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2020 Student Thesis Showcase - Part III

We are back with week three of the 2020 Student Thesis Showcase featuring five more projects from schools across the US and Canada! This week’s projects explore topics including memory and “homeness,” rebuilding vernacular architecture in Puerto Rico, material explorations to tell the history of lynching, violence in architecture, and repurposing space and materials for new activities. Check back on August 14 for the next group of projects. Make sure to check out Part I and Part II of this series!

Ancestral House: Memory Home by Karishma Susan Kurian, M.Arch ’20
University of Minnesota / Advisors: Patrick Lynch and Daniela Sandler
Awarded a 2020 Richard Morrill Final Project Award

A house, as it is now, is a container of memory over time. An ancestral house is no different except that it is a plural typology which exists in parallel realities of time and memory. An ancestral house is an autobiographical container. The narrations collected across three generations in my ancestral house in Kerala, India, revealed not just tangible realities but, more certainly, the validity of intangible realities of memories – spaces over time to uncover the meaning of “homeness” within a house. In my time collecting stories and narrations of my ancestral house, a mere recollection of the events that transpired in the house instigated a conversation of the home and the self from the narrators. The act of recalling memories transformed and reconstituted the self. Across all the narrations what was predominantly evident was the recollection of objects within the narrations and the memories of spaces. Objects are attributed to the memory of home and the people that make it a home. Hence, a list of nine objects was created and each object became a portal to access memories that were once lost. The project discusses the study of architectural memory over time explored through narrative speculation. The result is a “Memory House” that transcends the physical known realities of the world into the memory realm of the ancestral house. A question that led itself to the memory realm was: How does memory lend itself to the physical manifestation of the house?

In this project, we look at the possibility of visualizing the temporal plurality of “home-ness” in the ancestral house and the chance for reconciliation, wherein this list of nine objects is storing memory.

A peek into the narrations lends a unique perspective of the ancestral house that reveals the ideas of memory, home, time, and the self. In that respect, there is an existence of the ancestral house which is beyond the known realm.

Block to Block by Krizia B Medero Padilla, M.Arch ‘20 on Instagram @livenchanted
University of Minnesota / Advisor: Dzenita Hadziomerovic
Awarded a 2020 Richard Morrill Final Project Award

“Block to Block” is interested in rebuilding spaces that represent a decolonized architectural identity in the island of Puerto Rico.

The praise of colonial architecture casts a shadow on other architectural languages including the Puerto Rican vernacular way of building. The physical spaces lost after recent natural disasters were mainly vernacular homes, which are not considered “Capital A Architecture,” yet are the center of many Puerto Rican lives and their cultural identities. Prescribed top-down solutions for rebuilding the lost homes would impose a way of building that would take away from the vernacular origins and the peoples’ agency over the development of their built environment.

This project proposes an affordable methodology for rebuilding homes. The concrete debris left over after the earthquakes will be the primary material to create new construction blocks. These units will then be utilized by those who have lost their homes as the building blocks for the reconstruction of their own spaces; maintaining the agency that inhabitants of rural areas have always had over their built environment.

Transcendence by Phuong ‘Karen’ Tran, Tia Calhoun, Montana Ray, and Morgan Lee, M.Arch ‘20
Georgia Institute of Technology / Advisor: Vernelle A. A. Noel / Studio: Lightweight Textile Pavilions: Shaping Stories and Experience through Architecture and Digital Media 

“Transcendence,” is a lightweight pavilion that explores architecture and digital media as a medium for educating and advocating for social justice. The pavilion utilizes sensory experiences from digital media, and physical experiences from architecture, to help users understand and interact with the history of lynching.

Our team conducted a series of experiments that utilize diverse techniques for lightweight pavilions. The experiments involved wire-bending techniques, textile manipulations, minimal surfaces, tensile surfaces and structures, string sculptures, and machine manipulation. 

For one of the machine experiments, we created frameworks of multiple planar surfaces to manipulate the fabric and spatial structure within. These planar surfaces had holes arranged in a grid-like pattern and were tested at multiple intervals at multiple control points. The second type of machine involves metal frameworks with wire-bending techniques to create an independent structure to which tensile fabrics and strings are attached. Inspired from Frei Otto’s soap work, the third type is composed of planar surfaces made up of contractible rods that stretch and compress the tensile fabric. The fourth type is inspired by Frei Otto’s “Thinking in Models” exhibition, in which we used stakes at multiple control points to pin and suspend the fabric, creating an organic structure. The final construction was most related to the second type, the independent wire-bending framework, in which the textiles created spatial experiences within a metal frame. We chose this machine because of its independent nature and its ability to move to various locations and further inform others of the history of lynching.

