DesignBlock Lecture Series

Standing behind a collection of models spanning six tables in length, respected architect and educator Andrew King presented his “Manifesto for the Model” at the Design Innovation Garage (DIG) in Buffalo on Thursday, May 26th.

King’s presentation is one of many hosted by Design Block, a grassroots organization that provides an open dialogue for the discussion of design through bi-monthly meetings. DesignBlock board member and CannonDesign principal Michael Tunkey served as host and moderator of the event.

King, a CannonDesigner in the Toronto office and a visiting academic critic in Canada and abroad, explored the importance of materiality in the design process. On display were a handful of academic buildings, homes, and the highly anticipated Centre hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (CHUM) currently under construction.

Michael Tunkey introducing the DesignBlock Lecture Series speakers.
Despite the prevalence of digital modeling and graphics, King still views physical modeling as an integral part of the design process. When asked about the future of modeling, King underscored the shortcomings current digital models have when delivering an idea or concept, such as during the interaction between client and designer.  King says,

When you show up with this sort of physical material, it’s a different conversation, for sure, than a conversation where you’re talking about things on the screen.

Andrew King setting up models

Additional benefits of modeling include recognizing how materials react with one another through frictions and extensions. King can get a true feel for scale and proportionality when he builds physical models. King also sees value in bridging the physicality of an architect’s end product into the design phase.

Preceding King’s lecture was a presentation by Martha Bohm, Assistant Professor of teaching design, ecological practices, sustainability and environmental systems at the University at Buffalo. Bohm spoke about the University’s participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon competition.

U.B.’s GRoW home, of which CannonDesign is a proud sponsor, will compete against 16 other schools to “design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.” The home will travel over 2,500 miles from Buffalo to the competition site in Irvine, California in October.