ARC 301: Tectonics of Buoyancy

A crowded urban poor area located on the water.

The studio will begin with the construction of buoyant vessels which will be floated at Gallagher Beach and raced as part of an annual regatta. As an instrument, they are ideal objects from which to investigate many fundamental questions that pertain to the tectonics of architecture – space and geometry, structure and skin, form and function, material and construction, etc. As an introduction to a semester-long pedagogy focused on tectonics, students will work collaboratively to design, fabricate, and float a 1:1 wooden vessel.

To examine the relationship between tectonics and water further, each student will propose a 10,000SF River-Station that reintegrates people and water along the shoreline of the Erie Canal. The main objective of the building will be to provide a means to access the water’s edge by a range of user groups (students, teachers, historians, scientists, researchers, and tourists for example). Given the public and educational focus of the building, users of the space may fluctuate from day-to-day and the number and age of occupants may also fluctuate from day-to-day. Thus, the building is meant to function as a multi-use facility where spatial and programmatic flexibility is essential.

As a culmination to this investigation, students will construct large wooden models (1/4" = 1'-0") that deeply investigate issues pertaining to materials, structure and enclosure. These models, in a similar capacity to our initial experiments with buoyancy vessels, will be designed to 'float' in and off of the large steel water basins that together create a scaled representation of the Erie Canal. 


Christopher Romano, assistant professor of architecture, explores the relationship between design, construction and the contemporary culture of building by leveraging regional manufacturing and material processes.
Adjunct Instructor - 2019/2020 Banham Fellow - Department of Architecture   - Crosby Hall 323
Randy Fernando is an emerging designer and artist, focusing on work that synergizes neuroscience, sociological behavior, and architecture.
Adjunct Instructor - Department of Architecture  - (716) 829-5913 - Hayes Hall 124
Adjunct Instructor - Department of Architecture - Hayes Hall 124 - (716) 829-5913