Appliance Architecture in the Invisible College: a Pedagogical Text

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Virginia Tech


This thesis presents a pedagogical framework for understanding dynamic Parametricism within the new media culture. As indicated by the title, 'Appliance Architecture in the Invisible College: a Pedagogical Text', this paper will serve two purposes. First, appliance architecture will construct the theoretical framework that will provide the context for the four case studies presented within this thesis: an interview with Rob Ley, designer of the Reef Project; the design and development of the Eclipsis Screen for the Solar Decathlon house, Lumenhaus; the development of an architectural robotics design laboratory, Prototyping in Architectural Robotics for Technology-enriched Education (PARTeE); and workshop > no.1, a physical computing workshop held at the College of Architecture + Urban Studies (CAUS). Second, the invisible college will serve as a pedagogical framework for teaching dynamic Parametricism within appliance architecture. The invisible college will explore the emergent design typologies developed through the PARTeE laboratory's first year and will culminate in the application of the teaching methodologies used for the physical computing workshop.

The following serves to establish the architectural discourse within which 'Appliance Architecture in the Invisible College' is embedded. In the broadest sense, this discourse is that of kinetic architecture. The word 'kinetic' is used to denote motion, or the act or process of changing position of over time, where time is the unit of measurement or relativity. The 'appliance' is defined as any consumer object or assembly with embedded intelligence; it does not shy away from the modern connotation of objects such as a coffee maker, refrigerator or iPod. The appliance as an assembly, therefore, presents a part-to-whole relationship that is understood through GWF Hegel's organic unity, which states: 'everything that exists stands in correlation, and this correlation is the veritable nature of every existence. The existent thing in this way has no being in its own, but only in something else, just as the whole would not be what it is but for the existence of its parts, so the parts would not be what they are but for the existence of the whole' (Leddy, 1991). It is this part-to-whole relationship which provides an understanding of the emergent typologies which structure the foundation for learning within the invisible college.



robotic, responsive, particaportory, interactive, computation, appliance architecture