ARCH 4101/4102/5101/5116/7113
Site-Specific, Small-Scale Interventions: Design-to-Build Studio

People sitting in a wooden sculpture/structure in outdoor setting at night

Site-specific wooden sculpture/structure and informal meeting place for visitors to Venice’s Architecture Biennale 2010. photo / Rintala Eggertsson Architects

Dagur Eggertsson, visiting professor; partner, Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Sami Rintala, visiting professor; partner, Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Mark Cruvellier, Nathaniel and Margaret Owings Distinguished Alumni Professor

The intention of this studio is to engage in the detailed design of site-specific, small-scale interventions within the context of large-scale natural landscapes. An essential challenge and objective will be to explore how to accomplish a lot with a little in such an environment. The central project will be sited locally in rural Ithaca. Site specificity has a lot to do with the people who are living there, their culture and way of life, and their understanding of/relationship to the landscape; all this generates an inner landscape that we need to explore. We will work with a real client for the project(s) which within a year or two could conceivably be built on site in full scale. One of the possible tasks could be to design a Finger Lakes Trail hiker's rest stop and/or viewing platform, perhaps combined with a stone mason's work-yard shelter — but other functions are also likely to emerge and be developed. We will conduct numerous on-site design workshops, closely exploring/reading the site and landscape in winter/spring conditions, and combining this with on-site, indoor(!) design charrettes in a unique setting. Local culture and history, as well as material crafts and specific technical expertise, will be integrated into the studio. A convivial studio atmosphere and a collective group dynamic is the intention — without, of course, sacrificing individual creativity nor high expectations for the final, ready-to-be-built design proposal(s). These will be highly material specific and closely detailed, with wood and stone being of primary but not necessarily exclusive interest. Partial prototype model building, detail resolution, and material testing are intended to be done at a large scale, e.g., 1:1, even if not likely on site during the semester. Structural form and its relation to design ideas/concepts will also be of central focus and concern. Cold weather climate and dark winter days will be integral to design considerations, but so will be their opposite during the warm, light-filled summer. Vernacular, as well as contemporary examples of Nordic architecture and other built works, will be closely studied for the lessons they convey.

The overriding goal of the studio is to produce architecture that offers clever, realistic, ecological, and economic architecture for the near future. This universal theme will be discussed with help of a selected literature list.

Rintala Eggertsson Architects was founded in 2007 by the Finnish architect Sami Rintala and the Icelandic architect Dagur Eggertsson. The office bases its activities on teaching, furniture design, public art projects, architecture, and planning. Important features in Rintala Eggertsson's practice are their 1:1 building workshops with students and clients. Occupying the space between architecture and public art, their work has been installed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the MAXXI Museum in Rome, and in the Venice Biennale, and has been published extensively, such as in A+U, Wallpaper, Architectural Review, Blueprint, Domus and The New York Times. Their work has been described as narrative and conceptual. Resulting work is a layered interpretation of the physical, mental and poetic resources of the site.

Eggertsson and/or Rintala will be present in studio for week-long sessions roughly every three weeks.

View a PDF of this class description.