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2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part XIX

Welcome to Part XIX of the Study Architecture Student Showcase! As Urbanism continues to shape the study of architecture, today’s student showcase highlights projects that impact Urban Life. 

The featured designs seek to optimize the use of the available space while creating cohesive and functional built environments that meet the needs of all city dwellers. They also confront issues that impact urban spaces by addressing the increasing carbon footprint of the DFW Metropolitan Area and predicting a future where a massive electric vehicle charging car park replaces the greenspace of NYC’s Central Park.

Shifting Super Block by Yenifer Diaz, B.Arch ‘23
The New York Institute of Technology | Advisor: Prof. Michelle Cianfaglione

This research aims to answer the reasons for vacancies and how to solve the problem, especially in a city like New York. To create a shifting superblock with a seamless

Live | Work | Play, a “city within a city,” where neighborhoods are not disconnected from the empty lots and abandoned buildings, and where services are available to anyone.  

How do we build a neighborhood through the integration of Live | Work | Play?

The aim is to create a superblock-type concept where neighborhoods are not disconnected. It began with research on zoning and its limits on building laws and regulations, to “What is a superblock?” and expanded to “What is a 15-minute city and how can it be integrated into a city like New York?”

Instagram: @michellecianfaglione, @nyitarch, @exdarchitecture

“A City Within a City”: Culturally Sensitive Architecture Adaptation in San Francisco by Zijie Zhou, M.Arch ‘23
University of Utah, School of Architecture | Advisor: Valerie Greer, AIA, LEEP AP, NOMA

My site, located at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco, is positioned between the towering skyscraper side of the city and the low-rise Chinatown side. Throughout its rich history, Portsmouth Square has functioned as a significant community plaza for local Chinese immigrants, providing opportunities for entertainment and socialization for over 100 years. However, with the rapid influx of tourism and urban development, Portsmouth Square has become a point of conflict for the local Chinese residents and tourists, deterring both parties. This dissonance, reflected in the lack of connection between culture and architecture, has effectively created a divide — a cultural gap — between San Francisco and Chinatown, which is now referred to as “a city within a city.”

The tension and disconnect that exist between the two facets of this location can only be met with a considerate and nuanced approach. With sustainability and longevity in mind, I aimed to design beyond noteworthy architecture; instead, I aim to establish a structure for something more intangible – a community gathering space that embodies the values of rich culture and a diverse community. This conscientious design was intended to protect and enhance the quality of life for the local Chinese community, preserving their cultural heritage and identity while also encouraging community cohesion with those who are visiting or don’t explicitly belong to the Chinatown community. To achieve my goal, I aspire to cultivate a new cultural identity that resonates with the locals’ sense of belonging and loyalty.

The symbolic architectural design serves as a beacon of light that resonates within the hearts of every community member, illuminating the entire community living space. Through this architectural platform, I hope to foster social connectivity and strengthen the ties between people, communities, and cultures. This culturally sensitive approach will not only establish a landmark structure for visitors from all over the world but also establish a solid foundation for a vibrant community hub for local residents.

Welcome to the Carmart by Maggie McMickle, M.Arch ‘23
University of California, Berkeley | Advisors: Rene Davids and Greig Crysler

In the blocks surrounding Douglass Park in Chicago, over 80% of households are led by single mothers. In addition to performing paid labor to financially support their families, these mothers also perform thirty hours of unpaid domestic labor for their families per week, leaving little time for rest, play, or personal development. This project proposes a monolithic housing collective that spans three city blocks, sitting on the viaduct of an unused rail line. Domestic labor is outsourced to dedicated programs that stretch into the surrounding neighborhood. Collective meals are hosted in the shared kitchen and dining facility, and an on-site cafe is open to both residents and the public. A laundry service takes dirty clothes and returns them washed and folded. Children are cared for at different ages in different facilities, with a nursery and daycare for young children, an after-school program for the nearby elementary and middle school, and a recreation center for older children. By freeing overburdened mothers from this domestic labor, they are able to rest, play, and nurture themselves and their children.

Since the inception of the automobile, the urban fabric of modern American cities has been altered. With the emergence of electric vehicles, there is the potential for a new way we can design our cities around the automobile; now, the car has the potential to leave an impact on buildings. This thesis, entitled, Welcome to the Carmart explores the idea of creating an auto-centric megastructure in Central Park in New York City – the least car-dependent city in the States, to provide a critique of the car. The narrative of the Carmart provokes what may be considered a dystopian future for urbanists, the greenscape of Central Park is bulldozed and replaced with a massive EV charging car park. Through a narrative that imagines a dystopian future, the project embodies themes of consumerism, capitalism, the American dream, and the social and urban implications of creating spaces for cars that take away from the character of cities. 

This project won the Chester Miller Award.

Instagram: @magg_zzz, @r.davids, @carmart.usa

Prospect Offices in New Orleans by Leah N. Bohatch, B.Arch ‘23
Tulane University | Advisor: Ruben Garcia-Rubio

The site is in the Business District of New Orleans in-between Uptown and Downtown, near many places of communal gathering and public interaction. Camp St. and Andrew Higgins Blvd. mark the intersection of visitors and locals, highlighting the site as a corner of importance and an area for improvement in how the community can interact and be showcased. This will be accomplished through an inversion of the typical interior plaza wrapped by a program. 

This proposal calls to wrap the plaza around the building as a programmatically independent staircase that relates the pedestrian to the surrounding views and displays the inhabitant to the city. This strategy is accomplished by creating an object building to allow circulation around the building. The programmatic strategy includes a system of concrete slabs and columns along a 20’ x 20’ grid that becomes the frame of the project and is related to the city scale. Within this larger frame, human-scale polycarbonate boxes plug into the structure and create smaller-scale unique interactions at each level of the project that relate to New Orleans vernacular architecture such as porch-style, semi-communal office spaces, and balcony-mezzanine offices and walkways. 

