cultures, looking for new ways to re-invent old crafts and recover obsolete building methods. Historically speaking, community identity was profoundly linked with local building culture. This once vast diversity of material inventions and craft, however, is gravely threatened by the homogenization of late capitalist technology and culture. The focus and study of construction history is therefore a focus of the studio culture.
Studio 2D aspires toward the idea of building as an art form, what in the past has been called ‘bygningskunst’ or ‘Baukunst’ – the art of building. The great 17th century English writer, John Evelyn, elegantly observed in reference to the design activity, “the small movements of the architect mirror the large movements of the builder.” Not only will you learn about how to build, you will learn about how to draw and communicate beautiful constructions with those who do the building.
Studio 2D engages in collaborative, full size constructions for the long-term benefit of the community. Each member of the studio should be willing to undertake focused, collaborative work and engage with the workshops as a site of creative encounter. Every semester, a number of externally-driven projects will enter the studio, each at various stages of completion. Students engage with the projects in different ways depending on the student’s interest, semester level, and the status of the projects.
Studio 2D is first and foremost project driven. Thematic investigations, technological questions, and historical threads therefore emerge from the projects themselves. Since projects often take place over several semesters, collaboration is understood as working within a group as well as working with groups that come before and after you. Projects are developed through seminar discussions, material experimentation, extensive drawing and re-drawing, and meetings with tutors and project clients.
Studio 2D invests in the study of historical building methods and cultures. We utilize study trips, lectures and precedent studies to extract new knowledge from the historical fabric of the community around us. This is bolstered by theoretical reflections on craft, technology, and materiality.
Studio 2D forms a point of resistance against the strict professional categories of current practice. In returning to the idea of architecture as the art of building, the studio encourages entrepreneurship and the invention of new ways of engaging communities and professional practice.