Leisure Ecologies


CORNELL UNIVERSITY Department of Architecture
DESIGN STUDIO: Spring 2008 | 6 credits
LEVEL: Design Research Studio
INSTRUCTORS: Dana Cupkova + Kevin Pratt

The Leisure Ecologies studio is the third in a four-part series of the collaborative design research studios with the main focus on computation, ecology and social systems. It is a continuation of a line of research examining component based sustainable assemblies. The purpose is to develop and refine a holistic methodology of adaptive component design in attempt to create an architecture that is tightly bound to the specificity of dynamic local ecologies while at the same time recognizing that contemporary means of production require a degree of repetitive process and material uniformity to achieve economic viability. Fundamentally, it is a biomimetic methodology, in that it seeks to exploit the malleability of flexible component assemblies that are tuned to the conditions that obtain at a definite set of points in both space and time. This studio focuses on the production of an Eco-Hotel through variable material component systems which address and adapt to specific ecological conditions. The methodology of design is based on a mode of working that merges the capabilities of parametric digital technologies (Generative Components) with environmental data sets simulated through both linear (Weather Tool, Ecotect) and non linear (Envi-Met) dynamic data modeling for the purpose of defining new sustainable material form. The specific definition of context as a functional ecology is a key step in designing both components and their range of variation. This process requires climatic, ecological and cultural analyses, as well as computational modeling and is critical to the design of adaptive component assemblies. We recursively use the analysis and performative testing to create a dynamic feedback within the design process. Fiji, a tropical island, is an ideal test bed for this design method, as it exhibits both strong climatic variation and a unique cultural and ecological context. Our site is the Vanua Levu Ecological Resort, which is currently under development by Spade Ltd. The goal of the studio is to investigate an alternative life-style of leisure and eco-tourism within the fragile ecology of the tropical landscape.

| STUDENTS: James Ferullo, Ana Leshchinsky, Miriam Roure Parera |

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