‘Exploring Space’ is a recurrent graduate design studio at the University of BC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture run by Tony Robins. It provides an in-depth look at one of the fundamental aspects of architecture: the creation of space through the design of its 'envelope'. Over 30 impacting devices for forming effectual space are explored, including light, time, scale, sequence, volumetric geometry, sound, colour, theory, semiotics, history, staging/perception, site and cultural contexts, as well as the envelope’s form, apertures, mass, tactility, tectonics, construction process, and materiality.
Students analyze and discuss space, learning from notable sculptural and architectural precedent studies, during which models are built abstracting the discovered spatial techniques. Understandings of space in other mediums and in other cultures are also sought, and insights tested in the abstract. One brief, full scale, installation is done in groups. There is an emphasis on producing physical (not just digital) models and the modeling of details, sometimes with real materials at full scale. Important lines of enquiry such as sustainability, urban design, social and planning issues, as well as the design of large buildings, are all essentially put aside for the course to focus on possible atmospheres within and surrounding a single space. Students leave with a tool kit of spatial techniques, and experience of testing and using them, that hopefully will benefit them throughout their careers.
“The history of architecture is essentially the history of man shaping space.”
Nikolaus Pevsner. ” An Outline of European Architecture.” 1943