The plaza wraps around the building as it is folded along the grid of columns. This allows for a program to be placed at each stair ranging from work areas to outdoor stages. Also, terraces are used as extensions of the offices to allow for a seamless interaction between an interior work environment and a shaded exterior office space. The destination of the continuous exterior plaza is a community roof garden that allows for 360 views of the city and a plaza on the roof plane. The stormwater runoff from the roof garden and the terraces is drained through an attachment to the building’s columns.

Instagram: @rubgarrub

Revitalization of an Automotive Industrial Area by Joshua Díaz-Arroyo, B.Arch ‘23
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico| Advisors: Pedro A. Rosario-Torres, Luis V. Badillo-Lozano & Manuel De Lemos-Zuazaga

This research is about breathing new life into deserted automotive factories scattered across the globe, with a particular emphasis on those that occupy sizeable plots in urban areas, impeding the growth of cities. The project strives to tap into the latent resources that these empty lots offer, leveraging the pre-existing infrastructure, structures, road access, and location to uncover their full potential.

Located in the Northwestern United States, specifically in Detroit, Michigan, is the Central Square. This area has been deemed part of the “Rust Belt” due to the numerous deserted automotive factories there. The project’s objective is to infuse life back into the area by reviving social and cultural activities, improving the economy, and increasing accessibility to surrounding communities. To achieve these goals, spatial programs and a central square are implemented, connecting the communities and integrating the programs seamlessly. 

The proposal entails the integration of a Car Museum, an office tower, and commercial areas. The existing structure, formerly intended for vehicle assembly, spans four levels in a horizontal layout. As part of the proposal, the existing building is divided to create a spacious longitudinal plaza that spans the entire site. This plaza serves as a versatile exterior space, connecting the various programs and facilitating seamless movement between them. The proposed design seeks to optimize the use of the available space while creating a cohesive and functional site that meets the needs of all stakeholders. Furthermore, it was the designer’s deliberate choice to erect a tower in order to produce a striking visual contrast to the project’s predominantly horizontal design. To achieve this, a diagrid is employed, which is reminiscent of the exoskeletons of factories, wherein the structural framework of the building is left bare and visible. The existing structure houses the automobile museum and offices, while the commercial district comprises four other new buildings.

The ambitious project seeks to delve into the vast expanse of space and express its distinctive characteristics, while simultaneously discovering the promising possibilities that abandoned automotive factories may offer. The proposal also aims to motivate and encourage others to unite with available resources and foster innovative ideas.

BEHAVIORAL EFFECTS OF PLACEMAKING ON FARM CHICKENS by Chidera Ndubueze, BSAED (Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Environmental Design) ‘23
Morgan State University | Advisor: Samia Kirchner

Placemaking is an approach used when designing and planning public spaces to promote urban vitality, health and well-being, and social interaction. This principle has been used to design and revitalize public spaces and urban plazas to become sociable and capable of achieving a multiplicity of activities. Placemaking principles should be incorporated when designing chicken habitats because they will positively affect the behavior of chickens and the production of eggs. The behavioral setting for this research will be the Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm in Baltimore, MD. The farm was established to combat food deserts and provide food on the plates of Park Heights residents. It maintains a principle of bringing Cleaner Greener Foods to less fortunate communities in Baltimore. The priority group is the chickens on the farm. The common chicken breed at Plantation Park Heights is the ISA Brown. This is a crossbreed of chicken with sex-linked coloration. They are docile and provide optimum egg production. This study will focus on the question: “Can principles of placemaking be incorporated into chicken habitats, and how does it affect the behavior of chickens?” This research will be conducted through interviews and storytelling (via the Facing Project), surveys, and questionnaires. The process for this research involves a comprehensive literature review on the study of the behavior of chickens from birth. The design project involves designing a chicken coop/ conservatory that is sufficient for the number of chickens on the farm. The coop design will provide spaces for feeding, nesting, and social activities.

This project received the Outstanding Research Poster Award at the 28th Annual Undergraduate and Graduate Research Symposium, Morgan State University.

Instagram: @samiarabkirchner

The Critical Application of Metabolic and Mobile Architecture to the Modern Urban Fabric by Peter Hall, Bachelor of Sc. in Architectural Sc. ’23
Western Kentucky University | Advisor: Shahnaz Aly

Urban analysis of architecture has taken multiple and diverse directions that in some way try to create a city that is accessible and walkable. NULU Flats takes on the approach of mobile architecture and metabolic theory to create a functioning microcosm of both ideas applied critically in a growing urban environment. The project, at around 90,000 SF, applies ideas of “megastructure” by creating a building skeleton that can evolve with the needs of the city on the linear path of time. The lower two levels of the structure are incorporated into the megastructure as a static piece of the building that contains necessities such as parking, mercantile space, and workspace. The following six floors are suspended residential modular units. With the flexibility to swap modular units and create new spaces, the project provides a critical application of metabolic and mobile thought.

This project received the Outstanding Senior Capstone Project Award.

Instagram: @petehall01

Reframe: Looking Inward, Gazing Outward by Nadia Calderón & Eliot Sauquet, B.Arch ’23
Southern California Institute of Architecture | Advisor: Peter Testa

Reframe, a proposal for the Museum of the 20th Century located in the Tiergarten District of Berlin, is centered on the superposition of volumetric, urban typologies and domestic thresholds through the construction of multipart views. By reintroducing site-specific architectural tropes related to urban housing, the project promotes an unstable, anticipatory character of architecture that is subject to constant reprogramming and transformations. The proposal focuses on the juxtaposition and overlap of two spatial logics: the arrangement of urban block typologies, and the integration of small-scale, domestic interiors. The objective of the project is to reactivate the immediate built environment of Berlin by inserting instances of domesticity into the expansiveness of a field of monuments.

