LABORATORY FOR INTENSIVE EXPLORATION
HKS LINE (Laboratory for INtensive Exploration) exists to initiate and sustain topical research via active contribution as a design studio. Leveraging technology and science, we focus on the creation and application of innovative solutions and in-depth research to architectural projects. By studying and evaluating the relationships between emerging technologies and methodologies, LINE seeks to elevate modes of architectural production through intensive explorations in systems, materiality, processes, and toolsets. The studio operates in a way that fosters curiosity, empowers individuals, and promotes agency, able-ness, and affectiveness. Acting as both a creator and a bridge between research and design studios at HKS, LINE operates to cross-pollinate design-research across all firm sectors. In an ever-evolving profession, it is paramount to find innovative methods and processes of working to enhance the design of the built environment. To remain professionally and academically relevant in this dialogue, it is critical to be aware of the changes occurring within the profession, and maintain the ability to adapt to fluctuations in the discourse.
It is the charge of LINE to provide a place for opportunity and exploration – to map and explore the previously uncharted. This provision is not merely a physical place, and may be better understood through the culture and environment we foster and the design methodology we follow. Through very rigorous analysis and testing we are able to take intensive “deeper-dives” with a high degree of specificity to expand our knowledge in a particular area. Progression of design intelligence in these areas requires that we both understand the groundwork that has been laid before us, and that we travel through unfamiliar or uncharted terrain. While we are not explorers in the traditional notion of physical navigation, we are explorers of the digital terrain – finding new methods, processes, and technologies that take us into areas previously unbeknownst to us. In this sense the environment is the architecture, the process, or the profession that we are operating within to discover new and previously uncharted areas. As we begin to shed light onto new areas of the map, so grows our collective knowledge of what is possible.
OUR FOCUS AREAS
PULLING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INTO ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE
Systems thinking organizes individual issues into parts of a whole system. Systems thinking is a set of practices within a framework based on the belief that the components of a system can be better understood when considered in the context of their relationships with other components. Rather than focus on specific issues individually, events or outcomes, potentially contributing to unintended consequences downstream, we strategically construct systems capable of addressing a problem in a way that is more dependent upon interrelationships of components but also more resilient to external influence. Systems thinking provides us with a window on the world that informs our understanding of ecologies and our relationship to them. It provides us with a way of framing our investigations and a language for discussing our understanding.
Physiological architecture as an area of exploration begins to evolve our understanding of architecture past the antiquated ocularcentric notions of interaction and responsiveness in architecture, which in contemporary practices has focused primarily on the visual, and more recently the tactile through increased material awareness. This area of study focuses on expanding those relationships to include other senses that link architectural space and the human physiological system.
As societies knowledge and understanding of biological processes grows, we are finding an increasingly large array of those processes which can influence our understanding and development of architecture and the human habitat. Primary to the formation of biological systems is their bottom-up, emergent, processes which lead to complex systems. We are interested in how methods, such as agent-based systems, can be employed in an architectural environment which exploits their generative potential, leading to emergent and complex systems based on component interrelationships.
While the architectural industry continues to evolve into a purely computationally driven model, utilizing a range of digital methods during conceptualization, architects have been increasing the integration with the fabrication and manufacturing industry sectors, looking for ways to cut material cost, reduce schedule timelines, and reduce overall labor costs. However, construction remains a relatively elusive, disconnected, and manual process where the digital process of architectural creation remains removed from the act of building. In order gain greater agency within the profession while still operating under the constraints of project, we are exploring concepts and technologies that will allow us to tie our digital models and workflow to all aspects of architectural creation.
Critical to the exploration of our work is the development of novel building systems, material exploration, fabrication processes, and their integration on a tectonic level into the architectural work. Working in collaboration with industry leaders and academia we are pushing the limits on how our designs can both form, and be informed, by these processes and collaborative opportunities. These areas of focus include partnerships with those from the University of Texas in Arlington (UTA), Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas, and Southern Methodist University, surrounded by topics such as innovative structural solutions, emerging building technology, materiality, and fabrication/manufacturing methods.