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Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part IX

Welcome back to Part IX of the Study Architecture Student Showcase! This week we focus on production systems in the built environment and how architects can reimagine those infrastructure systems to improve not just our economy but also the climate crisis. As we consider how to improve our rail systems, meet a nationwide housing demand and address the issues globalization has created around the globe, this week’s contributors shed light on solutions and areas that need our attention.

Incase you missed past installments, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII and Part VIII.

Post-Industrial Landscapes: Amplifying Existing Food Systems in Chicago’s Chinatown by Juanita Li, M.Arch ’22
University of Maryland | Advisor: Brittany Williams

Cities have long grappled with how to feed their populations. Globalization allowed cities to supply food and grow beyond ecological limits. During Industrialization, global networks expanded in capacity with the advent of rail, eroding a city’s tie to surrounding agricultural land. Rail was the genesis of Chicago’s expansion into a major urban center. When the rail system was elevated, rail lines and yards spanning many city blocks scarred and carved the city. One neighborhood bounded and constrained by active and remnant rail structures is Chinatown.

This project proposes a contextual response for a productive, post-industrial urban site, drawn from an historical review of Chicago’s rail history, Chinatown’s identity, and a typological food system analysis. Food is central to Chinatown’s identity as a destination, since food generates economic activity as a raw and crafted, cultural good. The neighborhood is food rich despite high poverty rates. Chinatown’s immediate spatial context is constrained by active rail lines, idle container yards, and major expressways, obstructing neighborhood growth.

An idled rail container storage yard severs Chinatown. Extending for over 3 city blocks within Chinatown, this 18-foot-high concrete embankment sees active commuter rail activity. The low-rise residential area to the east has no visibility of the low- and mid-rise mixed-use area to the west. Viaducts through the embankment are 445 ft long tunnels, creating a further spatial separation. The challenging edge and tunnel conditions emphasize the spatial separation and require design solutions that soften and blur the division. The proportions of the site do not suggest that a rails-to-trails proposal is a viable solution.

Extending Chinatown’s robust food system becomes an opportunity to amplify the existing conditions, provide needed green space and economic opportunities, and create additional points of connection for the neighborhood outside of its boundaries. An 18-foot-high concrete, idled rail container yard spanning three-and-a-half city blocks is transformed into a place where Chinese food culture cultivates community and connection through its craft and consumption. The solution preserves the industrial and cultural identity of the site, maintains active rail, and can serve as a model for a diverse urban food system at multiple scales.

A Fabrication Process: Form from Assembly and Material Culture by Erin M. Paul, M.Arch ’22
Hampton University | Advisor: Carmina Sanchez-del-Valle & Marci Turner

If we put aside building types and formal styles, to consider the material culture and the ways in which we make, we will encounter forms that break with the traditional. Those that we impose now respond to a perception of a world preserved by rules that maintain a kind of aesthetic stasis. In architecture, designing for the materials and for construction, will deliver forms that will be more representative of who we are, than if we work by imposing them. Materials, ways of building, and the conditions of the digital can generate new forms.

This research is driven by the exploration of form through small scale physical models. The study models varied depending on the size of the base used to generate form – the site. Forms were also determined by the dimensions and qualities of modeling materials and their joints.

The research plan consisted of three phases. The first “Methods of Building” explored the structure for form. 2D and 3D grids and meshes were used to define boundaries. The second “Material Value” investigated shaping materials using gravity, applied loads, tension and compression, in both wet and dry conditions. The third “Contextual Domains” transposed a selection of the physical forms created into the digital adding scale and mass, and defining architectural components.

The design research made it possible to “see” gaps found in the representation of building components and their assembly into wholes. We make intricate drawings and struggle to translate them into the buildable. There is a disconnection between what we illustrate, and what is actually built. The research made tangible that what seems as very simple physical form, when transposed into the digital, becomes extremely complex and geometrized. Also, new forms appear. Building “know how” connects assembly possibilities to material potential. Form is always affected by the qualities of material.

SNAP! homes by Simon Needham, B.Arch ’22
University of Cincinnati | Advisor: Whitney Hamaker

SNAP! homes reimagines the Case Study house as a catalogue of precast modular systems of home components that ship on-site in addition to a mobile pod system which snaps to host structures and moves among sites. 3 options are given, allowing for a range of lifestyle choices for the consumer at varying scales. The whole proposal is streamlined with a website that users can order their home from.