The proposal for the Museum of the 20th Century expansion draws on the architectural and domestic history of Berlin by referencing the façade and configuration of L-type housing. By over-scaling and continuously aligning L-types, nested, sunken courtyards are generated between the discrete parts of the scheme. In aggregating large-scale urban typologies and domestic interiors, the project generates a series of close-knit gallery spaces that unravel across the site and reconstruct a pattern of circulation that is inveterate to Berlin. The project is focused on the creation of key sightlines and nested courtyards between volumetric components, and it further addresses the configuration of Berlin housing typologies by establishing a perimeter wall that intimately frames unfolding views and spatial processions. The scheme challenges conventional modes of perception by foregrounding the museum as a place of past and present cultural production that is continuously responding to the activities of Berlin. By encouraging the users to inhabit the space of the museum as they would inhabit housing, the experience of viewing art becomes substantially more intimate and imbued in the context of the city.

Instagram: @eliot_sauquet

I can’t BREATHE because I won’t CHANGE by Ryan Playle, M.Arch ’23
University of Texas at Arlington | Advisor: Ursula Emery McClure

“I can’t breathe because I won’t change” deals directly with one of Arlington’s most toxic areas. The interchange zone of I-30 and 360 is not only undergoing a massive highway infrastructure reconstruction but is also one of DFW’s most heavily trafficked areas, and it is surrounded by major industrial sites and power grid distribution networks. 

These factors make it one of the densest carbon production zones in Arlington and an overall unhealthy environment. Ryan, who commutes through this interchange daily, found this area both challenging and screaming for a new future. His project accepts that reducing the carbon producers in this area is presently futile and instead, he must design a new infrastructure that negates the carbon. Working with the diverse scales and conditions that highway interchanges create (above, below, and aside,) Ryan designed carbon collectors that can be attached or embedded into the current TX DOTD highway construction methods. These mushroom-capped collectors act like huge vacuums, sucking up the carbon monoxide emitted by the producers and processing the pollution internally. In conjunction with their technological duties, the S.C.U.M. (Smog Collecting Umbrella Mechanisms) towers signify the east gateway to the city of Arlington.

They create a dramatic and signature infrastructure identifying ARL, similar to the St. Louis Arch or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The “I can’t breathe because I won’t change” project may have been initiated from a toxic observation but in its conclusion, generates not only a healthier Arlington but also a more identifiable Arlington. 

This project was featured in a community exhibit for the City of Arlington.

Instagram: @emerymcclurearchitecture, @ryantuckerplayle

See you next week for the next installment of the Student Showcase!

2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part XVIII

Welcome to Part XVIII of the Study Architecture Student Showcase! Today, we take a look at student work that focuses on empowering women across the world, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Chicago. Each project addresses the systemic inequalities and marginalization women face and proposes architectural solutions to promote education, safe spaces, violence prevention, and the dismantling of colonial and patriarchal structures.

KUSHIRIKIANA: Une approche architecturale collaborative et résiliente supportant la prévention de la violence sexuelle à l’Est de la République Démocratique du Congo by Jonathan Kabumbe, M. Arch ‘23
Laurentian University – McEwen School of Architecture | Advisor: Dr. Emilie Pinard

Sexual violence against women and children in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo is a problem rooted in a long history of violence and raises a number of political, security, cultural, economic, and educational issues. The latter three issues relate specifically to discrimination against women, their economic vulnerability, and poor access to education. Social architecture provides the socio-economic and educational principles that can empower a community. Predominantly male, the building process expands these avenues specifically for women. This thesis explores how architecture, in particular the construction process, can contribute to transforming the image of women in order to support the prevention of sexual violence in Eastern Congo. The thesis revolves around the creation of an architectural guide for NGO development projects, and its application in the design of a women’s crafts and agriculture center in Businga, South Kivu province. (translated from the original French version) 

This thesis received the following accolades: 

– Thesis Commendation

– RAIC Student Medal

– RAIC Honour Roll

– AIA Academic Excellence Medal

– BTES Edward Allen Award (Medal)

– Ontario Association of Architects – Exceptional Leadership Through Design Excellence Scholarship: Equity, Diversity & Inclusion [$2500]

– Nominated by the School for the Canadian Architect magazine Student Awards of Excellence

Instagram: @jonathan_kabumbe

Women Inequality: A New Malala Center for Guatemala by Ariana Caquías-Acosta, B.Arch ‘23
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico | Advisors: Pedro A. Rosario-Torres & Juan C. Santiago-Colón

Women have been marginalized due to inequality, discrimination, and lack of opportunities. Through spaces, design, and architecture, we can provide opportunities and tools for women in these conditions to balance this disadvantage. The project seeks to generate an architecture that contributes to solving problems, with a focus on design in response to the specific needs of inequality towards disadvantaged women.

This research was conducted for Guatemala, the country with the highest rate of gender inequality in Latin America. Women represent 51% of the population, with a 62.5% rate of illiterate women. Statistically, 11% of girls and adolescents between 11 and 19 years of age have not received any formal education, representing the highest percentage of those who cannot read or write in the region.

The project expands on an existing Malala Center in the location, as an organization that seeks and prioritizes education and equal resources for women. Malala Centers have a program for the education of indigenous girls in Guatemala. The educational programs proposed by the centers are taught in indigenous languages and are based on indigenous culture reinforcing skills in favor of personal and socioeconomic development. The educational foundation Fe y Alegría, and the municipalities become stakeholders for this proposal.

The final objective of the Malala Center is to ensure the full and effective participation of women and girls and establish equal opportunities for leadership at all decision-making levels in political, economic, and public life.

Instagram: @caquiasacosta

Viaduct Housing by Tim Wood, B.A. in Architecture ‘23
University of Illinois at Chicago | Advisor: Alexander Eisenschmidt

In the blocks surrounding Douglass Park in Chicago, over 80% of households are led by single mothers. In addition to performing paid labor to financially support their families, these mothers also perform thirty hours of unpaid domestic labor for their families per week, leaving little time for rest, play, or personal development. This project proposes a monolithic housing collective that spans three city blocks, sitting on the viaduct of an unused rail line. Domestic labor is outsourced to dedicated programs that stretch into the surrounding neighborhood. Collective meals are hosted in the shared kitchen and dining facility, and an on-site cafe is open to both residents and the public. A laundry service takes dirty clothes and returns them washed and folded. Children are cared for at different ages in different facilities, with a nursery and daycare for young children, an after-school program for the nearby elementary and middle school, and a recreation center for older children. By freeing overburdened mothers from this domestic labor, they are able to rest, play, and nurture themselves and their children.

