Studio V – Fall 2012

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Welcome to the CAC.C Studio V blog.  This blog will be updated daily by the students and professor of Studio V as a way to document our design/build process, and keep all those who may be interested in our progress of the semester’s project informed.

STUDIO V focuses on architecture and tectonics, particularly the relationship between design and building. STUDIO V will emulate practice in that, unlike standard academic exercises, students will not always work in isolation on hypothetical situations. We will work often in collaboration. The studio will offer an approach to design informed by how something is assembled and the materials from which it is made. The studio will employ craft in the execution of the work, which will require patience, planning, understanding tolerance in materials and tools, testing and mock-ups, and the working with the limits and capabilities of tools and materials.

This Fall the studio is devoted to the execution of one project- researching, designing, fabricating, and installing something to accompany the artwork of designer Don ZanFanga that the Halsey Gallery at the College of Charleston is featuring in a show entitled the Pulse Dome Project.  The exhibition will feature paintings, models and sketchbooks of ZanFanga. Our clients for this project are, the artist and his family; and Mark Sloan, the director and senior curator of HICA.

Don ZanFanga is an artist, architect, and designer whose lifework both defies established categories and challenges rote notions of the role of the artist in society.  Now in his eighties, ZanFanga retired near Charleston, South Carolina.  His family, at present, is uncovering a vast trove of writings, photographs, artworks, collages, models, and ephemera that the artist amassed over his long work life, much of which will be seen in this exhibition.

Through a remarkable journey of discovery, chronicled in dozens of densely illustrated sketchbooks, ZanFanga became obsessed with the idea of designing a form of sustainable architecture that was in harmony with natural processes – a structure he called the Pulse Dome.  From roughly 1971 through 1995, he researched world indigenous architectures, insect architecture, wombs, and such natural forms as caves, tunnels and volcanoes, along with other structures, to learn what had been done already and what was still likely to be accomplished by others in relation to sustainable human architecture.  Among other lines of inquiry, he investigated Palladio’s notebooks (which were, as we now know, an amalgam of many other architects’ notes) to try to unlock the secrets of the egyptians’ sacred geometric harmonies.


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