Posts in Making
Material Space
 
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Inhabit: to live or dwell in a place; to exist or be situated within.

Architecture’s ability to mediate experience has historically been tied to the inherent qualities of material form and function.  Digital media and new forms of visualization increasingly dominate our daily experiences, and what we experience as real is no longer just physical sensations. We become situated in an environment that is no longer material, and it rather exists as hybrid space apart from cognition and tangible experience. What is the role of formal architecture in supporting interactions in non-material space? What potential or operative qualities exist to enhance interpersonal interactions?  As immaterial stimuli overlay experiential space, what leverage do we have as designers to improve our surrounding environment and heighten our connections to each other and improve our shared experience?

design process

design process

“We become situated in an environment that is no longer material. This environment rather exists as hybrid space apart from cognition and tangible experience.” 

An installation in our studio allowed us the opportunity to formally explore an environment’s ability to change awareness and challenge the relationship between material and immaterial (it was also a great reason to invite friends over and have a party).  The exploration began with a daylight study that generated a form with data sets specific to the time of day and the narrowness of the space.

3d model of the space

3d model of the space

cut diagram

cut diagram

installation timelapse

installation timelapse

The surface undulates and conforms to the space reacting to activity zones, access points and the shade and shadow created by windows and skylights. The surface was divided into 64 labeled panels which were laser cut and installed. On the night of the event, the assembled form provided a surface for mapping texture, information, wayfinding in a way that altered visual relationships and allowed the space to be experienced in multiple ways.

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Although we no longer have vibrant graphics or natural images projected on the canopy, it still suspends from our ceiling, and continues to be a topic of conversation.

 
TECHNE in 25: INTRO
 
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It’s hard to believe, but 2019 marks the 25th year of TECHNE. We have so much to be grateful for and so many exciting things to look forward to in the future.  Over the next several months we will be sharing TECHNE history, including an interview with our founder, projects that shaped the office, commentary from TECHNE alum, and inside stories from our current team as we approach our anniversary on August 15th.  (FUN FACT:  Three former employees share the same birthday with the office’s anniversary.  What are the chances?)  For now, we hope you enjoy a few photos of our last 25 years.    

 

Stay tuned! 

 
Hawken Brown Gym Innovation Lab
 

Hawken School approached us somewhat timidly with a need - “We would like to make a place of innovation where students will explore complex ill defined problems and engage in non-sequential iterative processes to solve essential questions” - a perfectly terrifying start to a Monday. Fortunately, we have been working for the last ten years with a variety of clients implementing places of innovation that allow students to develop skills in brainstorming, exploration, critical thinking and collaboration. The opportunity for students to define a problem, organize a solution, prototype, test, fail and repeat are critical 21st century skills and develops resilience and leads to true innovation.

 
 

“We would like to make a place of innovation where students would explore complex ill defined problems and engage in non-sequential iterative processes to solve essential questions”

 
 
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Similar challenges were encountered by our design team—the space the client had in mind was an underutilized 1930’s era brick walled gymnasium. Our team met with educators and students in a series of discussions and sketch exercises to develop a set of design criteria focused on designing a learning environment that would engage students and foster a culture of playful but rigorous problem solving. The main activities required were a place to prototype, a place to collaborate, and a place for the students to present their ideas - definitely more program than the gym was able to support. The design team utilized the height of the gym, adding a mezzanine to create the collaboration and ideation area overlooking the fabrication and making equipment. studioTECHNE supported school leadership in the development of the project through open communication, developing inspirational drawings and images of the space that effectively conveyed the schools vision to their donors and the school community. The completed Innovation Lab met the curriculum + educational goals of the school,  and students are excitedly engaged in hands-on learning and making.

 
 
 

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5 Crucial Things to Know Before Entering ‘Plant Parenthood’

A quick search through #plantgang or #houseplantclub on social media reveals thousands of rooms converted to indoor forests. A walk through any home building store or farmer’s market (locally the Lakewood Plant Company at the Cleveland Flea) is an enchanting stroll past racks of succulents, cacti, and tropical plants ripe for wilding your habitat. Before making that purchase, you should understand how to keep your plant healthy. Choosing the best plant for you and your space isn’t all that complicated so here are 5 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND when converting your urban desert into a peaceful green oasis:

 

1. Not All Plants Are Created Equal

Some need direct light for 6+ hours, others thrive in indirect light. Take note of lighting available in your space. If you have access to southern windows, succulents and cacti would be a good choice. If your main source of light is a light fixture from above, you can’t go wrong with ferns or low light plants like pothos.

2. Who Will Maintain the Plant?

Without even a little maintenance, all plants will die. Whether it’s a personal plant, office plant, or an entire living wall, determine who is responsible for their care. Ensure they’re getting the water they need and are tended to if bugs or mold arises. For the low-maintenance lovers, try the best low maintenance plant – Snake Plant.

