ARC 589/ARC 486


Course Preview Image
Course Details

Course No.: 19532

Department: Architecture

Semester: 2017 Spring

Location: Hayes Hall – 402

Meeting Day(s): Thursday

Meeting Time: 11:00AM - 1:40PM

Faculty: Romano

Largely overlooked in the development of Modernism, enthusiasm for solid wood architecture, also referred to as mass timber, is growing rapidly among architects and designers. Quests for material performance, taller building heights, structural innovation, and new architectural styles conspired to stem advancements in wood craftsmanship during the last 200 years. Steel and concrete rose to new heights in European and North American cultural centers during the 19th and 20 centuries.  Meanwhile, wood became associated with lower-grade and lower-cost construction – buildings of lesser stature, safety, and durability.  The wide-spread adoption of concrete and steel, coupled with the enormous manufacturing infrastructure for these materials and building codes that favored non-combustible construction led to their dominance, and a general lack of investigation in other materials.  Driven by both technological advances and the growing concern for ecology and sustainable construction practices, wood has become competitive with concrete and steel in terms of industrialized manufacturing, prefabrication, and the necessity of rapid site erection.  Thus, after a century of decline, wood is finding its way back to the forefront of architecture.  This course will begin with an examination of timber construction in large-scale, non-residential buildings through historical analysis, contemporary case studies, in-situ visits to the forest, and tours of the regional logging industry.  It will conclude with a series of small-scale material experiments that will aim to speculate on the constructive, material, spatial, formal, and cultural attributes of solid wood structures.