2012 Imagine Fund Annual Award and Special Events Winners Announced
The University of Minnesota has chosen the more than 150 recipients of its 2012 Imagine Fund Annual Awards and Special Events Grants.
Supported by a grant from the McKnight Foundation, the Imagine Fund is a unique systemwide program that supports projects in the arts, humanities and design at the University of Minnesota.
"These disciplines at the Unive ... Read more
Adam Marcus (host), Nathan Miller (guest instructor)
This Catalyst studio investigated the relationship between "big data" and material practice through the construction of a series of full-scale prototypes that merge aspects of computational design, graphic design, information aesthetics, and digital fabrication. The basis for the studio was an installation design for the School of Architecture's Centennial (October 25-26, 2013). The Centennial celebration will feature a built installation inspired by the history of the School and its alumni. This Catalyst served as a testing lab for (1) innovative and creative methods of material assembly, and (2) ways in which information can be used generatively in the design of a built structure. The studio specifically focussed on computational design tools as a way to harness large amounts of quantitative data and channel it strategically within a larger design process. Emphasis was placed on hybrid modes of working and exploring the transformative power of large amounts of information: both digitally and analog; both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Blaine Brownell (host), Billie Faircloth & Ryan Welch (guest instructors)
Architecture is a 'slow' weather probe. Our cognition of the relationship between architecture and environment--or between architecture the dynamic milieu of irradiance, sky cover, temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed and wind direction--requires a long feedback loop. Knowledge is acquired over time as adjustments are made here and there to actual buildings arrayed in settlement patterns, and to a building's constituent parts and materials, precisely because time affords the manifestation of invisible phenomena. One can see and comprehend a macroscopic influence of meteorological events and then make adjustments. However, the adjuster is most certainly not the architect. He or she is rarely present to collect this kind of feedback.
Yet, what if the architect were present to measure the actual rather than simulate the predicted performance of material assemblies? This Architecture as Catalyst workshop recast whole material assemblies as 'fast' weather probes. In so doing, this five day exploration with forms and sensors challenged students to align their materials and construction know-how with real-time studies of the environment. It asked the following questions:
How is knowledge of the environment acquired?
What is the potential relationship between form generation and real-time feedback?
How might design practices change when real-time feedback is incorporated into the design process?
Guest instructors Billie Faircloth and Ryan Welch brought a collection of proprietary sensor and communications technologies from KieranTimberlake, and they set up a website for students to track real-time climate data related to their work. The students were tasked with crafting a series of enclosed containers based on prescribed construction logics, and they attempted to meet a series of challenging and varied temperature targets in their iterations throughout the course of the studio.
The Weisman Art Museum (WAM) charged the students in this Catalyst studio to design and prototype a small, simple desktop 3D block puzzle toy of the museum to be mass-produced and sold in the WAM gift store. Students were placed into small teams to develop three different variations on the theme: a plastic injection design, a flat-pack design, and a traditional wooden design. The students followed a highly compressed version of a product design process taught in PDES 3711/5711 Toy Product Design. The project began with surveying, abstracting and sketching an existing building. The students used tools in the Digital Fabrication Lab including the laser cutters, 3D-printers, and CNC router to prototype a series of iterations. In the process, students were advised by WAM store manager, Marissa Onheiber and project manager of the WAM extension, Robert Good of HGA.
Marc Swackhamer (host), Karen Lewis (guest instructor)
This Catalyst studio explored the topic of territories and networks through the lens of the Corn Belt. Students diagrammed the processes, methods and fluvial economies related to growing, harvesting, producing and transporting corn and corn products, recognizing Minneapolis's unique role in both the history and future of the commodity. By diagramming the historic and current methods of corn production, the studio then invented new designs that challenge the current agricultural system, infrastructures and territories, speculating on a new vision for the future of the Corn Belt. The students formatted their information designs into an "Almanac of Projection," a book that formats their research of existing systems and projects how to integrate, augment or recombine them to position new futures. Information was presented at three different scales: as a book, as maps, and as an exhibition.
This Catalyst studio proposes an architectural agenda for energy.
