Construction Matters examines the way that architects understand and respond to technological innovation through the creation of new types of spaces, and the materials through which an architectural idea finds its physical realization. Understanding the properties of different materials is indispensable for the creation of architecture that is original, powerful, and meaningful.
Organized into chapters on the major methods of construction–masonry, concrete, steel, and wood–Construction Matters examines specific technologies that experienced major transformations in the last century, or were newly invented: a new material, jointing technique, or fabrication procedure for example. The architectural application of this invention is then analyzed with building case studies that are selected based on an obvious formal relationship between the building’s form and the new type of construction that it incorporates–ranging from prewar designs in the United States and Europe to recent projects in Asia and includes built projects as well as significant design proposals.
Construction Matters develops a way of thinking about architecture in relation to technology that transcends a particular building method or design task. The architect and educator Georg Windeck conducted independent research that ranges from scientific advancements to philosophical contemplations. The multi-facetted discussion that emerges from this work is developed in close collaboration with artist and journalist Lisa Larson Walker, with mathematician and architect Will Shapiro, and with artist and architect Sean Gaffney. If we are to rescue the physical substance of architecture–the Matter of Construction–and create a practice that celebrates both the physical and the metaphysical aspects of building, we must understand how and why construction matters.
Georg Windeck is an architect, educator, and researcher. He is licensed in Berlin and New York, and his broad range of activities also includes urban planning and historic preservation. He received his Diplom-Ingenieur in Architecture with distinction at the Technische Universitӓt Berlin and also studied sculpture at the Hochschule der Künste. Windeck is an Associate Professor at The Cooper Union, and also teaches at the School of Visual Arts, New York.
Lisa Larson-Walker is a visual artist, writer, and photo editor. She has worked at Newsweek, the Daily Beast, and Slate. She is an alumna of The School of Art of The Cooper Union, currently living in Brooklyn.
Sean Gaffney is an architectural designer living and working in New York. He is a graduate of The Cooper Union, where he received a Menschel Grant for his thesis project and is now a visiting critic.
Will Shapiro received his Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union. Recently he developed modeling software that allows users to understand how the structures they design react to forces in real time.