The H-01 and H-02 homes are constructed from multiple precast concrete modules sandwiching a layer of insulation. Each module encases a programmatic element that the user may purchase or omit from their home. After the modules are chosen, users may swap the layout orientation of the modules, creating customized living spaces tailored to the user’s preference. Once the modules are chosen, the user picks the interior partition wall colors, adding another layer to the customization of the home. After the home is ordered, it is trucked to site and assembled quickly, as all of the interior elements have already been installed. The H-01 and H-02 homes range from just over 400 sq. ft. up to 1750 sq. ft.

The P-01 option from the SNAP! homes catalogue is the host module and mobile pod. The host module is again formed from precast concrete modules. This will contain the necessities for living (not found in the mobile pod) such as access to water, electric, bathrooms, a kitchen, and living area. This structure gives the ability for 6 pods to be hosted at once by easily snapping them into place. The mobile pod contains the user’s sleep and work spaces with ample personal storage in the thick wall. The exterior is clad in corrugated metal, while the interior walls contain CNC-milled sanded plywood panels that aid in dampening sound from the exterior. This allows for a peaceful interior as a quiet space is necessary for work sessions and sleeping. With the mobile pod, the user may choose to move their pod to a new host location as they please, not getting tied down to the same scenery or setting.

Instagram: @needham_arch, @daapsaid

Make Fashion Make Sense by Adriana G. González, B.Arch ’22
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico | Advisor: Pedro A. Rosario and Juan Emmanuelli

Fast fashion consumption has led to companies making new items more frequently, which has proven to lead to a higher percentage of discarded clothes accumulated in landfills, making the fashion industry the second largest polluter in the world. The approach of the industry to today’s increasing amount of consumption has weakened its own sustainability.

Therefore, the goal was to create a production network through a program that covers all the stages of the life of a garment (from design, to fabrication, to retail, to recycling the materials, and so on). This way, a circular cycle is created to reduce the costs of importation, and the amount of waste generated, to promote local sustainable clothing, and to enable accessibility to all spectrums of consumers.

The project, located along New York’s Garment District, consists of eight floors that showcase each phase with framed extrusions that are visible from its exterior. Its visitors start the journey with a display area that demonstrates through art the reality of the fashion industry. A level dedicated to retail follows. The third floor has a double-height runway area, which is the main focus of the East elevation with its lit up space being front and center for the pedestrians to admire the show from afar. An open activity area on the fourth floor creates a transition between the public levels below and the private ones that commence from that point on. The fifth floor has the fabrication/manufacturing area with another double-height open space for the workers to be comfortable and receive a considerable amount of natural light. The remaining floors are used for research, processing, educational and administrative purposes. Transformed into an outdoor area, the roof includes extensive gardens and solar panels placed to create smaller roofed spaces at the top. Lastly, a perforated mesh envelope clothes the structure with a weaving-like pattern. With buildings like this, hopefully a safer and healthier setting is generated for the fashion industry to make sense.

EVERYDAYLAND: Living within Disney’s Chemical Spectacle by Rocio Crosetto Brizzio, M.Arch ’22
Columbia University | Advisor: Mark Wasiuta

Chemicals and spectacle are indivisible elements in Disney World. Despite the persistent image of “purity” and “cleanliness” that Disney projects, it depends on and adds to the chemical components that shape contemporary life. Disney is part of our chemical modernity.

So, what if instead of hiding its chemicals, we render them visible?
Then, what would it be like to actually live within Disney’s fireworks? To be consciously part of that chemical experience?

Everydayland is a housing project at the center of Magic Kingdom, at Disney World Florida. It is a tower for long-term life at the center of Disney’s entertainment.

Everydayland rearranges Disney’s fireworks, so that they become a crucial component of everyday life, and through this it exposes their chemical condition and its presence in our culture.

By associating the fireworks with the castle, Disney makes chemical entertainment a fantasy, like Tinkerbell’s magic dust. Everydayland Tower both allows Disney fans to live this fantasy by literally making the castle a home. But at the same time it also shifts the chemical dimension of the fireworks from the world of fantasy into the real world – so it provides a fantasy and “de-fantasizes” at the same time.

