Published July 18, 2017
A boat is a vessel for transport by water - constructed to provide buoyancy by excluding water and shaped to give stability and permit propulsion. Throughout history boats have been instrumental in the development of civilization, affording humanity greater mobility than travel over land, whether for trade, transport, warfare, and the capacity for fishing.
The earliest vessels are presumed to have been dugout canoes, developed independently by various Stone Age populations, and utilized for coastal fishing and travel. What began as simply carving out of a large tree quickly transformed into an entire trade-craft and one of the earliest branches of engineering (and thus architecture). Deceptively simple yet finely crafted, boats are often curvaceous geometries that integrate structural framing systems with planar enclosure systems. They demand a strong relationship between structure, skin, and performance and are capable of operating in severe environmental conditions. 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. Thus, 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. [Junior Studio Team]