Immersion | Sonoma Coast-School of Architecture - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Immersion | Sonoma Coast

14-21 August


What does it mean to design for a specific place?

What is embedded in the term “Contextually Responsive Design”?

Is this an empty phrase to be tossed in the scrap pile alongside “appropriate design”, “sustainable”, and “green”, Or can it serve as a more specific guide for action? What are the ramifications of the term for building performance, or material conservation and use, or for construction methodologies, site selection, or orientation? Equally important to consider, what does contextually responsive design say about patterns of habitation and navigation?

What does it mean to create architecture, and an experience of architecture, that is intrinsically connected to and inseparable from its site?

These are the central questions we will begin with, and hope to address during the IMMERSION.

Through direct investigation, formal discussion, and intensive experimentation, we will try to carve a new way of understanding and responding to the context.


The format for the course will be an mixture of tours, site visits, studio work, lectures and critique. Students and tutors will live and work on-site for the week, sleeping, meeting and eating in the Sea Ranch Lodge. We have an agreement with the lodge to limit the program to 14 students, which we feel will have the benefit of forming a closer group for the course, as well as enhancing the level of direct student-tutor interaction.

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