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Undergraduate architecture students chart maps of human-environment interaction.
April 2, 2013
Habits are activities not often subject to conscious evaluation: crossing and uncrossing one’s limbs in a certain fashion while studying; fiddling with a watch or similar accessory. But as Maria Carriero, Caroline Chao, and Mary Tsai—currently seniors in the undergraduate architecture major—discovered, these simple, everyday actions can be the basis for a more complex understanding of humans’ interaction with their environment.
Habit-at is the fourth design project out of a series of six undertaken by students within the College’s architecture program. In addition to the projects, students complete four courses in the history of art and architecture and two architectural theory courses. The projects, completed in courses deemed "design studios," help students gain an understanding of the fundamentals of architecture through the exploration of architectural analogs. In the first phase of the Habit-at project, each student documented a habit through a series of black and white photographs depicting bodies in motion. Particular attention is given to the spatial and temporal dimensions of the action. Using the photographs, each student mapped the movements associated with the habit and made digital maps. In some instances, these maps are combined with the original photographs into collages.
In the second phase of the project, each student interpreted the photographs, maps, and collages into architectural drawings designed to enclose a range of motions specific to the Habit-at. This enclosure helps explain how the moving parts adjust in order to accommodate and facilitate habitual human actions. Above, see the Habit-at projects play out, with explanation from the student designers.
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