Text by Associate Professor Tyler Sprague
The spring quarter has brought the unprecedented challenge of teaching studio completely online. The Barry Onouye Endowed Studio annually highlights the intersection of architecture and structural engineering by constructing a pavilion-scale structure. This year, visiting chair Mitsuhiro Kanada and I were challenged to ensure each student could work effectively, and keep the hands-on, material/structural focus – despite limited contact and resources.
For our first exercise, each student was requested to make a phone/ camera-holding stand to allow for sharing sketches, active hand drawing, models and other physical objects. The design should suspend a camera above a flat desk surface. By linking this camera into a Zoom account, students will be able to share their physical work during desk crits.
This camera stand took a variety of forms, made of the material readily-available to the students (cardboard, wood, recycling, books, driftwood, string, etc.) With weight to the camera and the need to move freely underneath, the objective was inherently structural. Students had to choose – often intuitively – a structural strategy that matched their materials and specific space.
This exercise encouraged students to establish their ‘studio desk’ in their personal spaces for the quarter. It also helped them consider how they will be working during the quarter, and then design an apparatus to assist them in this altered work environment.