Instagram: @Eisenschmidt_a

Her Block by Phebe Davis, M. Arch ‘23
University of Oregon, School of Architecture and Environment | Advisor: Elisandra Garcia

Women experience gender-based violence all too often – whether it be psychological, physical, or sexual.

Violence against women exists in all sectors of our lives: violence in politics (laws restricting access to abortion and gender-affirming healthcare), violence in the workplace (unequal pay or sexual harassment), violence in healthcare (not being heard by healthcare providers), violence in education (being discouraged from pursuing ‘masculine’ fields, specifically those in STEM), and violence at home (domestic violence).

I am interested in what constitutes a safe space for women. If we can create safe spaces for women, those spaces will be safe for almost everyone.

Once safety is achieved, empowerment can begin. This is how we will combat the violence that we experience, by creating a space that instills confidence in young women to fight back against the violent, patriarchal society that we exist in.

I recognize that my project alone will not dismantle the patriarchal society in which we live, but will hopefully spark inspiration for others to try to design with women in mind.

This project was recognized as one of “10 selected projects by the University of Oregon – Dezeen Magazine”

Instagram: @phebedvs7, @_elistudio

The Sundarbans’ Heroines: Gender and Climate Change in Action by Farzana Hossain, B.Arch ‘23
Cornell University | Advisors: Lily Chi & Felix Heisel

“The Sundarbans’ Heroines: Gender and Climate Change in Action” presents a comprehensive framework that empowers women through various tools to promote sedimentation, nurture mangroves, and safeguard freshwater resources. These initiatives aim to support the cultivation of indigenous infrastructure built upon local practices of living and working with water. In doing so, this project raises essential questions: How can design empower communities to adapt to a changing landscape? How might the vernacular inform and contribute to systemic amelioration to facilitate those most vulnerable to the climate crisis? 

The Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta river in Bangladesh receives 1.2 billion tons of silt each year from the Himalayan glaciers. This silt is vital for 600 million people relying on the delta for freshwater. Mixing with the Bay of Bengal’s saltwater, it forms the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans. The British East India Company arrived in the 17th century and gradually extended its control over vast territories in the Indian subcontinent. Motivated by the strategic importance and abundant resources of the Sundarbans, the British colonial regime had a profound effect on the local population and the delicate ecology of the Sundarbans. While the locals celebrated the “Bonna” season, characterized by floods and silt deposition, the British aimed to control and manipulate these natural phenomena. Their interventions, such as clearing mangroves, constructing polders, and developing railroads, disrupted the annual cycle of silt deposition necessary for land elevation against rising sea levels. Consequently, silt accumulation diminished, leading to the obstruction of riverbeds. Inadequately designed polders exacerbated monsoon flooding, while saltwater intrusion damaged arable land during dry seasons.

Today, the degradation caused by colonial infrastructure is causing men to migrate to urban areas in search of employment, leaving rural women to bear the brunt of these environmental disasters.

This project won the Charles Goodwin Sands Memorial Award (Thesis Prize) 

Instagram: @felix.heisel

Jubilant Emigration by Alex Torres, B.Arch ‘23
Cornell University | Advisors: Peter Robinson Sydney Maubert

Set in the 1980s Salvadoran Civil War, this investigation starts with acknowledging the history of violence against trans female sex workers who made their living tending to military soldiers of the time in La Praviana, San Salvador. With the continued need for trans female sex workers to escape violence today, this thesis calls for the reactivation of the Salvadoran National Railway that will serve as a moving infrastructure that mobilizes queer bodies away from harm. The site of intervention is an antique railcar of the national railway, known in English as “The Silver Bullet”. This intervention will transform the interior railcar into a place for rest, utility, sex, empathy, and celebration. 

This semester-long thesis culminated into an exhibition that lasted for a week inside the Sibley Hall basement, room B56.

See you next week for the next installment of the Student Showcase!

2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part XV

Welcome to Part XV of the Study Architecture Student Showcase! Healthcare and Well-Being are the central themes of today’s highlighted student work. The projects below demonstrate how intentionality around design and architecture can support the well-being of society, playing an essential role in everyday life. Today, we dive into pieces that reinforce dwelling through spatial culture and reimagine architecture through the lens of a matriarchal community in rural Uganda. Viewers can explore project plans for a site in Puerto Rice that serves as a creative and cultural therapy center. And a classroom designed with adaptive design elements and sensory-friendly features to support neurodiverse and disabled students. Read on for more details!

Made with Matriarchs: Crafting Heritage-Oriented Futures with the Karamojong by Ethan Walker, M.Arch ‘23
Lawrence Technological University | Advisors: Scott Shall (Committee Chair), Joonsub Kim (Member), and Edward Orlowski (Member)

In the rural northeast of Uganda, the ethnic Karamojong are experiencing unprecedented pressures to change their ways of life (Knighton, 2017). As semi-nomadic pastoralists, these peoples are dependent on the health of their herds which is contingent on the health of their ancestral lands. Studies show that land health has deteriorated due to climate change, overgrazing and lack of mobility producing a vulnerability context that has attracted international attention. Interventions by foreign actors and the national government have attempted to improve public health while making recurring calls to transform Karamojong culture away from pastoralism towards sedentism and farming (Dbins, 2013). While appropriate in particular cases, the overwhelming call to cultural transformation could be at odds with the capabilities of the land, potentially undermining the pastoral ways of life. These globalizing influences extend beyond policy-making and have fundamentally altered the process of architectural production and construction in the region.

