Architecture Design Core Studio III — BAJA WINERY: Architecture in the time of drought

Open only to: 
2nd-year MArch students
Required of: 
MArch students

Studio Overview:

In Core 3, the final semester of the MIT graduate core studio sequence, students create and develop an architectural design project that integrates building construction technologies, material logics and climate design considerations. The Core 3 studio works on design problems that engage the space of production and the agency of architecture within the changing cultural spectrum of nature and the built environment. Design exploration, iteration and experimentation linking concept and fabrication across scales are central to the work of the studio.

Fall 2016

In Fall 2017, the Core 3 studio will focus on the architectural design problem of a winery in the Valle de Guadeloupe in Baja, Mexico, a region impacted by drought and climate change.  The studio will travel to the Valle to listen to local voices in winemaking, document sites and research material resources.  Hailed in 2016 as one of the top ten international wine destinations, the Valle de Guadaloupe embodies a longstanding experimental tradition of mixing grape varietals and creating new-world wine hybrids that have flourished in the arid soils of the region’s small vineyards.  The new prominence of the Valle brings a set of questions and competing visons for the scale of proposed future development, the role of architecture and brand in an increasingly global wine industry, and the relationship of public space, tourism and regional identity. Students will have the opportunity to explore the architecture of the winery as a platform for design research that takes a position on these matters of concern. 

Wine making is inextricably embedded in the persistent realities of the Newtonian world. Grapes are heavy, wet and they smell. The plot thickens with the functional imperatives of wine production.  Grapes must be accessed, harvested, moved, crushed, discarded, mixed, fermented and stored within very specific temperature ranges and thermal conditions.  Through digital and analogue analysis, detailed architectural drawings and the fabrication of large-scale models and architectural prototypes, the work of the studio will unfold in a non-linear, iterative design process of ideation, testing and discovery. 

Integration of Design & Building Technology

The Core 3 studio is co-taught with the MIT Building Technology 4.463 class which focuses on the selection, behavior and performance of advanced structural systems and architectural envelope assemblies. In parallel with their studio design work, students develop a carbon argument supporting their choice of building materials and construction systems and investigate how technical and design considerations of structure, enclosure, daylighting, ventilation and climate design are synthesized in an architectural design concept that is coordinated across scales. 

In Core 3, architecture students collaborate with their engineering graduate student peers and consult with visiting structural, civil and climate engineers over the course of the semester. Special guests in history and theory, the winemaking industry, critics in architecture, water conservation and specialized building industry fabricators will contribute to the discussion.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the Core 3 studio, students should be able to translate spatial, material and programmatic ideas into a comprehensive and well developed architectural proposal that reflects an understanding of the relationships between design intention, site orientation and climate strategy, building form and program organization, architectural enclosure and structural principles. Students should demonstrate a thorough control of architectural organization in plan, section and elevation and an understanding off fundamental egress, accessibility and life safety considerations.  Students should be able to move fluidly between analogue and digital design tools in a process of sustained, consistent design research that explores and verifies the spatial, aesthetic and performance attributes of their design proposals.

Grading Rubric:

Core 3 grades will be assessed based upon the following criteria:

  • Quality of design and development of the Baja Winery project at regional, site, building and detail scales
  • Ability to integrate material structural, climate and architectural design strategies
  • Ability to explore design options in a consistent, sustained and iterative design process
  • Ability to consistently complete required deliverables at pin-ups and reviews
  • Auto-critical capability: the student’s capacity to critique and advance her/his own work 
  • Overall collaboration, work effort and progress in studio work