UTSOA

The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

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fall 2008

ARC 393:
building : site

Instructor:
Russell Krepart

Project

We will focus on the demands of relating a building to a physical location being both very specific (site) and general (landscape) with regards to scale. The studio will focus on a series of buildings that will allow us to investigate the relationship between a building, the ground it sits on, and the sky it touches. We will principally investigate the building’s relationship to its skin, and how this ‘layer’ of the building may be used to form thresholds, enclosures, and/ or volumes, as well as offering opportunities for living, and thermal protection.

Our sites will begin with an imaginary site and end with two sites in West Texas [ Balmorhea, and Marfa ]. We will examine the relationship between building and site first, beginning with a wind farm/ food ranch [energy] on an invented landscape, created through a series of abstract compositional exercises. We will then work across a variety of scales, moving to a medium scale bathhouse/ bunkhouse [retreat] in Balmorhea, Tx, and concluding with a larger scale, firehall/ dancehall [respite] in Marfa, Tx.

There will be a field trip to Marfa.

More information will follow.

Expectations

  • Students are expected to be on time and present for all classes. You are responsible for coursework assigned in your absence. Your peers will be able to fill you in on what you missed. You can also contact me if more information is needed.
  • Extensions and incompletes will not be given in this course, except where there is documented evidence of a serious problem.
  • Besides desk crits, pin-ups, and presentations, various talks may be given in the course that serve as background to the studio projects. There may be from time to time guest speakers as well as guest critics.
  • You are encouraged to work in the studio. Architecture is an interactive discipline, not merely an individual pursuit. The criticism of and contact with your colleagues can be as significant as that with your studio critic.

Grading

Establishing grades for projects of a creative nature is a more complex matter than grading in other academic areas. While each project contains certain quantifiable elements by which it may be evaluated, a significant portion of each grade is derived from a broader, more subjective set of issues.

Grading for studio courses is broken into three components for each given mark:
1/3 grasp (the ideas and understanding of the project at hand, combined with an appropriate process of inquiry),
1/3 process (the consistent and rigorous development and testing of ideas) and
1/3 resolution (the demonstration of competence, completeness, and finesse through representation).

Your work will be evaluated on its rigor and evolution over the semester.

Grade descriptions

A : excellent work

Project surpasses expectations in terms of inventiveness, appropriateness, verbal and visual ability, conceptual rigor, craft, and personal development. Student pursues concepts and techniques above and beyond what is discussed in class. Project is complete on all levels.

B : good work

Project is thorough, well researched, diligently pursued, and successfully completed. Student pursues ideas and suggestions presented in class and puts in effort to resolve required projects. Project is complete on all levels and demonstrates potential for excellence.

C : required work

Project meets the minimum requirements. Suggestions made in class are not pursued with dedication or rigor. Project is incomplete in one or more areas.

D : poor work

Project is incomplete. Basic skills including graphic skills, model-making skills, verbal clarity or logic of presentation are not level-appropriate. Student does not demonstrate the required design skill and knowledge base.

F : unacceptable work

Project is unresolved. Minimum objectives are not met. Performance is not acceptable. Note that this grade will be assigned when you have excessive unexcused absences.

X : (excused incomplete)

Can be given only for legitimate reasons of illness or family emergency. Simply not completing work on time is not an adequate cause for assigning this evaluation. It may only be used after consultation with the Associate Deans’ offices and with an agreement as to a new completion date. Studio work must be completed before the second week of the next design semester in which you are enrolling, according to School of Architecture policy.

ALL GRADES ARE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTIONS FOR ABSENCES, LATE WORK AND LATE ARRIVALS.

Attendance

Attendance is mandatory. Participation is expected. Students with three (3) unexcused absences may be dropped from the course without further notice. The minimum penalty for more than three unexcused absences is a full letter drop in your final grade for the course. Please contact the instructor prior to class if you expect to be late or miss class.

A student who misses classes or other required activities for the observance of a religious holy day should inform the instructor as far in advance of the absence as possible, so that arrangements can be made to complete an assignment within a reasonable time after the absence. A student who fails to complete missed work within the time allowed will be subject to the normal academic penalties.

Disabilities

Please notify your instructor of any adaptation you may require to accommodate a specific physical need. You will be requested to provide documentation to the Dean of Students' Office, in order that the most appropriate accommodations can be determined. Specialized services are available on campus through the Services for Students with Disabilities, also found via the web at deanofstudents.utexas.edu/ssd/.

Security, safety and the studio

The studio is an exceptional learning environment. Since it is a place for all, it necessitates the careful attention to the needs of everyone in it. Please see your instructor if there are any problems (music, visual pollution) that you are unable to resolve on your own. All spraying of fixative, spray paint or any other substance should be done in the shop. Security is a necessary component for a studio that is accessible to you and your colleagues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please be mindful not to admit any uninvited visitors and keep all exterior doors locked after hours.

Be smart. Be safe.