Everydayland is formed by 5 main elements:

1- The Castle is Everydayland’s Lobby.
2- The Roller Coaster is its Real Estate best-selling machine.
3- The Atrium is a high-rise attraction
4- The Facade is the new fireworks launching site
5- The Domestic Life is completely immersed in the fireworks’ spectacle.

Fireworks, chemical entertainment, toxicity, fantasies, utopias, dystopias, bodies and materials configure a complex network in which Everydayland emerges as a radical way of living that acknowledges that chemicals and toxicity are part of our life – and they keep us entertained.

The dream to live in “the happiest place on earth” is now possible. If fantasy becomes real, would it still be fantastic?

Instagram: @rocrosetto, @balsa.crosetto.piazzi

Grids as a foundation by Jing-Ying Su, M.Arch ’22
Cranbrook Academy of Art | Advisor: Gretchen Wilkins

The grids: a set of horizontal and vertical lines. “The Grid Book” tells the story of the evolution of each grid from the handmade brick through the ethereal Internet in the language of a generalist to modernist boxes of architecture. The persistence of grids demonstrates that once a grid is invented, it never disappears.

Grids are the foundation of our understanding. We identify things in the world by building a line between me and the object. When things start to get complicated, the grid becomes a network that recognizes myself and various objects. The moment people realize the existence of the grid triggers our desire to understand.

In my project, I built a subtle grid in nature. The grid system in nature is unimportant to the viewers, but the project questions this unimportance by constructing a subtle grid foundation to reveal the uncertain relationship between nature and human existence. During the observation, the viewers disassociate with themselves, wandering in the grids as the mediator to arise their awareness of the movement of shadows, the reflection of sunlight, and the sound of wind. We exist in that moment. The hereness.

Instagram: @su780213, @grtnwilkins

Laves Twist by Gelmira Gourgel, Peiyao Guo, Allissa Gonga, and Chase Gasser, B.Arch ’22
University of Cincinnati | Advisor: Christoph Klemmnt

The Laves Twist is a bipartite capstone project which explores and researches the possibilities of the grid-based design by computational algorithms and its prospects of allowing for the repetition of componential geometries. (I) Using the Plesiohedron Laves Grid, which is a cluster of the 17-sided module that by a 4-rotational gesture allows for its multiplication and growth in all 17 directions, creating infinite possibilities on its aggregational exercises. Further, through the voxelization of the Laves Grid, the Laves Twist was born. In which translates to the elaboration of a precast concrete component that was derived within the 17-sided module. As a result, the generation of the growing structure entity. (II) Thus, with this connection system created using the Laves grid technology, each team member was to proceed to the next part individually to explore this connection system within different architectural programmatic exercises. With the Laves Twist connection system + the problem of how to infer its application to different programs, algorithms were developed to explore the potential of the system in the creation of whole structures, façade systems, architecture interventions, and cite climatic impact. Opening thought for growing entities grid systems as a design architectural medium.

The Laves Twist team won the Director’s Choice Award at the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning’s DAAPWorks 2022 showcase under the B.S. Architecture Group Project category (https://daapworks.uc.edu/2022/directors’-choice). It was also displayed in the Reed Gallery Director’s Choice Award 2022 Summer Exhibition. (more of the Laves Twist project in this video) https://youtu.be/OahLyaSw1Gw

Instagram: @gourartch, @chaseg25, @gpei.yao, @alissa_gonda, @orproject

Data, Interstellar & Romance / The BIO-TECH Facility in the Universe in 2069 by Man Shu, M.Arch ’22
Southern California Institute of Architecture | Advisor: Damjan Jovanovic

In 1969, humans landed on the moon for the first time. In 2069, humans established the first BIO-TECH facility that simulates the cosmos’s environment, preparing for their colonization of other planets in the universe. This BIO-TECH facility is no longer a conventional building on the earth. It is a scientific center for data collection, processing, and research. It is a process of translating data into cultural artifacts of architecture.

