June 10–28, 2024

In times of climate crisis (associated with other political, economic, and social pressures), we observe and experience a changing environment that is increasingly inhospitable and unpredictable. These extreme transformations of our natural context damage our ecosystems and urge us to redefine a fundamental concept in architecture—the concept of habitability. In this context, the topic "Building Ecologies" explores architectural methods and processes through which technology is implemented to formulate new forms of habitability. Thus, fundamental technical and scientific aspects in architecture—such as structure, energy, and material—articulate the design process from a holistic and ecological point of view and with an intrinsic cultural and social dimension.

The proposed workshop is conceived in continuity with the ARCH 301 Comprehensive Studio as well as with an ongoing collaboration with the School of Architecture of La Salle (ETSALS) in Barcelona (Spain). Barcelona has a strong manufacturing and industrial network that has become an integral part of the material culture and architectural tradition of the region. Companies like Escofet (concrete), Cumella (ceramics), Cricursa (glass), BEC (textiles), or Tall Fusta (wood) are well-regarded fabricators grounded in the Catalan manufacturing tradition and currently producing building components and projects with high-quality standards and environmental awareness for projects worldwide.

The planned three-week summer workshop is focused on a series of talks from local experts and visits to projects and manufacturing companies in Barcelona, as well as a hands-on exploration involving the construction of a full-scale prototype with the support of local industry and sponsors.

This course is an extension of the ARCH 301 studio from the fall of 2023. Students from that design studio will have priority registration for the course, though it will be open to any interested students if space remains.

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