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Making Site Matter: Expanding the Field of Architectural Technology

Globalization and the spread of modernism have led to what critics have described as a decline of site specificity in architecture and a standardization of the built environment.

Published onOct 24, 2019
Making Site Matter: Expanding the Field of Architectural Technology
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Abstract

Globalization and the spread of modernism have led to what critics have described as a standardization of the built environment. As architects have turned their attention back to site in recent decades a significant discourse surrounding its potential as a generative concern in the production of architecture has emerged.

Despite this recovery, the integration of site into architectural practice remains a work in progress. The stalled progress is no doubt related to a tentative engagement with site in architectural education. Through an assessment of our curriculum at Cal Poly we have found that by not addressing it explicitly in our coursework, we leave site outside the domain of architecture and excluded from meaningful design authorship.

In an effort to construct a broad framework for site matters within our curriculum, we have discovered potential in incorporating site into Architectural Technology Fundamentals courses. To do so we have reorganized these courses into three study areas: Site and Contextual Systems, Materials and Construction Systems, and Energy and Environmental Systems. Since site is in constant dialogue with each of these within the built environment, we find value in presenting it to students in the same interconnected way. This paper discusses our rationale and methods for incorporating site into architectural technology courses.

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