From the multiple experiments, we learned about the behaviors of different fabrics in various states and how the fabric, and the formwork, can control the spatial structure within to create an immersive experience. Through the act of learning by doing, we understood the various materials’ behaviors and their given responses to certain stresses and certain manipulations. The studies further informed us of the spatial relationships and technical relationships of textile to textile, textile to structure, structure to structure, textile to the ground, and structure to the ground. The investigations of the multiple, diverse machines helped us understand the various formworks and spatial languages. Ultimately, through our understanding of the materials’ behaviors, their different configurations, and the diverse machines, we were able to generate multiple moments along our pavilion’s promenade to tell a story.

Darkness Encountered in Light by Nicholas Frayne, M.Arch ’20 @nffrayne
University of Waterloo / Advisors: Dereck Revington (primary) and Robert Jan Van Pelt
Also published: http://hdl.handle.net/10012/15466

Today, ideologies of hate and division are having something of a resurgence, despite our common cries of “never again.” We can trace these divisive identities from our archaic sacrificial rituals, through the horror of colonialism, and into the genocides of the modern age – apparently violence is here to stay. While there is generosity, compassion, and empathy that surfaces alongside this destruction, it seems to be swept aside all too readily in favor of division, blame, and separation. It is in this context that I ask what role our presentations of societal violence play in the emergence of such divisive ideologies. 

Drawing on the work of Girard, Kristeva, and Arendt (amongst others), I argue that our presentations of past atrocities should focus on the presence of violence within our familiar, normative realms. As a form of creative expression, architecture can work to actively undermine divisive cultural ideologies that justify atrocity by reframing how we relate to extreme societal violence. Through three global studies of memorial architecture, I show how architecture works to inform our sense of who we are as an experiential continuum, working through existing understandings of the world. My written and crafted analyses explore how stories, and methods of storytelling, can reveal the violence within normalcy, potentially destabilizing our conceptions of our “norm.”

By presenting violence without space for improvisation, architects risk obscuring our ability to see others within ourselves, limiting our understanding of humanity. An embrace of uncertainty carries the potential for a future that affirms life, a future where divisive ideologies are acknowledged as illusory remnants of a more violent past, no longer dominant in our visions of the world we all share. It is my hope that through refocusing how architecture enables violence, we can better guard against the incendiary ideologies that justify it.

PROJECT SCARAB: Smart Walk of Seattle by Kyle Goodyear, M.Arch ’20
University of Idaho / Advisor: Hala Barakat

In ancient Egypt, the scarab beetle was considered a symbol of rebirth and the restoration of life. The scarab takes something of little use, like dung, and repurposes it to serve as sustenance and a mobile incubator for its young and food. For a city, “PROJECT SCARAB” takes parking lots and unused air space and transforms them into areas for recreation, living, and food. 

With the rapid changes taking place within our society “PROJECT SCARAB” is an experiment of what could be done to repurpose old parts of a city towards the agglomeration of people living and working within the city. Creating a system like this could improve walkability by providing new parks and public spaces, while allowing a higher density to form overtime throughout the chosen city. 

The project’s system will take a city and locate areas with either underutilized and/or rapidly changing conditions around the site. Then, the system would respond to existing and planned walking infrastructure and turn these spaces into new nodes connected by said infrastructure. The new nodes would react to mass transit nodes that provide users with an extended range of travel without needing a personal vehicle. The nodes would be reactionary to the needs of certain parts of the city for different kinds of programming from living to food production.

Part I | Part II

2020 Student Thesis Showcase - Part II

We are back with week two of the 2020 Student Thesis Showcase featuring five more projects from schools across the US and Canada! This week’s projects range from large scale community interventions to small-scale material based projects. Check on August 7th for the next group of projects. Make sure to check out Part I of this series!

Finding a New Commons: ReInhabiting the School in Post-Urban Japan by Julia Nakanishi, M.Arch ’20
University of Waterloo / Advisor: Lola Sheppard 

Japan’s megacities are often captured as dense, dynamic, and ever-expanding. These images, disseminated in popular media, belie a growing national phenomenon: urban migration, a declining birthrate, and an aging population have transformed Japan’s countryside over the past thirty years. These demographic changes have had a slow but dramatic effect, resulting in socio-economic decline, abandoned buildings, and a loss of local cultures across the country. This thesis explores how reinhabited architecture might facilitate the preservation of culture, knowledge, education, and community connections to local contexts. 

