The art of eco-frames: lessons of innovative eco- fabrication in design studio

Cristian Suau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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This study examines T&L development and implementation of an integrated studio term called 'Vertical Studio' carried out at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) by comparing a sequence of eco-fabrication applied in the design studio. It has recently been granted by the Centre for Education in the Built Environment (CEBE). Through comparative teaching and design methods, this study critically explores the principles of low-tech and high-design carried out in several international workshops led by the author. These cases show how students can rapidly develop key spatial and constructional skills such as: spatial versatility, environmental awareness and collaborative research by doing. Each studio brief consisted of intensive workshops focusing on conceptualisation and fabrication of elementary frameworks by using disused cost-free materials. What is a compact architecture today? What should our design objectives be for a sustainable future? What type of elementary framework should we achieve? For instance, the workshop called 'Nomadic Allotments': built mobile allotments at Borough Market as part of the International Student Architecture Festival in London 2010. Students learnt on agile fabrication, reuse of junk materials and urban gardening’s techniques. We obtained an international prize as the best ‘Recycling Project’. The lesson of these serial of workshops lies on the notion of eco-fabrication applied in undergraduate architectural education. The culture of each workshop is "a learning tool and catalyst for ‘smart’ design decisions by using less and giving more". Each workshop shows how to edifice 'bridges' between praxis and research based on flows of retrospective criticism and prospective visions for encouraging eco-friendly urban environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpportunities, limits and needs
Subtitle of host publicationTowards an environmentally responsible architecture
EditorsJuan Reiser, Cecilia Jiménez, Susana Biondi Antúnez de Mayolo
Place of PublicationLima
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Event28th International PLEA Conference OPPORTUNITIES, LIMITS & NEEDS Towards an environmentally responsible architecture - Lima, Peru
Duration: 7 Nov 20129 Nov 2012


Conference28th International PLEA Conference OPPORTUNITIES, LIMITS & NEEDS Towards an environmentally responsible architecture


  • construction
  • eco-design
  • eco-fabrication
  • low tech design
  • environmental design

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