Scientists collected data on the earth and brought them to other planets, storing them in the innumerable Bio-Module units, which were densely distributed on the façade of the building. Data is of great importance for humans. It includes the entire history of human beings for richness, diversity, variety, and ability to express cultures, languages, places, times, customs, methods, processes, and every other element of our ecosystem and civilizations. The future of architecture is to give sensibility to a multitude of voices and data, often invisible or underrepresented and yet crucial for our global survival. These Bio-Module Units are also the decomposed structure of the double-layer enclosure, which are considered as shields to protect the interior living space from the harsh environment of other planets. Also, The program of a BIOTECH building will represent the interconnected interests of multiple stakeholders. As a building for research and laboratories, where individuals with similar infrastructural needs convene, it will be programmed as a negotiation place for various points of view.

We should consider what kind of habitat we want to live in on other planets in the future 2069. We no longer want to live in cold building machines which are everywhere on today’s earth. We are humans. We have hearts, alive hearts, beating hearts, warm hearts. We can feel the fragrance of flowers, the beauty of diamonds, and the coldness of stones and metals. Our hearts fear death and yearn for freedom, love, and romance. That’s what makes us different from machines, robots, AI, etc. Therefore, the future habitat on the other planets we will live in should be filled with emotion and romance instead of cold machines.

Instagram: @sookie_man_shu, @d4mjan

Stay tuned for next week’s Student Showcase series!

Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part VIII

Part Eight of the Student Showcase series this week focuses on student work that brings to light different aspects of sustainability. The concept of reuse is at the core of being sustainable. Each of these projects discusses a unique angle of what it means to be sustainable in both space and matter. Whether it is a ceramics studio in Chicago or green spaces in Los Angeles and Beirut, each of these projects recognize the importance of stewardship in architecture.

For recaps on prior installments, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI and Part VII.

Nan/nang/: Earth and Us by Zahra Sharifi, M.Arch ’22
University of Manitoba | Advisor: Lisa Landrum

My thesis is focused on the potential of using and re-using local soil and modernized primitive vernacular strategies. I grew up and was educated in the historical city of Yazd, located in the largest desert of Iran, famous for its integrated earth urban fabric and climate adaptive structures. My interest in vernacular methodologies using soil became a starting point for questioning the lack of commitment towards earth construction in cold climates. As abundant and pliable materials, soil and mud are sustainable resources that have been used in construction for thousands of years, yet they have been replaced by harmful substances. By consuming all our natural energy resources, we will eventually reach a stage where manipulating and managing soil will become one of the leading global building strategies, and I believe inherited knowledge of traditional teachings is a starting point for all earth-based research.Focusing on cold climates originated from my experience of living in Winnipeg and the city’s lack of earth awareness. Even though the area endures heavy winter snow, which requires thick waterproofing, insulation, and durable building envelope systems, there is a historical and geological connection between the city and mud. The muddy land of Alexander Docks next to Red river in central Winnipeg, intrigued me to think about the re-use of deposited mud from the river for earth construction. I am proposing an adaptive rejuvenation of the old warehouse adjacent to the docks, by mimicking the natural qualities of mud and adding new insulated exterior earth walls inspired by my own research, previous earth strategies conducted in Manitoba such as Sod houses and traditional Persian earth structures such as Karbandi. The building will act as an earth reconnection center in the heart of downtown inviting the locals and international researchers to engage in earthly thinking.The simplicity of the construction process is in direct relation to the simplicity of the structure which allows us to implement local common labor and on-site preparation. Low-tech earth strategies provide the opportunity for community participation in annual spring maintenance for example reapplying mud plaster on earth walls. By considering the excavated site soil and deposited mud from the river as the main building material ( processed and separated into silt, clay and sand) and reusing existing building waste such as bricks, concrete and steel for reinforcement, there is a possibility of neutral carbon construction.

Instagram: @z.sharifi74, @faumanitoba, @lisalandrum.arch

Terra Studios: A Center for Ceramics Production and Residency in Chicago, Illinois by Faith Primozic, B.Arch ’22
University of Notre Dame | Advisor: Sean Patrick Nohelty, AIA

The city of Chicago has a rich history of ceramics as an art and industry that remains a core part of its architectural identity. Much of this industry existed along the northern branch of the Chicago River where factories produced ceramic building materials for some of the city’s most renowned architects. As this industry declined with the advent of more modern building materials and methods in the early part of the 20th century, the city lost both part of its intricate fabric as well as a part of its unique identity. Through my undergraduate thesis project, I imagine how a pair of buildings to serve craftspeople situated within an urban redevelopment along the north branch of the Chicago River can begin to reestablish a connection between the city’s architecture and its people.

