Thickness is an increasingly elusive condition in architectural design. Alluded to in section, camouflaged in the figure-ground, and presented as a foil in the developable surface drawing, material thickness is an understudied architectural condition.
As a term, thickness does not refer to the actual solidity of a material (as in the standardization of sheet material or thickness of marble), but a conceptual and material problem that sits (literally) at the edge of architectural thinking. The condition of thickness — the necessity of thickness — carries no central import in any era of architectural thinking, but manages to circulate through different modes of architectural production. Its condition is linked to (but is not central to) the history of stereotomy and stone construction; in the emergence of new forms of architectural drawing (developed surface drawing); and in the classic problem of the Doric order. Even in the Modernist obfuscation of solid form, it remains an unavoidable consideration in the Miesian corner and Kiesler’s endless surfaces.
In digital software, thickness is infinitely thin. Its default property is a single line or algorithmic curve. Its “thickness” must be added — it appears as an offset, an extrusion, an enclosed surface — as a mere afterthought. Thickness is a constructive problem as much as it is a representational one. In construction, it’s become synonymous with material offset (due to the predominance of sheet material), as opposite to stereotomy, in which thickness is derived from subtraction and removal of mass. Thickness becomes a tectonic default rather than a techne to be designed.
Thick attempts to expand on the problems of material thickness through the topic of sections, ruins, fragments, constructions, figurations, simultaneity, and representation. Coupled with a public discussion, the exhibition will expand on the problems of material thickness through the topic of sections, ruins, fragments, constructions, figurations, simultaneity, and representation.
Maxi Spina (b. Rosario, Argentina) is the co-founder of Spinagu. He is currently Design Faculty and Applied Studies Faculty at SCI-Arc. He was previously the Maybeck Fellow at UC Berkeley, Lecturer at CCA and Associate Professor at Woodbury. His work has been featured in exhibitions at A+D Museum, Jai & Jai, Wuho Gallery. He received his M.Arch from Princeton University and a B.Arch from National University of Rosario, Argentina.