09/28/20 Faculty Exhibition Spotlight: Olivier Touraine


Our virtual faculty exhibition series continues with a new exhibition on rethinking “manufactured homes” from associate professor of practice Olivier Touraine. The intent of the exhibition program is not only to highlight the professional work or academic research of our faculty but also to offer insights into connections between their pedagogy and practice.

Studio Touraine was contacted by a large “manufactured home” company to improve design and energy autonomy for its line of products in three assembly factories in the U.S. The purpose was to target a new market of co-shared weekend or vacation homes for an urbanite population, possibly located in very diverse landscapes. All components were identified and modified. The roof and external wall were clad with one unified material, optimizing the look and reducing the number of trades involved in the manufacturing. Below, Touraine shares additional insight into his work.

What inspired this exhibition?

Very often, and maybe too often, as designers, we are inclined to show exceptional projects, unique and once-in-a-lifetime design. I was rather interested this time in simple and humble housing. Things that are making our suburbs very ugly, but still needed by the population, could be reinvented and propelled to other dimensions with a little work and very limited means.

More generally, what inspires your work?

I am interested in the use of simple materials, sometimes not coming from the building industry, that can transcend from a conventional use to new territories. I became way more interested in Frank Gehry’s early single-family houses rather than the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Disney Concert Hall, for example. I prefer the plywood and the rusted corrugated metal, rather than the parametric titanium.

What do you hope viewers take away from this exhibition?

I hope viewers, obviously our students, can see beauty where is it not especially expected, and that great architecture is not linked to lavish budgets. All the opposite. I believe that constraints, especially at a budget level, are vectors of creative design. Original, affordable, and unexpected surprising beauty can occur.

To view the gallery, visit: https://exhibitions.uscarch.com/rethinking-manufactured-homes/


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