The design for these buildings embodies the idea that architecture should reflect both the occupants that it serves and the society that it inhabits. Structures for artisans and craftspeople who contribute creatively and constructively to our society must therefore be beautiful and enduring reflections of their work — living representations of how both tradition and innovation in their craft enhances the sustainability and livability of the built world. Intertwined with a city’s unique history, this architectural narrative creates a sense of place and allows a city to grow and improve without losing touch with its identity

The proposed buildings exist in an entirely permeable arrangement that allows a pedestrian to pass freely through a new passage under the existing elevated railroad tracks all the way to the river’s edge. The larger of the two proposed buildings serves as a center for ceramics production and includes a large studio, kiln room, research center, gallery, and ballroom. The smaller building is intended as an artists’ residence and shop building, adding a component of living and working to the production of the ceramics. Together, they embody a celebration of the craft of ceramics, from the brick and clay block that support and insulate the walls to the porcelain tile and terracotta relief that lend to its character and beauty.

Instagram: @faith.primozic

Altra Volta: A Neighborhood Hub for the Self-Sufficient City by Samuel Owen, B.Arch ’22
University of Arizona | Advisor: Elena Cánovas

The following capstone project is a community co-op focused on self-sufficiency, in which members grow their own food and fabricate their own products to support themselves and to sell to the community. All waste produced on-site is recycled – solid waste is separated by material to be reused, repurposed, or recycled, and liquid / food waste is sent to an anaerobic digestor to produce energy and fertilizer for an on-site farm network.

This co-op is located in the Provençals del Poblenou neighborhood of Barcelona, the former epicenter of Barcelona’s Industrial Revolution. This area has a long history of industrial co-ops where members could share equipment for collective benefit. Today, the city is trying to develop the neighborhood into a “Technological Innovation District” known as 22@. Unfortunately, most construction following this initiative has done little more than gentrify the community and destroy its historic factory remains.

As an alternative to the aggressive development practices of 22@, this project embraces Provençals’ history and traditions, proposing a return to a circular economy model where daily food and material needs are handled through local collaborative effort, and waste from any one resource flow becomes the raw input for another. Through education, the community is empowered to participate in all steps of the production cycle.

“Altra Volta” – a Catalan phrase meaning both “to have another go” and “another vault” – is a repurposing of Poblenou’s endangered industrial fabric. It consists of two parts – the conversion of still-standing warehouses (into workshops, kitchens, a daycare, cooperative housing, and waste-processing facilities), and the reuse of historic factory foundations for the central marketplace.

On a broad scale, the project utilizes the empty land between blocks to create a “passeig nou” (new promenade) where the community can stroll and relax beneath orchard groves and observe the self-sufficient ecosystem all around them.

Instagram: @samowenarc, @canovas_elena

The Fold by Mark Davis and Ethan Ratliff, BSArch ’22
University of Maryland | Advisor: Michael Ezban

The Fold is a new Resiliency Hub for College Park, Maryland, that focuses on passive strategies to create ventilation and shading that ultimately improves the user’s experience within the building. To achieve these systems, the building is wrapped in a multifunctional and adaptive skin that is mounted to the outer layer of the building. This skin is perforated metal, creating shade and also bending in such a way to allow for better airflow.

Not only does this skin function sustainably, but it can also be adjusted to allow for better views to a lively urban corner of the city. The panels can also shift to allow for daylighting into major public spaces. The building is intended to entice the people of College Park, and show them what creative and sustainable building strategies could look like.

Green Air Rights by Myriam Abou Adal, B.Arch ’22
American University of Beirut | Advisor: Makram Al Kadi

Beirut is overcrowded, yet there is a large number of abandoned buildings and vacant apartments; Beirut is living a social and economic collapse; Beirut suffers from an absence of green and public spaces.

How to best activate the urban vacancies to create a network of multi-scalar micro-economies and green spaces?

I translated my readings of existing literature and case studies into my own glossary of vacancy and response typologies. I then started my fieldwork with rapid appraisal through on the ground measurements, interviews with residents to understand their needs, and immersion in the life and culture of the neighborhood I chose.