In response, this thesis proposes an iterative, heritage-based approach to design and construction, crafted to mitigate the increasingly harmful effects of globalization upon the traditionally semi-nomadic societies of northern Uganda. In this approach, alternative futures are imagined by reconsidering the role of the architect in relation to the pre-colonial keepers of the built environment; the Matriarchs. When working within this alternative arrangement, architects would work responsively with Matriarchs, lengthening the process of interaction in favor of a responsive design methodology that strengthens the Matriarchs’ power of architectural self-determination. Strategies to equip pastoralist architecture with greater autonomy are imagined, proposed and filtered through a Matriarch-led process to determine what is appropriated, effective and ultimately in the best interest of their desired way of life.

Instagram: @ewalke_ , @scott_shall

This project was selected for the ARCC King Medal and won the LTU Deans Award – Best Project.

Home Grown: Reimagining Dwelling Through Spatiaculture by Devin Derr, M.Arch ‘23
Lawrence Technological University | Advisors: Scott Shall (Chair), Dan Faoro (Member), and Sara Codarin (Member)

To dwell is to feel at home in a space that: maintains nature (both human and non-human), provides protection, freedom, and peace, and implies a general intent to remain (Heidegger, 1971). To inhabit is to view both house and land as mere assets of monetary value. Without dwelling, people can feel uprooted or disconnected from their homes, and the home itself can disrupt or compromise the ecosystem that hosts it. Unfortunately, home design in the U.S. rarely makes dwelling a priority and often glorifies investment-centric metrics to increase profits and value of the land-stances that encourage inhabitation.

Dwelling not only demands a balance between human-created and naturally occurring environments, but also the simultaneous improvement of both. To achieve dwelling many ancient cultivation practices like permaculture, horticulture, silviculture, and arboriculture are necessary. These practices have a central focus on maintaining and improving natural environments because the benefits they reap directly rely on the natural environment’s well-being. If architecture leverages the 17,000 years of ecological knowledge that these fields have generated, then true protection, freedom, support, peace, and balance may begin to take root (Rasmussen, Wayne D., et al., 2022). Using trees and other living botanicals as a source of structure and enclosure, this thesis aims to trade inhabitation and its associated ailments for an architecture that is quite literally cultivated and alive. There is currently an imbalance of the built and natural environments caused by the commodification of land and architecture, which is best addressed with dwelling reinforced through spatial culture. To investigate this proposition, an extrapolative study of Spatiaculture Dwellings will be applied to several environment and ecosystem types and then analyzed on their performance using the qualifiers that define dwelling.

Instagram: @scott_shall

Newson Conservatory of Music by Jacob Lindley, B.Arch ‘23
Mississippi State University | Advisors: Jassen Callender and Mark Vaughan

I am fascinated with the analytical, poetic, and metaphorical connections between music and architecture. This can only resonate with someone if they understand how to read music. There are so many other connections besides simple scripting, though. Making one of those connections evident to people is important to me: so that more of the world can physically connect something that is so familiar in some genre or another [music] to the way we experience “city,” certainly a city that has a rich history in the blues music. I believe that our world needs more positive influence, particularly in the physical realm. I have and continue to believe that architecture can allow us to aid in the effort to foster positive environments. Architecture should enhance our planet and meet the needs of a society that will make a lasting impression for generations. This is my legacy. In humility, we walk and observe that around us to understand the psyche – that true reflection can be obtained through the simplest of measures.

Architecture should remind you who you are. Architecture is dependent upon the individual and the landscape as its sources of life. It should be a mechanism for empowering, and supportive in its greatest capacity of manifesting life – not only life physically, but life that is generated in the psychological realm too. The rituals of daily life inform the architecture of its role in that support, and, in return, the architecture celebrates the best in life, the individual.

This project was awarded the first place CDFL Capstone Travel Award

Instagram: @jakewlindley, @jassencallender

San・Arte: Art as a Healing Tool by Glorivette Correa, B.Arch ‘23
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico | Advisors: J. Omar García Beauchamp & Pedro A. Rosario-Torres

The global mental health system is deteriorating, so much so that a large part of the population suffering from a mental disorder does not receive the necessary treatment or any type of help, due to lack of information, insecurity, fear of discrimination or lack of services. While the population served is limited to a general traditional treatment, which in many cases is not the help they need. For this reason, the objectives of this project are to expand the traditional medicine market, by developing new spaces that focus on providing other treatment alternatives (such as artistic-creative therapies), and explore the architectural capabilities that can be achieved together with art and nature, to meet the appropriate conditions in a space to provide these therapies.

This project focuses on the island of Puerto Rico, specifically in the town of Ponce. San・Arte’s proposal aims to develop a center focused on arts, culture and healing. A Cultural and Artistic Creative Therapy Center is then created to positively serve the community and the people. A place that helps raise awareness and educate people about mental health. The center offers four different therapies: art therapy, dance-movement therapy, music therapy and drama therapy. The center also has spaces for artists, theater (indoor and outdoor), and an intensive creative retreat which serves as a safe space away from everyday life and where professionals or those who attend (not necessarily artists) can once again feel inspired, motivated and creative. The center also has different green areas such as terraces and an aromatherapy garden, thus providing different semi-public and semi-private spaces. The number of people who need psychological assistance continues to grow. The arts are an excellent communication tool that also helps us to connect with other people and that is what this proposal seeks.

Instagram: @glorivette_correa

Designing Outside the Lines for Neurodiverse Children by Monica Higbee, M.Arch ‘23
University of Idaho | Advisor: Hala Barakatu

The number of children with developmental disabilities or that are neurodiverse that live within the United States is a rising number. Children aged 3 through 17 are stripped of equitable opportunities within early learning environments and are often filtered through the education system with little to no accommodations for learning or independence in the built environment.

My aim for this project is to systematically identify adaptive design elements and sensory-friendly features that can improve the average classroom and promote independence for individuals with disabilities or who are neurodiverse in the built environment. In doing this, I also aim to find and develop a learning environment that changes the negative attitudes towards disabilities and teaches others how to better adapt the built environment to everyone regardless of ability or disability.