3. The Succulent Myth

Succulents are marketed as low maintenance, easy-care plants, but have a lot of demands to be able to thrive indoors. This includes bright, direct sunlight, and not over watering. If you see your plant dramatically stretching, don’t be fooled – it’s not growing quickly, it needs more sunlight. It’s attempting to stretch towards the sun. For watering – water your plant at the base. The amount of water varies per plant/pot. If you have a drainage hole, water plant thoroughly until water runs out of the bottom for about 2 seconds. If there is no drainage, only water with about a tablespoon. For both, watering every other week is plenty. Forgiving Succulents include: Jade Plant or Echeveria Firestorm.

4. Know Your Audience

Will any one be bothered by the type of plant you’ve chosen to adorn your space with? This is especially true for plants that are producing pollen or have fragrance, or pets that could get sick from eating the plant. Some people may have allergies to your selected plant, or don’t share the same affinity for plants. Check with your neighbor and see what plants could work for you both.

5. Resilience and Patience!

Plants, in general, are incredibly resilient. You can do them wrong and they will forgive you time and time again. If you have a plant that isn’t responding to its current environment in the way that you’d like, try adjusting the location, watering schedule, humidity and draft exposure. No matter the situation, there’s a plant for everyone and every space. 

Following the recommendations in this guide will make sure your plants thrive.
Now, where do I get one of those “Plant Lady” shirts?

Learn more from our resident Plant Guru by following her on instagram @MyOnlyChildren

Below the STUDIO w/ Fergist

Our studio is known for its exceedingly treacherous spiral staircase; complete with a landing that makes high heel shoes a questionable choice each morning. That staircase leads you to our materials library and our ‘speakeasy’ lounge, but you will also find a sawdust-filled room of equipment. Welders, tables saws, a bandsaw, and some hand planes fuel our compulsion to craft and build.

As architects, using the shop for both personal weekend projects and some of our largest design projects, we learn the language of our industry from both sides of the table. Now is a great opportunity for anyone to pick up and appreciate a craft, and allow their ability to fill the missing gaps in the industry. As designers, we should inspire future generations that knowledge in building process is both strengthened and branded by the history of craftsmanship in our rust-belt town . Coming from a millennial, many may scoff at this argument promoting labor-intensive craftsmanship in a field saturated with tradesman looking for the quickest buck. Craftsmanship doesn’t necessarily mean “hand-made”. Instead, it references a conscious effort and understanding in an industry that is able to produce high-quality, custom-made products utilizing current and changing technology.

At studioTECHNE|architects, we understand the limitations and benefits of technology, methods, materials, and design. We also encourage the conversation between craftsmen and architects, and with our workshop, the studio continues to be bilingual. We efficiently illustrate our designs, implement accumulated knowledge and responsibly think from the builder’s perspective. Our efforts are focused on passing along this history Below of craftsmanship through design and architecture. 

Before selecting your next architect, maybe ask, “What’s below your studio?”

TECHNE: the art of making

Tékʰnɛ is the the rational method followed in artistic making.

studioTECHNE is a firm founded on the idea that places matter and support the ability of people to positively interact and develop authentic relationships. We are a passionate group of makers + problem solvers who apply creativity and strategic analysis to invent spaces that are dynamic and foster a culture of collaboration + innovation.

What is tékʰnɛ?

It is our collective intelligence, a set of principles that shape our designs and makes them recognizable to our clients through materiality, comfort, and the use of daylight to animate the places in which we dwell.  We design for people and the ethos of shared values and collective cooperation; using our systemic knowledge to define transformative actions allowing constructive and meaningful interactions.

Our Work

Our work is focused, and process driven guided by a set of principles developed during our founding project - a masterplan and dining hall for a Romanian Orthodox Monastery in central Michigan. If we weren’t anxious enough after meeting the two priests and ten nuns (only one of whom spoke English) of the monastery; after a three-hour mass, we were introduced to 600 of their donors as the architects (or as the Abbess affectionately referred to us “the boys”) entrusted to guide them in the development of their monastic community. Were we ready for this challenge?

After a day spent eating, meeting donors from Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, walking the grounds reviewing the existing buildings, and more eating, they packed us into our car with more homemade food and bread than we could ever imagine eating. Many thoughts reverberated through our minds on the long drive to Cleveland - How will we manage the language barrier? How will we understand who they are? Define what they need?Convey ideas in a meaningful way?  Will artful making (tékʰnɛ) result in a design that supports their community, be rooted in hundreds of years of monastic traditions, but transcend time?

In developing a design response, we immersed ourselves in the monastery’s daily rituals.  We studied their history and traditions to ensure every design intention was experienced as meaningful and directly supported their ideal that “every act is a prayer. ”Having developed the basic design concepts, we went to the monastery to present our ideas – concepts of shared experience and community.  In the middle of the presentation, the nuns interrupted us (if we learned anything, do not to interrupt a nun) and began excitedly talking in Romanian to the 60 people gathered, they took over and finished making our presentation. Our process was successful, we transcended the language barrier. Our drawings, models, and concepts were so clear the nuns understood them, took ownership of the design and embraced it as uniquely theirs.

24 years later

Tékʰnɛ continues to be the foundation upon which we build relationships with our clients.  It allows us to develop a comprehensive understanding of each project through which we authentically collaborate with our clients to reinforce their culture, improve their personal interactions and create unique environments specific to their goals.