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THE STORY OF CSALT: SENSORY ARCHITECTURE AND LIMINAL TECHNOLOGIES

Creative Origins

CSALT: Sensory Architecture and Liminal Technologies was founded in 2005 by Professor Sheryl Boyle in the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism to provide students with exceptional design and build learning opportunities. We believe that "getting our hands dirty" is an essential gateway to knowledge and academic inquiry. The lab began as a collection of "raw" materials in a basement room called "The Pantry" allowing students to experience materials in person rather than viewing them on a computer screen.  The collection has grown to include a repository more closely resembling an alchemical workshop than a library, and continues to grow to include digital fabrication technologies, traditional hand-tools, an industrial kiln and emerging ideas. Our interest in liminal technologies comes from a close reading and re-making of traditional "recipes" for architecture and materials. 


Liminality defines things at the edge which appear there either by slipping "out of view" from a culture obsessed with progress or as ideas that have yet to fully emerge and are still being imagined.  Liminal technologies provide rich ideas for the inquiring maker and can open paths for new material discoveries and compositions.


Courses at the undergraduate, Masters and PhD level have participated in projects at the lab and library. Their learning has expanded the growing list of historic and contemporary materials through "re-making" of historic artisan manuals and leading-edge technologies.  This hybrid methodology allows for rich and stimulating discoveries in "material etymology" by mixing drones with medieval bricks, CNC fabrication technology with moisture expansion joints, and many other riches.