Associate Professor at Woodbury School of Architecture, Heather Flood, presented a paper titled ‘From 1:1 to 31:31, or, How to Leverage the Laws of Exponential Growth in Architectural Education’ at the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student 2016. The conference was held from February 25-27, 2016, at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California. Flood’s paper critically positioned and presented the work of the 1A Studio at Woodbury School of Architecture from Fall 2015.
About the paper: A pedagogy that leverages exponential growth
Exponential growth suggests that things develop at an increasingly rapid rate in proportion to a growing number in size. This paper advocates for a pedagogy that leverages exponential growth for skill set acquisition in the foundation year of an architectural education. This position is in response to a simple observation: that there is a direct correlation between the collective effort of the studio and each individual student’s capacity for learning. In other words, the amount of knowledge that a student gets out of the foundation year is not simply a measure of how much effort they put into the foundation year, rather, it’s a measure of how much effort all of their classmates combined put into the foundation year.
About the 1A Studio: Encyclopedia of Form
The 1A studio was taught by Heather Flood, Anali Gharakhani, and Jason King at Woodbury University’s School of Architecture in the fall of 2015. Students engaged in a series of design exercises that leveraged repetition and collective action to build a wide range of technical and conceptual skill in a short period of time. Specifically, students were asked to transform a cube using a variety of tools and then to critically interrogate the results of their transformations. There were 32 students in the class. Each student produced nine iterations for a total of 288 models that culminated in an installation titled ‘Encyclopedia of Form’.
Through the process of transformation, students were introduced to wide range of software and hardware including Rhino, Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, laser cutters, hand cutters, table saws, and orbital sanders. Students were also introduced to a wide range of concepts including massing, figuration, organization, aperture, programming, circulation, and enclosure.