Among the vast number of leftover buildings in Japan’s rural areas, the public school is becoming increasingly prevalent due to waning fertility rates. These vacant structures, referred to as haikō in Japanese, are imbued with collective memory. In villages needing a revival of public and cultural spaces, schools with existing relationships to the community are potent opportunities for reuse. Using fieldwork that documents haikō in three culturally and geographically distinct sites (Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, Tsuyama Municipality, Okayama Prefecture, and Kamiyama Village, Tokushima Prefecture), along with ethnographic interviews with community members, the three design projects of the thesis explore how the reuse of haikō could generate new rural lifestyles and micro-economies. 

The research presents emerging methodologies for designers working in the context of depopulating communities, which includes interviews with communities, analytical site mapping, and techniques of building reuse. This concept of “degrowth” poses a challenge for architecture — a profession significantly influenced by the capitalist structures and administrative frameworks of urban areas. In this way, Japan’s rural areas, or “the post-urban,” are the testing grounds for new design processes, programmatic overlaps, and plurality in public architecture.

Autopsia in Abstentia: The Continued Collapse of Chernobyl by Marco Nieto, M.Arch ‘20
University of Michigan ARCH 662 “Reassembling the Earth” Studio / Advisor: El Hadi Jazairy

This thesis explores the complicated history and identity crisis of Chernobyl and examines its post-mortem reality through ameliorative apparatus that allows it to heal from its trauma. It investigates the death, or fallout, of an event while not being present at it by using the remnants and traces of its existence. This has helped create a profound framework focused on process and factors of time, allowing for the embedding of five specific interventions that react and respond to the pain of the existing environment: Radiosynthetic Needle, Bioremedial Bubbles, Reverse Repository, Half-Life Lab, and Carbo Conclusus. Read more about the project: http://myumi.ch/Nx3my

This project won the Burton L. Kampner Memorial Award which is presented annually to one student in the thesis program whose final design project has been selected by a Super Jury as the most outstanding. View more award-winning work from Taubman College students

Follow Marco on IG: @m_nieto24

3D Printing Adobe Vaults and Domes by Wanchen Cai, Taoyu Han, Hanyang Hu, Sinae Jung, Vasudha Maiya, Pei Li, Dingtong Wang, Shengrui Xu, Xu Zhang, and Churan Zheng
University of California at Berkeley /
Advisor: Ronald Rael  / Course: ARCH 205

The primary focus of Studio One over the fall semester has been the design and development of 3D printed roofs in the form of vaults and domes. Nubian vault and squinch dome structures, popularized by the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy in the early 20th century, have been constructed for thousands of years, employing fundamental principles of laying mudbrick in courses that require no shuttering to create roof enclosures. The primary building material for these architectural structures was mud brick, comprised of water, locally available soil, and straw. The coursing of mud bricks by traditional masons followed particular patterns to allow for these complex structures to be constructed without formwork. By emulating and altering these coursing patterns, and using a customized Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA) robot, an array of complex vault and dome structures can be created through the robotic deposition of an adobe mud admixture.

3D printing earth through vertical layer deposition for walls is relatively straight forward. However, when it comes to printing a roof or enclosures, the self-weight of the adobe often leads to the collapse of the printed roof structure due to gravity. The resolution of this challenge is crucial for the realization of a completely 3D printed building. This research is further extended to the proposal of a shelter in Darfur, Sudan.

This research culminated in the design of five unique, 3D printed shelters. The proposal was for a low-cost housing prototype for Darfur. The house has three main functions: gathering, sleeping, and eating. Locally sourced soil was used for printing. Further, materials like straw, palm leaves, jute, and fabric were used as cladding for roofs and openings. The potential for generating apertures, integrated furniture, and staircases that integrate with vaults and domes were tested at a 1:50 scale. Techniques for inserting wooden sticks between layers of prints were explored to accommodate auxiliary systems like a staircase or secondary roof structure. One of the printing methods took the unconventional approach of layer depositions in a bath of sand to eliminate the need for conservative print angles or printed support material. Once the clay print was dry, the sand was excavated from within the dome. The projects also looked at the experiential quality of the printed adobe spaces, where the entry of light, air, and water into the built space is carefully crafted. This research is being further developed in the ongoing spring semester, where the mud printing is integrated with a wooden roof.

