Cabinet of Curiosities / Curious Assemblies

MArch Comprehensive Building (Gateway) Studio Wednesday Workshops / 2022 Carleton University
Lead Instructor with Paul Kariouk and Connor Tamborro

As part of a the MArch Gateway building comprehensive studio, students completed a series of workshops over nine consecutive Wednesday afternoons. Each week, students developed five material tests working with wood assembly, steel forming, cnc routing, 3d clay printing, and concrete casting. Each material artefact was tested according to one performance criteria (concrete>heat retention; metal>water deflection; 3d clay print>air movement; cnc routed screen>light modulation; and wood panel>acoustic transmission) using a series of experimental testing chambers constructed for the class. This body of work collectively formed a physical and digital resource, a Cabinet of Curiosities.

In the second half of the semester, students prototyped a fragment (detail, intersection, or spatial condition) of their Gateway studio project, an urban forestry knowledge center in downtown Ottawa. After fabricating these fragments, they tested them in relation to at least one selected performative attribute (heat retention; water deflection; air movement; light modulation; and acoustic transmission) previously explored in the course. Prototypes varied in scale, from 1:1 to 1:10, depending on the extent of the fragment being tested and constraints set by any of the experimental testing devices.  Combined, these didactic exercises provided a toolkit for the students to both understand the logics of materiality and fabrication as well as strategies for evaluating them performatively, reciprocally making energy material and making materials energetic.