Exploring Material Ethics

A progress review in Patrick’s 4th year studio at the DIT. Patrick, Shannon, and Connor are clearly captivated by this student’s presentation.

I asked the architecture students to tell me what interested them most from the lecture on Materials that I gave today in the studio coordinated by Patrick Flynn.  They said Dave Chance’s images!

I’d been asked to talk about materials in a way that would help students with designing schools.  So I started by downloading pages from Dave’s website.  He travels the world photographing materials in relation to light.

To prepare for this lecture I also attended a review of the class’s proposed designs last Friday.  Patrick invited me as a guest critic, but my primary goal was to find out how I could tailor today’s presentation to their needs and interests.

A slide using Dave Chance’s photograph from the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy. (Copyright Dave Chance Photography.)

I decided to present my thoughts using: (1) Dave’s images to provide inspiration and (2) images of schools as a tool for conveying more pragmatic content.

I structured the talk around themes of Material Ethics, Teaching Capacity of materials, the need to Generate Knowledge regarding materials, Authenticity, and Sustainability.  I titled it “How an Architect’s Material Palette Can Enhance Student Learning” with the subheading “Cultivating an Ethics of Materiality.”

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