A New Design Methodology that conceives Space as abscence

MAY 2014
cast Sspace Book, Published by SpaceTime, Seoul
Architectural Design follows methods, students will constantly hear their design professors and tutors discussing the word methodology of design, however even if the tools of design are rapidly changing and evolving, design methodology seems caught in a hiatus- a status of near paralysis.
Let me elucidate on the prevailing current methodology.  At the beginning of the architectural project you have the concept (a word commonly abused by students to their advantage), the formulation of idea/s which are typically translated into abstract models or sometimes abstract drawings. 
These abstractions are in turn translated by the application of a functional and program coefficients into massing models, which are subsequently analyzed to extract an architectural realm which is where, with only three transformations down the line, for the first time the student or designer enters into a discussion about space.
This book is an exercise to subvert this traditional approach and directly engage students with space from the conception of the project.  The question then becomes how do you encourage students to discuss, debate and design spaces directly without following the conventional steps. 
You have to take the student outside their comfort zone, purge their knowledge of all preconceived conceptions of what space is and commence a empirical journey.  This is done through the process of “Casting” an ancient but incredibly intellectual method of formulating space. 
Space is no longer a product of arranging walls, but space becomes a byproduct of the designing a mould.  Design Professors don’t only have a role to teach students how to design but they must also ask questions about what and why we design.  The following book is an account of such an experiment, conducted at Seoul National University with Second year students in their second semesters.
I am often asked how do you manage to both teach and design with the same intensity, the reason is that I believe Design/Practice are intrinsically connected, one needs the other to survive, and there is no better demonstration of the passion and commitment young designers posses that this book.  10 young students believing whole heartedly in anew design methodology; the results I believe speak for themselves and can be here appreciated by all.

Creating space by thinking of absence, this year’s second year students are creating a spiritual retreat on Jangbongdo Island.  In the first half of the semester they conceived a set of spaces in abstract: no scale, no function- a simple translation of a concept into physical space.

The island site then becomes the scene for the insertion of their spatial experiments into to the landscape, where space is bestowed with function and order. The process is conducted following one material, white plaster, allowing the students to focus exclusively on the architectural content and not get lost in representational tricks.

Students have been captivated by the process; they have developed a passion towards manipulating plastic spaces, towards creating spiritual atmospheres.  Rather than limit their design, ONE MATERIAL > ONE PROCESS has charged their imagination.  Spaces are no longer planned in abstract- Diagram/Plan/Model rather they are constructed by moulds and frames to capture the absent.
Text by Peter W. Ferretto
CUHK M1-2015
CUHK U3-2014
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