Advanced Construction students were challenged
this year to design and fabricate a sunscreen to prevent the
entrance of excessive sunlight through the windows of the U2
Situated on the first floor of the
Macdonald-Harrington building, the U2 studio room is
oriented southwest and thus, suffers from excessive sun
radiance from early afternoon until sunset. During the
winter months, while the sun is at a lower incidence angle,
glare and excessive light is the main concern. From April
onwards, students suffer as well from excessive heat from
the sunrays entering the room through the clear glass.
U2 students usually fabricate their own devices
to overcome these problems. These consist on large pieces of
cardboard, which are rudimentary installed on the window
frames. While this solution prevents the entrance of
sunlight, it is obviously not very successful in
ensuring a comfortable light balance in the room. Could
MArch students help their second year peers to find a better
solution? An innovative solution that works in all seasons,
capable of eliminating the disadvantages of a southwest
facing room, without compromising its advantages?
A total of six different proposals were
presented by MArch students last December 2012. Each of them
included a physical prototype designed and built by Advanced
Construction students. The fabrication of the physical
prototypes was funded in its entirety by the Sustainability
Projects Fund from the Office of Sustainability of McGill
Final Projects 2011-2012
Kyle Burrows, Thomas Evans, Chana Haouzi, Jonathan
Gougen-Manning, Francis Ng, Keith Thomas.
of the course is to provide knowledge and expertise to
develop complex architectural structures from conceptual
design to fabrication using advanced technologies for
modelling and simulation.
• Understand the behaviour of
any given structuralsystem
• Identify the main forcepaths
and the nature of the force
(compression, tension, shear, bending)
• Understand material choice, use
and distribution within the structural system.
• Appreciate how the form and geometry
in a structure should be the result of the forces
acting upon the material.
• Finally, demonstrate critical and technical analysis
in the conception of structural systems
• Demonstrate abilities to apply critical and
technical analysis to historical modes
• Be able to connect this analysis
and relate them to manufacturing processes and
• Approach design and production as reciprocal
methods of project development rather than as successive
stages of a project.
Identify how computational tools can facilitate the
liaison between the design and construction phases, and
be able to employ them.
• Ability to present and communicateresearchfindings
individually and as part of a group.
• Acquire skills to contribute to interdisciplinaryprofessionalteams.
The course is structured in three main parts: Design
Material Lectures, Fabrication
Tutorials and a FinalProject.
Design & Material Lectures: These
lectures study a number of case studies representing
different structural typologies focusing on the logics
between structure, form and material in all types of
constructions. One of these typologies is later on
followed by a lecture and a series of tutorials
dedicated to build up a physical model of a
representative example using Rhinoceros &
Tools and Fabrication Tutorials: These
the skills necessary to model the structural system
studied in the case studies. Prior to these lectures,
additional tutorials will be provided: during the first
(Vbscript) and second (Grasshopper) weeks of the course.
Following these tutorials students will explore laser
cutting and/or CNC-milling as forms of design output,
pursuing an opportunity to work directly with advanced
design technologies reproducing one of the digital
models previously prepared in the series of tutorials
described above. As part of an assignment students will
fabricate a scaled model using laser cutting/CNC
milling. This will help students to familiarise
themselves with the tools available in the prototyping
Final Project: This final phase of
the course consists on the development of a structural
system from design to fabrication and construction of a
real scale prototype in groups.