The Fit Out

No line has been drawn more repeatedly than the one that divides the discipline of architecture from the practice of building. While on the one hand this has afforded architecture some distance from building, on the other hand it has established a gap that not only divide forms of intellectual work from forms of manual work but also draws a line around delegation of control, responsibility and the limits of expertise. Today we no longer simple have architects and builders; we also have engineers, clients, users, large systems of material distribution, supply chains, big box retail specialty fabricators and so forth. What are the sites and limits of architectural work and knowledge today? How are they defined and delineated? Are there certain things which can be said to be inside as opposed to outside? These networks and participants that surround building have inhabited the architect’s office for some time; smuggled in via product samples, submittals, material libraries and shop drawings. Their imposition is incredibly visible today. This studio is situated within the gap between disciplinary problems and practical problems and will work to refit things that have been relegated to practice – such as contractual delineations between bas building and fit out, the scope set, and CSI divisions – into a conceptual framework. The misfit between architectural concepts and the practices of building produces misalignments – gaps that we will enter.

The course is organized around a series of assignments focusing on the relationship between base building and fit out. We will focus on issues surrounding the relationship between inside and outside in architecture, temporary use, finishes, furnishings and fixtures, and the fitting of existing material objects into others. Student will work toward the design of an office building in Irvine, California. 


Erin Besler