ARC 606-2– Graduate Studio - MEGALITH
Course No.: 17043
Semester: 2017 Spring
Location: Parker – 18
Meeting Day(s): Tuesday & Thursday
Meeting Time: 2:00PM - 7:50PM
A megalith is a very large, usually rough, stone used in prehistoric cultures as a monument or building block – either alone or together with other stones and without the use of mortar or concrete. These structures primarily share an extreme economy and simplicity of overall form; most characteristic is their capacity to deliver tremendous eloquence with very few formal means. Some adopt straightforward, elementary configurations while others limit more gestural impulses to a clear and single utterance. Many contain considerable planimetric and sectional complexities within strict volumetric restraint. All have a monolithic character that ostensibly defies current architectural preoccupations with fragmentation and heterogeneity. In order to accomplish this formal simplicity megalithic civilizations were adept at handling material – possessing tremendous knowledge surrounding mass, weight, and gravity – able to quarry, transport, and erect large stones what weighed upward of 700 tons (1,400,000 lbs. or 635,029 kilograms) with immense precision. In most cases the ancient civilizations had little, if any, advanced technology that would help the moving of these monoliths. Thus, one of the greatest mysteries of Megalithic era construction surrounds transportation from quarry to site. To begin, the studio will explore the physical and conceptual roots of megaliths dating back as early as the Neolithic Period (9th millennium BC) to investigate how this knowledge from the past could impact our contemporary world and the ongoing debate within the discipline regarding form, and formalism, in architecture. We will use this research to speculate on the constructive principles, material properties, spatial and formal attributes of megaliths and their contemporary possibilities. The studio will culminate by building, transporting, and permanently installing a 1:1 concrete megalith at the Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto, NY.