A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Architecture / Interior Architecture Graduate Studio 2: Thick Skins

AIADO 5120 001
Faculty: Thomas Kong

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Loop Post Office in Chicago provides an exemplary building for the study of skins in architecture. The building’s large steel beams painted matte black are separated from the non-load bearing exterior walls, which are full height glass and stretched along four sides of the building. The walls are broken up only by the steel I-beam mullions. The glass façade reduces the perception of weight while accentuating the building’s transparency. Its materiality alludes to the thin, light and diaphanous qualities that one would associate with skins. The separation of the load-bearing structure and the non-load bearing enclosure affords enormous freedom for the exploration of architectural space in the 20th century. The building skin becomes a surface opened to investigations through the various strategies of material, perception, temporal and programmatic thickenings.