Inflection Point By Satoru Igarashi, Katherine Martin, Josymar Rodriguez, and Matthew Stoll, M.Arch ‘20
University of Oregon / Advisor: Justin Fowler

Developed in the Winter 2020 graduate studio on housing relief at the University of Oregon’s Portland Architecture Program, The “Inflection Point” is a social housing proposition for Northeast Portland that argues for a Green New Deal program of decarbonization that does more than just the “less bad.” This prototype employs an adaptable framework that integrates modular housing, energy and water infrastructure, and an accessible landscape to provide social, recreational, and productive amenities for the residents and broader community. The proposal includes a mass timber structure, water reclamation strategies, and solar energy capture for its distribution to the site and the surrounding neighborhood.

Conducted by Program Director Justin Fowler, and working in consultation with Portland’s Public Housing Authority (Home Forward) and Lever Architecture, the studio explored proposals for Home Forward’s Dekum Court site in Northeast Portland currently being redeveloped for increased housing density on its heavily-sloped 5.5-acre lot between residential and industrial areas. In the spirit of past social housing design practices and reform from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of Red Vienna to the London County Council, students worked in teams to address issues of climate-induced migration, sustainability, and public health through care- and justice-based approaches to housing and landscape design. 

Team
After working in the field of brand design for many years, Satoru Igarashi had decided to pivot his career by finding an outlet which can provide more meaningful and improved experiences through design. 

Katherine Martin is a graduate of Georgia Tech and worked for two years in one of the largest firms in Atlanta. She enrolled at the University of Oregon to further her knowledge on passive sustainable design strategies.

Josymar Rodriguez a Fulbright Scholar and a 2017 Young Leaders of the Americas Fellow. She is the co-founder of INCURSIONES, an architecture studio and social initiative in her hometown of Caracas, Venezuela.

After four years of working professionally on radically-adaptive reuse projects in the historic urban center of his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, Matthew Stoll returned to Portland to focus on creating positive social impact through space.  

Center for Autonomous Witness by Will Reynolds
Georgia Institute of Technology / Advisor: Keith Kaseman – CORE III Studio, Arch 6030 

The intent of this project is to facilitate a new form of justice – one that holds those enforcing the law to a new standard of honesty and transparency. Body cameras (bodycams) have proved to be ineffective. Though they are mandated by every state, less than 10% of cases of police brutality are captured on body cams. This is because officers do not use them, will turn them off leading up to the conflict, or will tamper with the footage after the event. This is unacceptable

It is now time to use the advancements of technology and the accessibility of digital information to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their actions.

This system of drone outposts is dispersed throughout a city. The structures, or outposts, deploy drones when a civilian reports a police stop. Ideally, this report could be vocally activated with a smartphone – “Hey Siri, the police are here.” The drone arrives onsite and records the police throughout the interaction. The information is streamed back to the outpost to be monitored by civilians.

These drone outposts would act as a facility to store and maintain drones, store and broadcast information securely, and create a safe space for civilians. This new building typology could be freestanding or occupy existing structures like the space between billboards.

Check back on Friday, August 7th for the next edition of the 2020 Student Showcase. Thanks for reading!

2020 Student Thesis Showcase - Part I

Have you ever wondered what students design in architecture school? A few years ago, we started an Instagram account called IMADETHAT_ to curate student work from across North America. Now, we have nearly 3,000 projects featured for you to view. In this series, we are featuring thesis projects of recent graduates to give you a glimpse into what architecture students create while in school. Each week, for the rest of the summer, we will be curating five projects that highlight unique aspects of design. In this week’s group, the research ranges from urban scale designs focused on climate change to a proposal for a new type of collective housing and so much in between. Check back each week for new projects. 

In the meantime, Archinect has also created a series featuring the work of 2020 graduates in architecture and design programs. Check out the full list, here.

Redefining the Gradient by Kate Katz and Ryan Shaaban, Tulane University, M.Arch ‘20

Thesis Advisors: Cordula Roser Gray and Ammar Eloueini / Course: 01-SP20-Thesis Studio

Sea level rise has become a major concern for coastal cities due to the economic and cultural importance tied to their proximity to water. These cities have sustained their livelihood in low-lying elevations through the process of filling, bridging, and raising land over coastal ecosystems, replacing their ecological value with infrastructures focused on defining the edge between city and nature. Hard infrastructures have been employed to maintain urban landscapes but have minimal capacity for both human and non-human engagement due to their monofunctional applications focused on separating conditions rather than integrating them. They produce short-term gains with long-term consequences, replacing and restricting ecosystems and acting as physical barriers in a context defined by seasonal transition. 

