Mick Kennedy + Kit Krankel McCullough The Economy of Craft

An Economy of Means: Reframing Construction

This studio proposes a re-emphasis on Craft—design, material deployment, and detail — in antithesis to mass production. Rather than rely on an economy of scale, Craft operates at the local scale, affording an economy of means. It is a scale that allows the average Detroiter to invest their own capital and labor, and reap the value that is created. Well-crafted housing can become a catalyst for a new urban and social dynamic while helping to build local skills, trades and wealth. We can design buildings that deploy economical construction systems and employ Craft to create homes that are attainable, provide work that is fulfilling, and create communities that are healthy and mutually supportive.

An Economy of Scale: Refocusing Design Expression

The studio focused on smaller scale housing typologies: townhouses, rowhouses, terraced housing, courtyard housing, urban villas. A focus on the design of smaller scale components allows the integration of higher levels of craft at all scales, ultimately creating better, longer-lasting buildings.

A Local Economy: Crafting a Design Culture

Twentieth century Detroit produced beautifully crafted architecture and design of global influence. Design expression, materials and fabrication methods were synthesized from a local culture of industrial and architectural design. Through an investigation of both traditional analog handcraft and digital fabrication, this studio explored the idea of Craft at this moment in Detroit’s history and the potential to renew the city’s great design and architectural legacy.

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Student Work

Kemper Fagan, Roberto Corpus, Ruxin Xie – “CONTEXT. COMMUNITY. CO-OP. CORE”

CONTEXT. COMMUNITY. CO-OP. CORE. is a housing project focused on integrating community engagement and input as well as neighborhood consistency into four scales: the neighborhood, the site, the building and the program details. The project capitalizes on the functionality and pre-engineered structural system of utilitarian buildings of agriculture and produce as an opportunity for low-cost customized design. The prefabricated flexible system is a tool for creating high-design moments, open floor plans and low-tech high-resolution aesthetics. Flexibility, customization, and community were the driving forces to this design in order to create a casual living space for people who call this light-industrial area of Detroit home.

Yetao Jiang, Yubei Song, Yijia Liu – “Mondrian Forest”

As architects, we should think about how humans can survive, adapt, get used to and even appreciate the environment they live in through the design itself. Our thesis focuses on how the design of architecture can tackle the natural phenomenon and the issue of climate regulation in Michigan weather conditions. So we emphasize that architects in various environmental conditions can use multiple methods of natural help to achieve acceptable climate ambiance through architectural design.

Back to ARCH672 – Systems (2G3/3G6)

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