Such an agenda is distinguished from the engineering agenda for energy that dominates architecture today. Of the many architectural and ecological shortcomings of this borrowed agenda is the thermodynamically impossible notion of energy efficiency. Energy cannot be made more or less efficient. Energy is always transferred at 100% efficiency. The reductionist and mechanistic preoccupation of energy efficiency, optimization, minimization and neutrality in architecture today thus engenders inaccurate ideas, misguided means, and perplexing products that neither serves architecture nor ecology well. If fact, these concepts run counter to the behavior of energy systems and thus occlude great ecological and architectural potential.
In contrast to this errant paradigm, architecture needs a far more exacting and ambitious agenda for energy today. It needs an agenda for energy that is at once thermodynamically accurate and ecologically exuberant. Importantly, it must achieve those ends with means that amplify the purposes and potential of architecture itself. Thus this Catalyst studio tables theories, techniques, and technologies of an architectural agenda for energy: maximum power design.
In the wake of an unprecedented recession, how can architecture help stabilize and improve the fabric of communities impacted by the recent housing crisis? This project proposes rehabilitating both vacant housing and vacant infrastructure as a means to designing an alternative future development model.
This project -- a conceit, speculation, alternative future -- explores ways of breaking traditional suburban development by hacking "virus-infected" systems which promote degradation and community instability. Hacking allows a new stream of code to supplant and ward off the virus -- an architectural antidote which can provide a framework to build community.
This is a place of production. The art and artifacts being produced behind gypsum walls are tested against all surfaces from within the corridor. Hung from ceilings, mounted on walls and positioned along the floor like furniture, this art commands little more attention than the communal piano or sofa. This is not gallery. It is overflow storage mixed with purposeful display for the one day per month in which the public is encouraged to engage the "six floors of God knows what" at the California Building in Northeast Minneapolis.
Perhaps influenced by the ad-hoc existing conditions of the California Building's internal corridors, the programmatic strategy for a new architecture focuses on an interface of a new public circulation space with new and old programs. Circulation is cinema. An increasing trend of the production and showing of independent film in the North East Arts District calls for the introduction of cinema space into, out of and adjacent to the California Building.
Each year the M. Arch Graduate Urban Design Studio (Arch 8255) selects a complex, and often controversial, urban site within the Twin Cities region as a topic to analyze and redesign. The site chosen during Fall 2011 - the St. Anthony Main District - lies within the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood and is considered the birthplace of the city of Minneapolis. The site borders the Mississippi River and combines issues pertaining to development, preservation of historic buildings linking the community to the waterfront, and competing approaches for infill development - all of which makes for a perfect urban design studio topic. The work of several students participating in this Urban Design Studio appears below.
The 1st + 1st Produce/Exchange is a renovation of the former Jeune Lune Theater located at 1st St. and 1st Ave. in Minneapolis's historic warehouse district. Originally a produce exchange consisting of two adjacent masonry buildings, Cass Gilbert was hired in 1895 to design an additional concrete frame structure and consolidate the three independent buildings into a single warehouse facility by wrapping them in an imposing facade. In 1992 a portion of the complex was converted into a performing arts space for the now defunct Theatre de la Jeune Lune, leaving an historically rich but exceptionally introverted building without an adequate program for 21st century. My proposal relies on a strategy of vertical incisions to expose this exceedingly anti-public building to daylight, public circulation, and updated mechanical equipment which together will allow it to be resuscitated with a contemporary program appropriate to the current neighborhood revitalization. By combining its most recent performing arts program with its original market function, the new 1st+1st Produce/Exchange brings together the productive, consumptive, educational, and social components of the culinary and performing arts while simultaneously allowing for a greater understanding of the building's intrinsic volumetric, structural, and material characteristics.
The 1st and 1st Arts Center project is a renovation to the old Jeune Theater building in the North Loop Warehouse District in Minneapolis. The building, which originally functioned as a warehouse, grew overtime and was later wrapped in a Cass Gilbert facade which is to be preserved. The context is defined by a collection of old warehouse buildings, which are massive masonry containers with a minimal amount of ornamentation. This project takes that existing typology and heightens people's ability to perceive and appreciate it. Most of the existing floors are hollowed out and the load bearing masonry walls are kept creating large volumes of space. Visitors then begin to perceive the weight of these massive walls, the large volumes which they create, and the light which reveals these volumes. As the visitor leaves the building their perception of the neighborhood will have dramatically changed. In revealing the unique characteristics of the building the project hopes to provide a background and inspiration for the arts which is unique to this particular place.