ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Empathetic Assemblies: Architecture for the Others

A person with purple hair smiling in front of a background of brightly colored horse characters.

Jordan Downs (Brony), A Brony Tale by Brent Hodge, 2014.

Our new globally connected reality has led to the formation of new types of collectives. These collectives range from benign yet obsessive fandoms to aggressive conspiracy theorists affecting global politics, from new religious cybersectarianism to collective simply interested in a shared forum for the distribution of information. It is the inherent nature of the internet as a forum for anyone to disseminate and publish their beliefs that leads to the vast proliferation of novel collectives. Through the in-depth study of (and even participation in) these groups, students will develop and refine the essential architectural skill of empathy. As an architect, one's ability to emphasize with an individual, group, and collection of groups is essential for the creation of an apropos design response, extricating one's ego and personal intent from the process in service of the greater good.

Through the examination of the collective's behaviors, rituals, and belief systems, in both digital and physical realms, students will define various methodologies for the architectural expression of the collective mentality through architectural space. Iconography, mythology, and folklore will serve to define the architectural construction of geometric manifestation intended to express the nature of the group explicitly to outsiders as well as through clandestine in-group communications. Students will also develop a sense of empathy for the architectural form, studying, classifying, and expressing historical methods which have served to enable architectural communication to the larger public.

Lastly, the manifestations will be executed through the development of techniques and processes which take advantage of emerging architectural technologies, finding synergies between traditional craft and digital fabrication. Where geometries and assemblies have previously been informed and constrained by conventional methods of production, the rapid proliferation of robotics and automated tooling presents the architect with a wide range of options for the execution of a dynamic expression of form, concept, and intent. The studio will take on the challenging task of finding a clear and coherent process to express both the collectives' beliefs while creating spaces precisely designed to accommodate their various rituals.

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