To address the issues of hard infrastructure and sea level rise, this thesis proposes an alternative design strategy that incorporates the dynamic water system into the urban grid network. San Francisco was chosen as the location of study as it is a peninsula where a majority of the predicted inundation occurs on the eastern bayside. In this estuary, there were over 500 acres of ecologically rich tidal marshlands that were filled in during the late 1800s. To protect these new lands, the Embarcadero Sea Wall was built in 1916 and is now in a state of neglect. The city has set aside $5 billion for repairs but, instead of pouring more money into a broken system, we propose an investment in new multi-functional ecologically-responsive strategies. 

As sea levels rise, the city will be inundated with water, creating the opportunity to develop a new circulation system that maintains accessibility throughout areas located in the flood zone. In this proposal, we’ve designed a connective network where instance moments become moments of pause and relief to enjoy the new cityscape in a dynamic maritime district. 

On the lower level, paths widen to become plazas while on the upper level, they become breakout destinations which can connect to certain occupiable rooftops that are given to the public realm. The bases of carved canals become seeding grounds for plants and aquatic life as the water level rises over time. Buildings can protect high-risk floors through floodproofing and structural encasement combined with adaptive floorplates to maintain the use of lower levels. The floating walkway is composed of modular units that are buoyant, allowing the pedestrian paths to conform and fluctuate with diurnal tidal changes. The composition of the units creates street furniture and apertures to engage with the ecologies below while enabling a once restricted landscape of wetlands to take place within the city. 

The new vision of the public realm in this waterfront district hopes to shine an optimistic light on how we can live with nature once again as we deal with the consequences of climate change.

Unearthing the Black Aesthetic by Demar Matthews, Woodbury University, M.Arch ‘20

Advisor: Ryan Tyler Martinez
Featured on Archinect

“Unearthing The Black Aesthetic” highlights South Central Los Angeles’s (or Black Los Angeles’s) unique positioning as a dynamic hub of Black culture and creativity. South Central is the densest population of African Americans west of the Mississippi. While every historically Black neighborhood in Los Angeles has experienced displacement, the neighborhood of Watts was hit particularly hard. As more and more Black Angelenos are forced for one reason or another to relocate, we are losing our history and connection to Los Angeles.

As a way to fight this gentrification, we are developing an architectural language derived from Black culture. So many cultures have their own architectural styles based on values, goals, morals, and customs shared by their society. When these cultures have relocated to America, to keep their culture and values intact, they bought land and built in the image of their homelands. That is not true for Black people in America. In fact, until 1968, Black people had no rights to own property in Los Angeles. While others began a race to acquire land in 1492, building homes and communities in their image, we started running 476 years after the race began. What percentage of land was left for Blacks to acquire? How then can we advance the development of a Black aesthetic in architecture?

This project, most importantly, is a collaboration with the community that will be for us and by us. My goal is to take control of our image in architecture; to elevate, not denigrate, Black life and culture. Ultimately, we envision repeating this process in nine historically Black cities in America to develop an architectural language that will vary based on the history and specificities of Black culture in each area.

KILLING IT: The Life and Death of Great American Cities by Amanda Golemba, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, M.Arch ’20

Advisors: Nikole Bouchard, Jasmine Benyamin, and Erik Hancock / Independent Design Thesis

For decades, post-industrial cities throughout the United States have been quietly erased through self-imposed tabula rasa demolition. If considered at all, demolition is touted as the mechanism for removing unsightly blight, promoting safety, and discarding the obsolete and the unwanted. Once deemed unworthy, rarely does a building survive the threat of demolition. 

In the last decade, the City of Chicago has erased over 13,000 buildings with 225 in just the last four months. Not only does this mass erasure eradicate the material and the spatial, but it permanently wipes the remnants of human bodies, values, and history — a complete annulment of event, time, and memory. 

But why do we feel the need to erase in order to make progress?

Our current path has led to a built environment that is becoming more and more uniform and sterile. Much of America has become standardized, mixed-use developments; neighborhoods of cookie-cutter homes and the excessive use of synthetic, toxic building materials. A uniform world is a boring one that has little room for creativity, individuality, or authenticity.

This thesis, “KILLING IT,” is a design proposal for a traveling exhibition that seeks to change perceptions of the existing city fabric by visualizing patterns of erasure, questioning the resultant implications and effects of that erasure, and proposing an alternative fate. “KILLING IT” confronts the inherently violent aspects of architecture and explores that violence through the intentionally jarring, uncomfortable, and absurd analogy of murder. This analogy is a lens through which to trace the violent, intentional, and premature ending and sterilization of the existing built environment. After all, as Bernard Tschumi said, “To really appreciate architecture, you may even need to commit a murder.”1 But murder is not just about the events that take place within a building, it is also the material reality of the building itself. 

