"Architecture is Building-plus-value." This equation is not simply the addition of unrelated elements... The identity named by this equation - the "is," or "equals" - is enabled by the discursive axiology of tectonics. Tectonics expresses a uniquely architectural sense of necessity, binding together commodity, firmness, and delight ( or economy, strength and beauty; or affect, effect, and reflection ). While architects share a competent interest in structure or aesthetics with other professionals, the intelligence expressed in tectonics cannot be found outside the discipline."
Wes Jones, in Log Vol. 30, Winter 2014
Currently, in contemporary architectural theory, there is an ongoing debate about the purity and relevance of the term tectonic, which has re-appeared sporadically throughout the history of western Architecture. As a generic umbrella for the term, all of the readings of the word in question seem to share the idea that the tectonic represents an ineffable quality of visual synergy between the needs of construction and structure with the harmonious visualization and pronunciation of those needs. This course will interrogate the relevance of the concept of tectonics via the design and construction of complex surface geometry in terms of subdivision and panelization, articulation and structure.
Is the continual subdivision of higher gaussian surface curvature into smaller panels a tectonic expression or merely a construction issue? Do the compressive structure lines within a developable surface that hold its shape inform a buildings tectonic or is this made irrelevant when scaling a paper model to the size of a building with manifest panels? Is the U+V grid a tectonic expression by means of the re-production of the virtual domain in which it was created? Or as in the roofs of gothic vaults in a more traditional sense the visualization of forces directed to the ground that suspend complex surfaces in the air the true tectonic?
In order to answer and properly debate these questions and more, students in this course will read from historic and current theorists to frame an understanding of the use of the word tectonic in architectural culture in order to elevate an intellectual manifesto platform through which to inject a contemporary formalism into.