Instagram: @monicahigbee, @halahb2

Architectural Neural AgilityVisions of Architecture through SensationPerceptionand Self by Skyler Howell, M. Arch ‘23
University of Idaho | Advisor: Hala Barakat

How do we know that our fundamental beliefs of this world are our own? The problem is that the lack of “freedom of will” influences our neurological synaptic pathways; these pathways are strengthened or eliminated passively based of our individual experiences. Frascari was hinting at this notion when he stated, “Just as we think architecture with our bodies, we think our bodies through architecture.” Our vision of reality exists through our nervous systems ability to sense and perceive our environment. Paying attention to perceptions makes way for our nervous system to produce conscious or unconscious thoughts; thoughts can provoke emotions, and exists not only within the present, but memories of the past, and visions of the future. 

This project explores the way our nervous system builds reality through sensations like sight, touch, hearing, and smell while filtering stored object-oriented information known as “schema.” According to Edelman, “Our neural networks are a deeply embodied phenomenon that leads to architectural genesis.”

 

In order to break free from traditional architectural design-thinking, this project proposes a new vision of architecture by actively stimulating neuroplasticity. We need to evoke our nervous systems’ ability to adapt through deliberate actions allowing architects to break free from our existing paths. Translating the architectural design-thinking process by creating new models of an action-oriented “architectural neural-agility” within architectural-genesis.

Instagram:  @ponyboysky, @halahb2

Communal Healing by Tanner Mote, B.Arch ‘23
Ball State University | Advisors: Robert Koester and Sarah Keogh

Younger generations want to live in cities and yet most neighborhoods are afflicted by limited housing choices, disconnection from food sources and public transportation, and often are also dangerous environments for pedestrians. These problems have made existing neighborhoods undesirable. So, how can neighborhoods be systemically redeveloped to address current concerns so that they don’t become exacerbated in the future?

This project proposes the strategic implementation of infill housing and urban food production in the redevelopment of existing neighborhoods. The McKinley neighborhood in Muncie, Indiana was chosen as the location to test this thesis. Initial designs create additional housing that offers different living opportunities, from single-family dwellings to accessory dwelling units. Each design enables
residents to grow their own food via raised beds or vertical towers in an incorporated greenhouse. The ability to be self-sufficient and the visibility of food production will educate and inspire the community and promote continued progression toward sustainable living. Later phases could provide the neighborhood with varying scales of community spaces such as shared gardens, food markets, and education centers to attract and support community members. These latter phases will also have to address existing patterns of public transportation and correlated pedestrian paths for better connectivity.

See you next week for the next installment of the Student Showcase!

2023 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part XI

Welcome back to another week of the Study Architecture Student Showcase! In Week XI, we highlight student projects that use space as an avenue to create equitable community resources. From neighborhood civic buildings to multi-faceted housing units, this week’s featured projects address bridging societal gaps and emphasize the importance of creating opportunities for social interaction and dialogue between diverse communities. By taking a look at the projects below, you will learn how each student project proposes a space that promotes inclusivity and fosters community connections.

Center for Tolerance by Rebecca Dejenie, B.Arch‘23
The Boston Architectural College | Advisors: Peter Martin and Robert Gillig

This design imagines the Roxbury Crossing station as a free station as it becomes a new node for the city of Boston. The Center for Tolerance is a civic building that would allow different activities from music studios, makerspaces, food court, material exchange library, multi-purpose classrooms, exhibits, offices, studios, therapy clinics, and meditation spaces, to gardens with seats to encourage users to sit and converse with one another. As the site is located on the border of two neighborhoods, it will provide a spatial bridge for people from different backgrounds to come together to heal. This building will be used as a resource for all – especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. This building is a representation of what equity in the built environment can look like.

This project was awarded the Best of B. Arch Degree Project 2023.

Dis-Luxury from Luxury: Inequality Brought by Consumerism and Luxury Reimagining by Eduardo A. Caraballo-Arroyo B.Arch ‘23
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico | Advisors: Pedro A. Rosario-Torres, Luis V. Badillo-Lozano & Manuel De Lemos-Zuazaga

In Curitiba, Brazil, an architectural project is reimagining luxury and addressing social division to foster a community that values inclusivity, sustainability, and social equity. By challenging the pursuit of material wealth and status, this project aims to create an inclusive society where individuals feel fulfilled and valued. The project recognizes that luxury is often associated with abundance and comfort but can lead to marginalization, inequality, scarcity, and disconnection within communities. In a capitalist and consumerist society, luxury is marketed as an asset of ease and comfort, perpetuating social divisions and excluding those who cannot afford it. To address this problem, the architectural project seeks to interconnect both ends of the wealth spectrum through spaces that foster communication, action, and self-development.

The objective is to design an urban-social space that combines the rewards and necessities derived from luxury. This space offers physiological resources, developmental opportunities, a sense of belonging, and luxurious experiences, becoming a social equalizer and a support system for the community. By emphasizing the emotions associated with luxury, such as power, confidence, security, and contemplation/enjoyment, the project creates spaces for interactions and community communication. Elements such as small-scale farming, community/cultural integration, open spaces for social and community activities, and emancipatory and cultural educational spaces are included in the program. The project also aims to reduce limitations by embracing degrowth and minimalist systems.

The main strategy revolves around luxury as an emotional reaction. Luxury consumption triggers psychological responses associated with trust, power, contentment, and security. The architectural design incorporates pathways and axes that lead towards focus areas, lifting the first level and creating porous volumes to enhance openness and connection. Strategically positioned openings offer views towards the focus areas, creating voids and spaces that provide experiential and spatial experiences. By implementing this design, the project aims to address luxury inequality, foster social cohesion, and create spaces that promote inclusivity, equal access to resources, and a sense of well-being for all members of society. Through its transformative power, this project challenges conventional notions of luxury and redefines its role in creating a more connected and equitable world.