I am proposing a network of multi-scalar interventions that relies on a strategy of micro-economies centered around the communal life of the many users I met, while respecting nature and maximizing green spaces. I identified a variety of vacancies typologies and revived them favoring adaptive reuse, parasitic architecture, and placemaking. I translated the building code into a green building code to optimize the allowed buildable area and the gabarit, that guided my massing and choice of materials.

The ground floor vacancies are connected to create large and inviting lobbies that act as a continuation of the public space to drive the community in. The upper floor vacancies and abandoned buildings are treated using adaptive reuse methods and bridged to connect educational, cultural, entertainment, and service programs. On the roofs, A-frame steel structures host the necessary infrastructure for urban farming, water harvesting, and energy production.

This project may be viewed as a pilot intervention as part of a bigger strategy to green the city of Beirut, to introduce a culture of self-sustainability.

Instagram: @myriamabouadal, @ard_aub

Dust To Dust: Embracing Entropy Through Organic Building Materials by Ryan Muir, M.Arch ’22
University of Maryland | Advisor: Michael Ezban

Architecture has had a complicated relationship with this agent of time. Some modernists sought to “overcome” time by turning buildings into machines. And today we’re very much concerned with keeping up with the times. Through commercialism, buildings became commodities or machines for profit. Throughout this time, innovators have striven to and succeeded in inventing building materials that are inert or permanent. However, the problem is that our society doesn’t treat buildings as permanent. They go out of style or can’t keep up with our changing needs. This has bred a practice of planned obsolescence that may reflect the dynamic, living organism of society, but fails to see buildings themselves as organisms. Perhaps the issue is with identifying our buildings as machines, building them for longevity and durability while simultaneously attributing to them an inherent disposability.

Per Leon Krier’s diagram “Civitas”, a city is made up of two parts: res publica and res economica. Res publica is made up of monuments and monumental buildings. Res economica is made up of the streets and the auxiliary buildings. In other words, res publica represents the permanent, consistent nature of a city, while res economica is impermanent, subject to change and adapt to the needs of the city. Each part of the city represents a different opportunity to reshape our view of buildings. Res publica should be built to last and have its effect on the city for generations, slowly and subtly acquiring a patina that conveys wisdom and experience. On the other hand, Res economica could be constructed to be deconstructed, to have change affected on it, to evolve.

This thesis set out to test architecture’s ability to embrace the process of entropy through organic materials and explore these methods at three scales within the “res-economica” of Washington, DC. My approach to these different scales was to determine the viable materials, design each wall section assembly, and design the exterior and interior expression of these materials at the human scale. Then I dove into greater detail, beginning with the smallest scale as the furthest potential adoption of this theory.

Trades Tower: an Ode to Service Space by Daniel Vazquez, B.Arch ’22
Cal Poly Pomona | Advisor: Robert Alexander

Is architecture inextricably linked to its function? Can a building’s function vary, not just from one building to the next, but from person to person? In this project architecture’s role becomes one of user relevancy and contextual activation, things that are in constant flux on a college campus. The question then becomes: Can you make a building re-usable? Can you design a project that is in flux? Making a lliminal space where the public and private functions blur and where the project provides spaces to use that are activated instinctually. The formal program then becomes a catalyst and a framework that activates but does not dictate use. The project thus strays away from a “totalization,” opting instead to embrace and broadcast the variability of daily life.

As the city of Los Angeles continues to densify, issues such as public space and identity become increasingly urgent. Los Angeles Trade-Tech College, located directly south of the Santa Monica freeway (I-10) on Flower St. and Washington Blvd., exemplifies this dilemma as it expands and attempts to carve a place amongst the South LA urban fabric. Here, a disparate set of buildings create a hard perimeter around the college, with all buildings locked to the same datum rendering the campus invisible to the public. Despite opportunities such as proximity to the A-Line train station and direct visibility from the 10 freeway, a sense of destination is squandered by anti-pedestrian access and lack of identifiable elements. The character of LATTC and the education it provides are not advertised or readily legible.

Next installment coming soon!

2022 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part VII

In part seven of the Study Architecture Student Showcase series we share eight student projects that focus on Wellness and the importance of healthy lifestyles in society. From dreaming to reflection to exercise there are many ways that architecture can help facilitate movement and a healthy community. These projects span globally from Canada to Lebanon to Korea but all have the same focus: wellness.

