Periphery at the Center - Everything but the Building
Charest, Robert Michel
Lucas, Patrick Lee
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What are we building, where is the site and when do we start? Questions usually at the forefront when speaking of design-build. At our department, making is making a really strong comeback. Product, exhibits and even buildings are "going-up" full size. I can hardly remember why we once insisted on only drawing things. Design-build projects are laborious in a way that has little to do with wielding a hammer or pouring concrete. The studio instructor preparing a design-build syllabus must broker a deal, find an interested community partner [a.k.a. an academically conflict of interest free client], secure a viable site, obtain funding, prepare legal agreements, etc. During the project, the same instructor must act as project manager, contractor, lead designer, safety officer, site supervisor and master craftsman. Beyond the project, he/she must ensure--on time/on budget--completion, reconcile expenses and handle "after sale calls". The intended paper will be a grand narrative fleshing out three recent and current high-stakes design-build efforts at our school. By constructing a timeline of events, the authors plan to emphasize the magnitude of a project's periphery. The three [un]featured design build projects are, an inner-city replacement home, a city-wide postmortem retrospective exhibit for a pivotal modernist architect and a home for underage mothers. We are not promoting the "real world" over academic idealism--this would be hypocritical since our projects always unfold within a curricular framework. We are stating the paramount importance of ancillary work and its direct impact on the outcome of design.