Instagram: @_eaca23

Kordilyera Vernacular Inspired Interpretive Center in Paradise Hills, San Diego by Greco Cosente, B. Arch ‘23
NewSchool of Architecture and Design |Advisor: Raúl Díaz

With historical and cultural aspects of Paradise Hills being mainly single-family dwellings from the 1950s and its relation to the military, specifically the navy, a demographic group of the Filipino population has emerged throughout the years. Generic designs of suburban parks do not cater to the needs of the current population. In an attempt to advance green space, park designs drawing from culture with the architectural language of pavilions are explored. The project caters to bridging the gap between community park design and Filipino residents through a Kordilyera-inspired Interpretive Center in Paradise Hills, San Diego; A reinstitution of cultural identity for U.S.-born Filipino-Americans.

The project was awarded the Outstanding Design Award – Degree Project.

U Belong: A New Live/Work Housing Prototype by Jada Rezac and Margaret Phillips, M. Arch ‘23
Kansas State University |Advisor: Zhan Chen – Assistant Professor

The current housing crisis in the US challenges architecture to address a critical need while presenting the opportunity to propose new solutions. The studio, titled: In With the New, operates as a laboratory in which to explore innovative possibilities for multi-family living. Students design new models that reframe housing as a multi-faceted domain, able to navigate various scenarios and support diverse communities.

Jada and Margaret’s project responds to the evolving needs of contemporary living by integrating residential units and workspaces. The project uses a calibrated arrangement of U-shaped modules to create new possibilities for both living and working.

The unit clusters maintain a high degree of porosity, which allows more access to natural light and promotes cross ventilation. These considerations enhance human comfort and productivity while presenting an innovative strategy for improving the overall health of its inhabitants.

The relationship between living and working units and their arrangement also seeks to alleviate social isolation. The units are grouped into smaller neighborhoods, fostering familiarity and more meaningful social interactions. Communal spaces within these neighborhoods and intersecting circulation paths also help build a stronger sense of community within a large complex.

The project was nominated for the Nominated for the Heintzelman Prize at Kansas State University.

Instagram: @jadarezac ; @margaret_rose_phillips ; @studiozhan

See you next week for the next installment of the Student Showcase!

2022 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part II

We are back with week two of the 2022 Student Thesis Showcase featuring six more projects from schools across the US and Canada! This week’s projects explore the intersection of architecture and feminism as well as gender. If you missed it, make sure to check out Part I of this series.

We will be sharing these projects on Instagram at @studyarchitecture and @imadethat_ so let us know what you think there.

WINDS OF CHANGE by Leila Ghasemi, M.Arch ’22
Southern California Institute of Architecture | Advisor: Elena Manferdini

Do we have the capacity as architects to influence politics and bring social changes?
Does architecture still have a utopian agency to shape our future societies?

This thesis addresses Iran’s current situation, particularly the social injustice against women, by using architecture’s tools and analytical strategies through space, objects, videos, sounds, lights, materials, projection mapping, and the medium of dance to explore the role of new spaces of protests in social activism. Since Iran’s 1979 Revolution, Women have long faced legal, political, economic, and social challenges in Iran. Women are not allowed to work specific jobs, polygamy has become legal, and women have lost the right to divorce. For 43 years, Iranian women have not been allowed to express themselves through their bodies. The Islamic Republic mandated wearing a head covering, or hijab, in public. All females are required to cover their hair and dress modestly from puberty. Women cannot take off their compulsory hijab, cannot sing solo, cannot ride a bike, cannot dance.

Women have no place to protest and defend their human rights and make their voices heard against this cruelty. This thesis tries to create an opportunity to express dissent away from government surveillance or the immediate threat of police action. This thesis establishes a platform for activism and self-expression through the human body and tests the capacity of utopia (Hypothetical utopias) and activism in space. The platform for activism is an installation that includes an open inner space as a raised stage surrounded by an outer corridor, which together portrays and enacts women’s activism and government. The outer corridor is dark and narrow enough that people must enter it one at a time. There is a path with live google earth mapping of Azadi street in Iran where projected on the ground and pictures and videos of the 1979 Iran revolution on the wall that show we should move beyond this history. The inner space includes black fabrics offset from walls to create a dark area with a black box in the center where dancers perform. A camera hangs above the box to film dancers performing as live broadcasts are projected on the three black screens, and simultaneously, their expression through the camera is broadcast live to the whole world.

Iran’s government forbids all forms of activism (social, political, environmental). This multidisciplinary approach uses tools from architecture and dance to do more than each can do in isolation; it connects spatial strategies of architecture and the critical capacities of dance. This project will enact and empower the Iranian women protesting the mandatory hijab. The thesis creates a utopia, a fantasy reality, a truth that is not true, an act of optimism that shows something does not exist yet but could exist if we wanted it. This project will enact a piece of good news in this impossible situation in Iran through women’s choreographers to present the reality of the current situation in Iran and create a desire for the change we need to build. This is a revolution, through architecture and women’s body expression, to create a platform to protest for Iranian women’s activists, which could be developed everywhere, and people worldwide could see and hear them.

Watch Leila’s thesis presentation

Instagram: @leilaghasemi.la, @sciarc_manferdini

Architectural Design Strategies in Reentry Facilities: Post-Incarceration by Carly Chavez, M.Arch ’22
University of Florida | Advisor: Lisa Huang

The U.S. has one of the highest recidivism rates in the world. The population of women in prisons is rapidly increasing and thus creating gender-specific problems. Addressing these problems is often difficult because attention is focused on male inmates representing the majority prison population. All individuals, post-incarceration require housing, education, and work opportunity; however, research shows that women have a higher need for reintegration with the community and regaining custody of their children. Research also shows that the application of gender-informed policies is effective in reducing the recidivism rate. This acknowledges that men and women have different needs, and policy should address and respond to those differences. This project examines the conditions for women before, during, and after incarceration. The objective is to understand the gender-specific needs of women, what problems are being addressed, and how. Then, develop design strategies for women’s reentry facilities after incarceration. Ultimately, the research intends to contribute to the effort of reducing the number of women returning to prison, and to define the prominent external forces impacting women released from prison. This project focused on understanding these forces and the problems created to identify which issues can be translated into a solution in the built environment. This research proposes a multi-faceted women’s transitional facility as a building typology to support the effort to reduce recidivism.

