Friday, February 29, 2008

Section 4: Material Assemblies

(Click here to download this handout as a PDF)

ARC3016Y Assembling a molecular architecture

Tuesdays 9am – 1pm and 2pm-6pm; Thursdays 2pm-6pm
Adrian Blackwell
Office Hours: By appointment

TERM PROJECT assembling a molecular architecture

SECTION 4 Material assemblies – systems


There are no internal drives in desire, only assemblages. Desire is always assembled; it is what the assemblage determines it to be.
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari – A Thousand Plateaus 229.

The task of philosophy when it creates concepts, entities, is always to extract an event from things and beings, to set up the new event from things and beings, always to give them a new event: space, time, matter, thought, the possible as events.
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari – What is Philosophy? 33.

You are in the process of deciding what to build. You need to build a machine that is driven by the desiring assemblage of the Mount Dennis Community Kitchen, built up from its member’s disparate desires, to grow healthy food, to share meals with others, to strengthen local ecosystems, to protect local wildlife, to mentor children, to share ideas and experiences with elderly residents. At the same time you want to build an architecture that inspires and supports the desires of a wider group of residents, passersby, local shop keepers, employers, renters, home owners and school children, opening up possibilities for the constitution of new and unplanned collective assemblages. This process of assembling desire is complex and delicate; it involves very real virtual and actual forces which must be channeled into a singular artifact.

At the last meeting we decided on many of the following issues, these decisions still leave a very wide margin for design thinking and further decision making.

1. Program: HEALTHY FOOD, the project should be clearly focused around three related programs: a) preparing food, b) eating food, and c) distributing food. In this sense it complements the community gardens in three ways.
a) Preparing food requires a surface at appropriate height and depth, it also may include provisions for water hook-up and waste water, a cooking surface (a barbeque or fuel electric range or oven), garbage and recycling area and storage for tools and supplies.
b) Eating food requires a surface of appropriate height for a large but indeterminate number of people and seating for the same number of people.
c) Food distribution requires a surface of appropriate height for selling food or giving it way. It could also facilitate the transportation of food within Mount Dennis.
All three of these three programs may benefit from shelter, from rain and especially sun as well and a lighting concept. These may be different in each case.

Related assemblages: Emmett Avenue community garden, Carl’s children’s gardening project, food distribution networks such as Meals on Wheels for seniors, Foodshare’s good food box, the existing harvest festival, a possible future farmer’s market.

a) All architecture designed in the studio should be made of materials that are recycled, or even better reused. Consider the objections raised within your experiments so far regarding the signification of recycled materials and consider the way things look.
b) It is essential that the architecture you build is durable, that the materials you use can withstand vandalism, vigorous use, and weather of four seasons: extreme heat and cold, snow, rain, sun, wind and sun.
c) Materials should be chosen for their performative characteristics. What does each material express? How does it modulate different forces?

Related assemblages: ReStore, garbage pick-up nights, salvage yards, Craig’s List.

a) Ease of Construction requires that we consider practical solutions to construction problems. Thinking about the availability of materials, the costs involved in acquiring them, the potentials that they might be donated, and the labour hours involved in putting them together.
b) Ease of Deployment means making the structure(s) easy for a small group of people of different strengths to move while walking, riding a bicycle, or in or behind an automobile. It also needs to be easy for people of different strengths to unpack and assemble any movable structures.

Related assemblages: the studio, community kitchen, gardeners at Emmett avenue, Children at the Oxford Avenue building.

a) Through discussion we have decided that the primary architecture that we will build will have to be mobile, movable by one or more people on foot, bicycle and or automobile. Mobility allows the structure to animate diverse sites in the community and to help to construct situations and events in relation to the assemblage of overlapping community groups in Mount Dennis.
b) Its mobility means that the architecture must be able to engage diverse urban conditions: streets, sidewalks, parking lots, apartment buildings municipal yards, abandoned sites, small parks, large parks, community gardens. Some of these sites are already used by members of the community kitchen, others could use a temporary architecture as an anchor for an event that could help to reconceptualize their function within the neighborhood. Each of these contexts offers specific conditions to respond to and inspire new uses.

