Learning from Failure in the Design Process: Experimenting with Materials, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Learning from Failure in the Design Process

Experimenting with Materials, 1st Edition

By Lisa Huang

Routledge

304 pages | 279 Color Illus.

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pub: 2020-04-22
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Description

Learning from Failure in the Design Process shows you that design work builds on lessons learned from failures to help you relax your fear of making mistakes, so that you’re not paralysed when faced with a task outside of your comfort zone.

Working hands-on with building materials, such as concrete, sheet metal and fabric, you will understand behaviours, processes, methods of assembly, and ways to evaluate your failures to achieve positive results. Through material and assembly strategies of stretching, casting, carving, and stacking this book uncovers the issues, problems, and failures confronted in student material experiments and examines built projects that addressed these issues with innovative and intelligent strategies.

Highlighting numerous professional practice case studies with over 250 colour images, this book will be ideal for students interested in materials and methods, and students of architecture in design studios.

Reviews

"Lisa Huang’s new book encourages a tactile exploration of building materials that is equal part experimentation and informed risk taking. The text and images share how architects transform materials through stretching, casting, carving, stacking in well researched built examples and focused student investigations. By approaching failure, courageous design acts can reveal the synergy between technical construction techniques and aesthetic choices."

- Donna Kacmar, FAIA, Professor

"Lisa Huang’s Learning from Failure in the Design Process looks at the verbs of building—stretching, casting, carving, and stacking—showing how these actions form common languages of process and form across centuries and continents. By parsing construction into these four provocative, inclusive categories, she finds similarities between classic works of ancient architecture such as the Pantheon, modern icons like Scarpa’s Brion Cemetery, and contemporary structures like Allied Works’ Clyfford Still Museum. The result will be a helpful guide for students and a useful provocation for practitioners. Student work that builds on the lessons of these precedents will also be an inspiration to teachers seeking ways to bring building science to the desktop for their students. A remarkable, vital study, Huang’s book re-shapes the way we think about building and fabrication processes in design."

- Thomas Leslie, FAIA, Morrill Professor in Architecture, Iowa State University

"Like a child learning to ride a bike and sometimes skinning a knee, an architect learns about materials, assemblies, construction processes, physics, weathering, and gravity all on the fly, while designing each building. Learning from Failure in the Design Process by Lisa Huang captures the magic that can happen when design thinking is applied to the technical aspects of materials and the making of architecture. This book will help even veteran architects rediscover their craft."

- Patrick Rand, FAIA, DPACSA, Distinguished Professor, NC State University

"Examining an under appreciated aspect of architectural design, Huang reveals the essential connection between material innovation and experimental failure in the development of construction materials and methods. By exploring four fundamental methods of material assembly, and illustrating each section with both precedents from the history of modern building as well as full-scale constructions made by her students, Huang opens up productive paths for further experiments in material assemblies in both the academic and professional contexts, while also bringing to light new insights into the larger discipline of architecture."

- Robert McCarter, Ruth and Norman Moore Professor of Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Chapter 1: WHY STRETCH?

    1. What Can We Stretch? Material Considerations
    2. Typical Stretching Materials and Components

      Key Issues to Consider in Material Selection

    3. How Do We Stretch?

Typical Assembly Requirements

1.3 What Happens When Stretching? What Are the Failures/Limitations/Problems We May Encounter?

Composite Assemblies: How Do We Integrate Rigid and Stretched Materials?

[Student Experiment: How Do We Negotiate Between Flexible and Stiff Material Systems?]

Pliability + Sagging: How Do We Overcome the Effects of Gravity and Give Dimension to Flatness and Floppiness?

Alternative Strategies: How Else Can We Take Advantage of a Membrane’s Natural Inclination to Cling and Drape?

Lightness + Weight: How Do We Make a Typically Temporary Assembly Look More Permanent?

[Student Experiment: How Do We Take Advantage of a Material’s Stretching Potential?]

Stretching the Material Itself: How Can We Make Rigid Material Look Soft and Fluid?

 

Chapter 2: WHY CAST?

2.1 What Can We Cast? Material Considerations

Typical Casting Materials and Components

[Student Experiment: How Do We Cast a Light-transmitting Concrete Panel and What Else Can We Do with It?]

Atypical Casting Materials and Components

Key Issues to Consider in Material Selection

2.2 How Do We Cast? Typical Assembly Requirements

Key Steps in the Process of Casting

Atypical Formwork Strategies

2.3 What Happens When Casting? What Are the Failures/Limitations/Problems We May Encounter?

[Student Experiment: What are Some Missteps That We Confront in the Casting Process?]

Precision + Control: How Do We Accommodate or Outsmart Inevitable Inconsistencies in the Casting Process?

[Student Experiment: How Do We Control Material Behavior in the Casting Process?]

Texture + Unpredictability: How Do We Turn Surface Inconsistencies or Defects into Design Features?

Texture + Exactitude: How Do We Make a Rough Material Look More Refined?

Form + Lightness: How Thin Can We Cast a Material?

Plasticity + Mass: How Else Can We Highlight the Fluidity of a Cast Material?

Chapter 3: WHY CARVE?

3.1 What Can We Carve? Material Considerations

Typical Casting Materials and Components

Key Issues to Consider in Material Selection

3.2 How Do We Carve? Typical Assembly Requirements

3.3 What Happens When Carving? What Are the Failures/Limitations/Problems We May Encounter?

[Student Experiment: What Happens When We Let the Carving Process Dictate Form and Appearance of Components?]

Operation + Composition: How Do We Make Something Predictable Look Unpredictable?

Ornament + Stability: How Do We Maintain and Express Structural Integrity in Carving?

 

Chapter 4: WHY STACK?

4.1 What Can We Stack? Material Considerations

Typical Casting Materials and Components

Atypical Casting Materials and Components

Key Issues to Consider in Material Selection

4.2 How Do We Stack? Typical Assembly Requirements

Historical Shift from Bearing Wall to Veneer Cladding

4.3 What Happens When Stacking? What Are the Failures/Limitations/Problems We May Encounter?

[Student Experiment: How Else Can We Integrate a Stacked Assembly with Another Material System?]

Lateral Stability + Height: How Do We Increase the Height of an Assembly of Small Modules While Keeping it from Overturning?

Lateral Stability + Height: How Do We Make a Fluid Form Out of Something Rigid?

Pattern + Texture: How Can We Use the Individual Module to Contribute to a Dynamic Collective for the Uniform Monolith?

[Student Experiment: How Can We Transmit Light Through a Monolithic and Opaque Assembly?]

Porosity + Lightness: How Do We Transmit Light Through A Stacked Assembly?

[Student Experiment: How Can We Manipulate a Stacking Module that can Create Different Patterns of Light?]

Mass + Lightness: How Do We Make Something Inherently Heavy Defy Its Own Weight?

About the Author

Lisa Huang is practicing architect and an assistant professor at the University of Florida School of Architecture. She spent close to a decade working at Office dA in Boston. Lisa has been recognized as with honors of the 2016 American Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)/American Institute of Architects Students (AIAS) New Faculty Teaching Award and the 2017 Building Technology Educator Society (BTES) Emerging Faculty Award.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARC000000
ARCHITECTURE / General
ARC004000
ARCHITECTURE / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation
ARC009000
ARCHITECTURE / Methods & Materials