There is an abrupt transition for incarcerated women as they finish their prison sentence, ultimately contributing to a higher likelihood to repeat offenses. Generally, this is the result of a lack of support for helping women transition into “normal” life. This project establishes that the architecture of transitional programs should reflect the specific needs of women to create an environment conducive to successful reentry into society. How does the architecture of transitional facilities change when children, community, and skill development are incorporated as part of the solution? This research advocates for a gradual reuniting of women with their children that parallels other efforts necessary to reintegrate women into the community. The architecture to support this program must establish the facility as a connection to the community with a focus on developing relationships between women, their children, and the community.

Architecture in Drag by Michael Evola, M.Arch ’22
Toronto Metropolitan University | Advisor: Marco Polo

Through imitation and parody, Architecture in Drag challenges architecture’s identity. “/” is an imitation of a building, a ballroom and a home. Situated in New York City, the birthplace of modern drag culture, / begins by separating and interconnecting two rowhouses through a horizontal structural grid. From the grid, all of its characters (program and circulation), are hung and interconnected through fluid architectonics. By hanging its characters, / removes the ground on which architecture rests upon. In its place, a series of fluid spaces affect the other. In this manner, space is boundless, inviting and encompassing. Similarly, / invites its audiences to customize it. Although its characters are organized within a grid, this, like the power of the grid within architecture is a false truth. Thanks to its semi-fixed industrial characters, all of /’s characters are free to be moved and be re-arranged Thereby, / has exactly half a plan. The industrial connections enabling this feature are appropriated from their intended use, like the appropriated fixtures drag performers utilize to re-arrange their identities. No material should be off-limit in the construction of architectural ideas. Moreover, no idea should be considered non-architectural. Architecture in Drag challenges the ground defining truths within abstractions such as architecture and gender. / is the byproduct of this challenge, it is a performance of architectural ‘truths’ parodied as fluid.

Instagram: @mikeevola

A Gender-Based Violence Architecture: Protection and Empowerment of Women by Isamar Collazo, B.Arch ’22
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico | Advisor: Pedro A. Rosario

Currently, there is a lack of places to protect female victims of domestic violence, focusing on self-help programs to assist them in becoming independent and reintegrating into society. The existing shelters isolate women from their environment, which makes the transition process difficult during reintegration into their context. Therefore, this project aims to protect female victims by promoting their independence through therapies, workshops, housing, and recreational activities so that they may have the necessary tools to return to the outside world. Also, most of the women that report the most cases are mothers of two or more children.

This project will allow the mother to be with her children by providing safe spaces for education and play areas for the kids. Creating a space close to their context will enable them to reduce the sense of isolation they experience while receiving the help they may need. Some of the site selection criteria were: to locate the project in densely populated areas, locate where there are more reported cases and where there is a lack of nearby shelters. The project is located in El Salvador due to the fact that it has the highest number of femicides (female-focused homicides) per capita among Latin American countries. Research shows 6.8 per 100,000 women, which represents 435 femicides per year. Most of these incidents have been reported in the capital city, Santa Tecla, San Salvador.

Dismantling the Architecture of Othering: Queer Reclamations of Space by Minette Murphy, M.Arch ’22
Carleton University | Advisor: Piper Bernbaum

This thesis positions itself around the opposing forces of architectural normativity and queer spatial production. It investigates heteronormativity and its spatial manifestations, in order to engage in the practice of queering space as an act of resistance. By researching the heteronormative order, and typologies such as the public toilet and the private home, it seeks to demonstrate architecture’s complicity in the process of othering queer bodies. Applying a norm-critical perspective to spatial phenomena, it encourages architects to divest from contributing to this form of spatial violence.

Next, it explores the act of queering as a contestation of the normative order through design. Continuing to dismantle various facets of heteronormative spatial production, six design explorations consider the body through a multi-scalar approach. As the site where queerness is initially produced, the body is where all contestations must begin. The first question ‘what is the body?’ deconstructs the normative body which forms the basis of all architectural standards in order to explore the concept of a fluid and relational body. The second ‘what is the layered body?’ analyzes the heteronormative imposition of meaning on clothing and the spatial implications of layer, while subverting both through costume. The third ‘what is the shared body?’ questions the privatization of the body and its various functions, and proposes opening private spaces up to new experiences. The fourth ‘what is the protected body?’ investigates spatial conditions that limit the safety of queer people, and mobilizes mechanisms innovated by the heteronormative order against itself. The fifth ‘what is the worshipped body?’ reflects on the abjection of queerness and implants queer rituals of joy into places that prohibited them. Finally, the sixth ‘what is the transcendent body?’ recounts moment of queer world building, and engages in open-ended experimentations of queer futurity. Throughout the whole document, this thesis seeks to question, reveal, subvert, and transform. Ultimately it will conclude that there is no one way to ‘queer.’ In all its forms, ‘queering’ is a practice of resisting normativity that should be embedded in the architectural practice of all.

Instagram: @minetteyo, @piperb

Offerings and Inheritances: Reconstructing Altars for Queer Vietnamese Kin by Thompson Cong Nguyen, M.Arch ’22
Carleton University | Advisor: Piper Bernbaum

How do we offer our selves – as diasporic, queer, Vietnamese families in settler-colonial Canada – to honour our ancestral kinship ties while creating space for new, authentic rituals and traditions? ‘Offerings and Inheritances for Queer Vietnamese Kin’, my architectural thesis at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University, Ottawa, investigates how practices of ancestral worship are performed in everyday sites scaled to the body, the street and the nightclub. This involved multi-modal and multi-scalar artistic explorations of offerings and identities which prompted the design of three new altars fitted to a suitcase, an urban storefront and a queer clubbing event. Each altar offers new fields of inquiry that embrace the mess of queer diasporic identities and affect how space is conventionally created through architectural design. This process invites designers, scholars, and queer, diasporic kinfolk to collectively reconstruct new practices of belonging for our ancestors, kin and our multi-adjectival selves.

Instagram: @thompydraws, @piperb

Check back next week for Part III of the Study Architecture Student Showcase.