We are pleased to announce that Volume: Bringing Surface into Question is complete and currently available for purchase from the online bookstore. For those of you that have been patiently waiting, this is the publication produced via the SOM fellowship. Click on the image to purchase your very own copy! This book is 336 pages of observations, explanations, imagery, and insights on the topic of volume in architecture. We hope you enjoy and can support the project. This is the first in a line of research to come. Stay tuned for updates on exhibitions, lectures, prototypes, and further publications.
Marc Jarzombek recently suggested one could determine how well a society is doing by their ability to precisely carve stone. I like his metric for its simplicity, but also for its assumption that we must not be doing so well today. So much of the discussion surrounding digital design has focused on the surface. Perhaps this is because we inherited economically thin sheet materials from the industrial era, or because we no longer consider compression-only structures to be valid. While I argue these structures outlast any partial-tension structure, making them inherently sustainable, I also argue the purpose of the proposed research is not to revert to this ‘antiquated’ architecture. This research is intended to mine the lost knowledge of stereotomy (the art of cutting solids, more typically stone) as a way to inform our contemporary methods of making with the dimension of volume.
This report was funded through the Skidmore, Owings & Merril Foundations 2011 SOM Prize, a Fellowship awarded for independent Travel / Research in Architecture, Design or Urban Design.