COURSE: 401 Tech Core
Erin Besler, Lecturer, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design
Steven Christensen, Lecturer, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design
Kevin Daly, Lecturer, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design
Narineh Mirzaeian, Lecturer, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design

“My house never pleased my eye so much after it was plastered, though I was obliged to confess it was more comfortable.”

- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“Architecture has gone through a decade and a half of valorizing the horizontal, in large part motivated by an idea that the horizontal is bound up with connectivity and the lack of barriers and boundaries. I am suspicious of the politics of pure connectivity and this utopian idea that if we erase all the boundaries everything will come together. We know this is not happening. If we look at the specific capacities of architecture as a discipline, architecture is in fact a discipline of limits and boundaries. The rediscovery of the vertical plane and the agency of limit and separation, the establishment of boundaries, and the interest of someone like Alejandro Zaera-Polo in the envelope, all lead me back to rethinking the verticality of architecture or architecture as a vertical figure in the landscape. Architecture differentiated from landscape as op- posed to a continuation of landscape.

In the broadest possible terms, one of the things that we inherited from postmodernism was the valorization of the vertical plane, which was the signifying plane. Even at a very cliché level, the paradigmatic postmodern drawing was the rendered facade, on yellow tracing paper with colored pencil. That is what my generation rejected. To a certain degree something was lost in forgetting about that vertical surface, and a lot of architects are returning to thinking about the elevation and iconic presence of the building in the landscape. Not necessarily the elevation’s signifying capacity, but as an interface, a membrane on which information is being transmitted in both directions. If you go back to the late ‘80s or early ‘90s, the paradigmatic elevation is the revealed section. For ex- ample, Koolhaas’s Jussieu library has no elevation; the elevations are the sections. The notion that between the section and the reading of the building from the outside there is this membrane condition, the envelope, coincided with a lot of work from the early 2000s where architects rediscovered patterned facades and multiple layers of transparency.

How buildings are skinned is also a technical prob- lem today. We ask skins to do so much more today than we did 30 or 40 years ago. The pure tectonics of a Louis Kahn elevation, or that of the Unite -- where everything you see is revealed structure -- is simply impossible, even illegal today. In a certain sense, architects today have said, if this is the na- ture of the elevation, this complex, many layered assemblage, you have to make that thematic to your practice.”

- Stan Allen, excerpt from interview with Luca Farinelli in Log 23

The 401 (Tech Core) Design Studio unites the focused material fabrication model of the technology seminar with the design project of the traditional core studio. As the culmination of the first year studio progression from form (411) to plan (412) and now to section/elevation, this studio works with the same tripartite project structure as those before: precedent, problem, project. It is different, however, in its introduction of a collaborative working model meant to introduce students to the realities of the professional working environment in which projects are pursued in groups toward a common goal.

ERIN BESLER STUDENTS: Edda Chan, Yiran Chen, Erin Day, Jean-Michel Hirsch, Xihan Lyu, Talia Marks-Landes, Michael Pickoff, Daniel Polk, Hong Bae Yang, Siqi Zhang

STEVEN CHRISTENSEN STUDENTS: Dongxiao Cheng, Daniel Greteman, Lingxi Gu, Wanying Gu, Seoyoung Lee, Nicholas Miller, Tom Niu, Yunfei Qiu, Caroline Watts, Xinwen Zhang

KEVIN DALY STUDENTS: HaoyuChen,Xiangkun Hu, Bennet Liang, Eric Lin, Jeremiah Mulloy, Ian Rodgers, Nichole Tortorici, Jiajie Wang, Kenny Wong, Jenny Zhou

NARINEH MIRZAEIAN STUDENTS: Sally Chae, Liyao Chen, Christopher Doerr, Maythanya Khaikaew, Yuanjun Liu, Kevin MacDougall, Neta Nakash, Zhiwen Qiu, Connor Verteramo, Jian Xie