This semester of architecture school I had to take Construction Systems with Pat Rand – it’s the class where you learn all the nit-picky details about how to put a building together. The details are an interesting part of architecture because they are at first glance wholly unrelated to the overall scheme but actually are essential to understanding the tectonic nature of the design.
One of the most prominent things to come out of my experience this semester is a love affair with brick. Yes, I go to NC State where everything (even the ground!) is brick, but now that I have drawn details of brick cavity walls over and over I just find them fascinating from a technical and tactile point of view. Part of this learning experience was a group project to hypothetically design the facade for Mason Association building.
The goal was to push brick to it’s limit and show off the advancements of 21st century masonry. We decided that if the primary characteristic of brick is heavy and solid then we would use new bricklaying techniques to combine traditional brick with glass block to make a thin and perforated shading wall for the facade of the building. This essentially gave our building two masonry facades (you can see them layered in elevation with different brick patterns) so that you can uniquely see both sides of the load bearing masonry cavity wall.
The result – other than the awesome model seen below – is that our team won 4th place amongst our classmates. Thanks Pat!