Related assemblages: Mount Dennis neighborhood, Eglinton flats, Humber river, Black Creek, Oxford Avenue Apartments, Balla School, Shortcuts, abandoned sites.

According to Situationist Guy Debord a spectacle presents itself for passive contemplation, while the events that this architecture supports have to be seen as participatory, as active not contemplative. The challenge is to imagine how architecture is related to events. How it can contribute to or support the production of meals, festivals, clean-ups, art events, to momentarily involve people in their neighborhood in new ways, in the process allowing for new concepts to be generated which might inspire future events.

Related assemblages: Event Schedule, existing events, community desires.


For the past two weeks you have been testing options for this architecture. You now have to propose a buildable architecture which plugs into different assemblages and ecologies – psychic, social and environmental. Working in groups of three (or four) produce the following:

a) A site plan following up on the green space audit, showing the potential uses and interrelationships of different elements of the neighborhood. Try to think about the relationship between our architectural intervention and the machinic assemblage of the physical site, as well as the relation between the proposal and the collective assemblages of enunciation. Who are we communicating with, and who will speak through and around it?

b) The design of a greenhouse at the Stanchester building on Oxford Avenue or elsewhere in Mount Dennis. Consider the possible sites, in relation to issues of structure, security, water, electricity, convenience in cold and warm weather, plant production and distribution. Include in this section any detailed design for that might be fixed within the site plan proposed in part a).

c) A mobile structure or structures for cooking, eating, and distributing food. For the mobile structure(s) carefully consider their use in terms of their mechanical systems. How do they move? How do they lock up or close down? Consider the duration that the device occupies different sites, and the range of ways it can interact with different sites. Consider how water circulates within the structure.

Consider carefully the affects that can be produced through these architectural designs. How do you produce new qualities with this architecture, in relation to weather, sound? How does this structure frame the city? How do these three elements constitute a singular assemblage?


Monday February 25th:
15 minute meetings with each of you to discuss the term so far.

Tuesday February 26th:
9:00 – 11:00 - Tour of Foodshare premises and a meeting with Ravenna Barker who is one of Foodshare’s urban agriculture specialists. 90 Croatia Street, just off Brock Street south of Bloor (near Dufferin subway station) see the map:
1:00 – 3:00 – pin up and discussion of work over the break, constructing groups of 3 or 4
3:00 – 6:00 – Discussion: Year Zero: Faciality, 167. and 1874: Three Novellas, or "What Happened?” 192

Thursday February 28th:
2:00 – 6:00 – Discussion of the work with small groups

Friday February 29th:
Presentation of diagrams and programs to the Community kitchen - 7-9pm meeting at Mount Dennis United Church. Each group is expected to have presentable materials for all three parts of your design to explain to the community kitchen.

Tuesday March 4th:
9:00 – 1:00 - Review for Part one – Preliminary designs
2:00 – 4:00 - decisions on a clear direction for the project and division of labour for Part 2 – detailed design.
4:00 – 6:00 - Discussion: 1933: Micropolitics and Segmentarity, 208

Thursday March 6th
2:00 – 6:00 – interim pin-up Draft 2

Friday March 7th
Presentation of the project to the Community kitchen - 7-9pm meeting at Mount Dennis United Church. Each student will be expected to have materials describing their section of the project for discussion.

Tuesday March 10th
9:00 – 1:00 – review of part two - Material Assemblies
2:00 – 4:00 - section 5: Assembling a molecular architecture 1:1
4:00 – 6:00 - Discussion: 1730: Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible..., 232.


Part one is due on Tuesday March 4th at 9:00am it should be printed on 3 sheets exactly 24 x 36” (vertical format).

Part two is due on Tuesday March 11th at 9:00am and will involve every student in the class, it should be a collectively produced as an 11 x 17 design document.

Together parts one and two are worth 15% of the term mark.

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