Office dA project records
The Office dA project records, 1991-2007, document the firm’s work on the Casa La Roca, Witte Arts Center, and Tongxian Arts Center projects.
All three projects involved the use of traditional and locally-sourced materials, such as brick and terracotta block, to create continuous surfaces that appear structural despite remaining an architectural effect in the skin of the building. These brick patterns were achieved through the use of embedded laser-cut steel ribs that act as a jig against which brick could be laid. In the case of Witte Arts Center and Tongxian Arts Center, digital design and fabrication technologies were applied to all phases of design, from the conceptual phase to design development and construction documents. The majority of the records date from 1995 to 2003.
The archive contains a relatively sizable amount of physical materials for each of the projects. This includes approximately 1461 drawings and reproductions, four models and approximately 40 model pieces, as well as photographic materials, textual records and ephemera. Models in all three series were manually built in basswood. Each series also contains a publication titled “Project Facts,” which documents the conceptualization and development of each project.
The digital component of the archive consists of approximately 8362 digital files (8.5 GB). Material includes images, CAD drawings, 3D renderings, a range of standard word processing and desktop publishing documents, and e-mail. The vast majority of the CAD drawings are in AutoCAD DWG format. A small number of digital models are in Rhinoceros, form*z, and 3D Studio formats. The digital files in part represent design documentation for Witte Arts Center and Tongxian Arts Center projects, but largely relate to digital fabrication.
This fonds contains a number of born-digital files in CAD and 3D modeling formats. Due to the complex and often proprietary nature of CAD formats, proper rendering and use of these files may require highly specific software. CCA’s dedicated Study Room CAD workstation is loaded with a wide but incomplete range of such software. For further information about services and software available for interacting with obsolete or niche file formats, please contact Collection Reference (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask to speak with the Digital Archivist.
The material in this archive was organized by the creator. CCA archivists then arranged the material into three series by project in chronological order:
• AP179.S1 Casa La Roca, Caracas, Venezuela (1995 - 2001)
• AP179.S2 Witte Arts Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin (2000 - 2002)
• AP179.S3 Tongxian Art Center, Beijing, China (2000 - 2007)
Within each series, material has been kept in its original order. As a result, file-level groups of drawings and sketches are often broad in content and description.
For the digital component of the archive, material arrived on 16 pieces of optical media (CDs and DVDs). From the original media, high-level folders have been described as discrete groups and arranged into the appropriate series. Within these folders, material has not been rearranged. It is believed that much of the digital material was originally arranged for submission to the Progressive Architecture Awards.
Office dA was a Boston-based architecture and design firm led by principal partners Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Tehrani between 1991 and 2010. The firm’s work ranged from furniture design to built offices, urban design, and infrastructural projects. Office dA was known in particular for a focus on materials and detailing used in conjunction with digital design and manufacturing processes. Among the firm’s best-known and award-winning projects are the Witte Arts Center (2000), Tongxian Art Center (2003), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Library (2006), Helios House (2007), and Banq Restaurant (2008).
Following the dissolution of office dA, the firm’s physical materials were kept in a storage unit rented by Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Tehrani until their transfer to CCA. The digital files in the archive were kept on CDs in the office of Nader Tehrani, which were then physically sent to CCA.
These records were acquired by CCA as part of the Archaeology of the Digital project. Selected items were displayed in the show Archaeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention, May-October 2016.
When citing the collection as a whole, use the citation:
Office dA project records,
Collection Centre Canadien d’Architecture
/Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal.
When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.
English, with some material in Spanish and Chinese.
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