Class Assignment - Montana State - Snow Typology

SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE                               MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY Spring 2007

Architecture 551,552,553 Jim Blake – Instructor                                                                               January, 18, 2007

Project:  Bozeman Art Center – “A Tale of Two Modernisms”

A Typology / Topology of Snow

During the initial design phase of the Denver Art Museum Daniel Liebskind said that this explosive form was inspired by the Rocky Mountains.  Direct analogs to nature (raindrops, snowflakes, rolling hills, breaking waves, rocky mountains)  while rare, are a source of formal invention for buildings.  It has been more conventional in great architecture to use nature as an inspiration for abstract ordering systems and expressions at least once removed from natural form rather than using nature as a direct superficial reference.  The rigors of crystalline form in the work of Mies, The “organic” asymmetries of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the poetry of clay as brick in the work of Louis Kahn.

We are now surrounded by snow and ice, a wonderland of form, a treasury of nature’s invention. Although our snow is no longer new it still reveals a wealth of topological conditions.  I have sketched a few of the obvious.  Your assignment is to identify via photo, sketch, and diagram ten conditions:  five for ice and five for snow that are distinct from each other and when diagrammed might inform the geometry of a building plan, structure, enclosure system or the base page design / layout of your required notebook.

To do:

Create a base page that will be used to paste up salient images illustrating your research, design process and design product in an 8-1/2” x 11” format with a 1” free left edge for binding.  Your snow and ice explorations will form the initial pages of this notebook.  Remember, your notebooks will be turned in long after the snow has melted.  The level of abstraction of your motif might reflect this.

Reading List  (MSU Bookstore):

Kuhn, Thomas – The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Bloom, Harold – The Anxiety of Influence