Over the life of a building, scarring, moments in time, and decay layer to create an inhabitable palimpsest of memory. This traveling exhibition is infused with the palimpsest concept by investigating strategies of layering, modularity, flexibility, transparency, and building remains, while layering them together to form a system that operates as an inhabitable core model collage. Each individual exhibition simultaneously memorializes the violence that happened at that particular site and implements murderous adaptive reuse strategies through collage and salvage material to expose what could have been.

If we continue down our current path, we will only continue to make the same mistakes and achieve the same monotonous, sterilizing results we currently see in every American city and suburb. We need to embrace a new path that values authenticity, celebrates the scars and traces of the past, and carries memories into the future. By reimaging what death can mean and addressing cycles of violence, “KILLING IT” proposes an optimistic vision for the future of American cities. 

      1. Tschumi, Bernard. “Questions of space: lectures on architecture” (ed. 1990)

A New Prototype for Collective Housing by Juan Acosta and Gable Bostic, University of Texas at Austin, M.Arch ‘20

Advisor: Martin Haettasch / Course: Integrative Design Studio
Read more: https://soa.utexas.edu/work/new-prototype-collective-housing

Austin is a city that faces extreme housing pressures. This problem is framed almost exclusively in terms of supply and demand, and the related question of affordability. For architects, however, a more productive question is: Will this new quantity produce a new quality of housing? 

How do we live in the city, how do we create individual and collective identity through architecture, and what are the urban consequences? This studio investigates new urban housing types, smaller than an apartment block yet larger and denser than a detached house. Critically assessing existing typologies, we ask the question: How can the comforts of the individual house be reconfigured to form new types of residential urban fabric beyond the entropy of tract housing or the formulaic denominator of “mixed-use.” The nature of the integrative design studio allowed for the testing of material systems and construction techniques that have long had an important economic and ecological impact.

“A New Prototype for Collective Housing” addresses collectivity in both a formal and social sense, existing between the commercial and residential scales present in Austin’s St. John neighborhood as it straddles the I-35 corridor; a normative American condition. A diversity of programs, and multigenerational living, create an inherently diverse community. Additionally, a courtyard typology is used to negotiate the spectrum of private and shared space. Volumes, comprising multiple housing units ranging from studio apartments to four bedrooms, penetrate a commercial plinth that circulates both residents and mechanical systems. The use of heavy timber ensures an equitable use of resources while imbuing the project with a familiar material character.

ELSEWHERE, OR ELSE WHERE? by Brenda (Bz) Zhang, University of California at Berkeley, M.Arch ’20

Advisors: Andrew Atwood and Neyran Turan
See more: https://www.brendazhang.com/#/elsewhere-or-else-where/

“ELSEWHERE, OR ELSE WHERE?” is an architectural fever dream about the San Francisco Bay Area. Beginning with the premise that two common ideas of Place—Home and Elsewhere—are no longer useful, the project wonders how disciplinary tools of architecture can be used to shape new stories about where we are.

For our purposes, “Home,” although primarily used to describe a place of domestic habitation, is also referring generally to a “familiar or usual setting,” as in home-base, home-court, home-page, and even home-button. As a counterpoint, Elsewhere shifts our attention “in or to another place,” away. This thesis is situated both in the literal spaces of Elsewhere and Home (landfills, houses, wilderness, base camps, wastelands, hometowns) and in their culturally constructed space (value-embedded narratives determining whether something belongs, and to whom). Since we construct both narratives through principles of exclusion, Elsewhere is a lot closer to Home than we say. These hybrid spaces—domestic and industrial, urban and hinterland, natural and built—are investigated as found conditions of the Anthropocene and potential sites for new understandings of Place.

Ultimately, this thesis attempts to challenge conventional notions of what architects could do with our existing skill sets, just by shifting our attention—Elsewhere. The sites shown here and the concerns they represent undeniably exist, but because of the ways Western architecture draws thick boundaries between and around them, they resist architectural focus—to our detriment.

In reworking the physical and cultural constructions of Homes and Elsewheres, architects are uniquely positioned to go beyond diagnostics in visualizing and designing how, where, and why we build. While this project looks specifically at two particular stories we tell about where we are, the overall objective is to provoke new approaches to how we construct Place—both physically and culturally—within or without our discipline.