Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10.28.2008 - Munich

Today was a marathon.

First thing in the morning, we visited the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and toured the surrounding district, which included post World War II reconstructed buildings and an art center extension by Coop Himmelblau.

Once returning to TUM, we received a lecture by Prof. Richard Horden on compact design strategies inspired by aviation and industrial engineering. Prof. Horden’s latest work has been the Micro Compact Home, an example of small scale living outfitted for business class lifestyle. Here, he merges elements of high design with what he defines as the four main functions of living – eating, sleeping, working, and hygiene – into a 2.6 meter cube. After the lecture, we visited Prof. Horden’s personal Micro Compact Home in a student village of 10 cubes, where we saw how he practices what he preaches. All nine of us plus Prof. Mack and Prof. Horden fit snugly into the home, with students perched on the countertop, bunk bed, and into the shower area.

Next, we headed to the Allianz Arena, a soccer stadium designed by Herzog and de Meuron. The outer skin is composed of an inflatable ETFE skin that has changing backlighting based upon which team, if any, is playing there that day. The high level of design, from the overall composition all the way down to the details that permitted the inflatable bladders to operate, was highly impressive.

After the Allianz visit, we toured the Olympic Park, home to the Olympic Stadium roof designed by Frei Otto. As students whom have mainly worked in the digital medium, the complex forms created nearly 40 years ago without the use of these tools was staggering. The landscape melded the various venues together and reinforced the undulating form of the steel and Plexiglas roof.

En route, we spotted the Loft Cube by Werner Aisslinger and were able to visit this prefabricated module home.

Finally, we returned to TUM to meet with Prof. Kaufmann, a leader in innovative wood design. He explained the various capabilities of wood technology available today and stressed the benefits of wood construction amongst a predominately precast concrete building culture. Technologies such as cross-laminated timber panels (i.e. KLH), provide the benefits of building stronger fire-retardant wood structures to heights previously unattainable. This lecture was particularly relevant to our studio research as we head to Austria to further explore the benefits of wood construction.

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