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Architectural corners serve as nodes of constructional shifting, of structural logistics, of environmental control emphasis, of spatial experience, and of aesthetic considerations and it is in these particular building intersections that our greatest architects have exceled. Despite the importance of the corner, most architectural software introduces generalizations into design work that all but assures improper understanding of a building’s corners, especially for students and those novice to the profession. The transformations undertaken in the computer rarely reflect the strategies used to create physical, occupiable space. For instance, when working in building information modeling software, walls intersect via “butt” or “miter” techniques regardless of the materiality of the components. Any system can turn the corner with perfect resolution, without the need for additional components or finishes typically used to resolve aesthetic and performance issues. From this technical perspective, what is possible in the computer is often impossible in reality.

This presentation centers on a recently initiated, seminar-based research project through which a group of upper division and graduate architecture students are rigorously examining a set of precedents in an effort to better understand how significant architects of the 20th and 21st centuries treated or continue to treat, as the case may be, the architectural corner in their critically acclaimed works. The primary goals of this study are to absorb for configuring these junctures of construction, tectonics, and design potential and to create a framework of lessons, which students can use in the development of their own design work moving forward both in the academy and in the professional world.