For a recap on the 2022 Student Showcase series so far, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI.

ECO-SCAPES: From Dreams as Spatial Experiences to Ecological, Social & Economic Alternatives by Hussein Zarour, B.Arch ’22
American University of Beirut | Advisor: Carla Aramouny

Long being a subject of artistic inquiry, dreams are often defined as successions of ideas, emotions, images, and sensations that occur in the mind. Research shows that dreaming serves its own important functions in our well-being, often associated with therapy. It conveys a spectrum of past experiences, recent events, defensive operations, perceptions of self and others, conflicts, problems, and attempts at their resolution. By doing so, dreams represent a certain adventure in a world where our internalized thoughts, feelings, unfulfilled needs, and wants come to life as many theories state and support (Jung, 1974).

This project titled “ECO-SCAPES: From Dreams as Spatial Experiences to Ecological, Social & Economic Alternatives” thus investigates dreams as an entry point to design explorative, therapeutic, and experiential spaces/landscapes which stand as ecological, social but also economic alternatives to an environment defined by destruction, deterioration, and deprivation.

The location of intervention, the capital city Beirut, has been facing continuous challenges, being ecological, social, and economic, favored by unhealthy spaces and unethical political systems. Most of the citizens, mentally and physically affected, find themselves deprived of most of their basic needs, thus naturally seeking a spatial alternative in response to this destructive environment.

Instagram: @zarour_hussein, @ard_aub

Architecture and the Oneiric: An Imaginative Translation of the Intersubjective Dream Experience by Amanda Scott, M.Arch ’22
North Dakota State University | Advisor: Stephen Wischer

“One has never seen the world well if he has not dreamed what he was seeing” (Gaston Bachelard). How can architecture be reimagined through oneiric thought? Could this evoke an architectural representation akin to dreams?

This thesis explores such questions by examining the phenomenon of dreaming from an embodied architectural perspective in response to an increasingly objective architectural framework. Drawing from psychological, philosophical, artistic, and mythical sources, we can examine aspects of dreaming not as something to escape into, but rather a primary form of reality, which is often overlooked in our rational, modern way of interpreting the world. Through the piecing together of historical and fictional fragments, architecture is reconstructed into a dreamlike re-description of reality that breaks down the distinction between real and imaginary, inside and outside, conscious and unconscious, acknowledging that we may actually see in the same way that we dream.

Walking along Freedom Tunnel in New York City, existing structures are transformed into transitional elements blurring realms of verity and obscurity, providing movement through a journey of dreamlike encounters. Drawing from six influential plotlines, with the hidden infrastructure of the tunnel as its setting; surrealist spaces are reimagined through a living translation of oneiric experience.

Instagram: @amandaa_scottt, @ndsu_sodaa

The Forever Home: Redefining Aging-In-Place by Laura Deacon, M.Arch ’22
University of British Columbia | Advisor: Inge Roecker

How do we house our aging population? This question – often overlooked, is one that requires an immediate solution. The population of individuals over 65 in Canada is projected to nearly double from 2020 to 2046, reaching 22% of the overall population. With this in mind, it is essential that architectural solutions are able to meet the dynamic needs of this aging demographic. The existing housing stock consist of reactive solutions, whereby individuals sequentially progress from one typology to another in accordance with their needs. This causes strain, confusion, and requires extensive support from the community as individuals orient and adapt to a new environment.

The primary objective of this thesis is to create an engaging environment that eliminates the burden of aging by allowing individuals to age-in-place throughout ones entire lifespan, in a vibrant community that facilitates architectural flexibility while simultaneously building resilience for future generations.

The Forever Home is a seven-story development situated in the heart of Yaletown, Downtown Vancouver, within close proximity to surrounding amenities and services. The proposed development features 196 adaptable modular units that allow for families to expand, contract, and divide at various stages of life, supplemented with a palliative care unit and guest suite located on each floor. Units are configured in a single-loaded corridor typology shaped around a central courtyard, which ensures adequate natural daylighting and cross ventilation is achieved. Residences are dichotomized into blocks consisting of eight units clustered around shared residential green space. Units also feature a semi-private buffer space between the public corridors and private units, which promotes socialization and neighborly connections amongst residents. Reverse community integration is achieved using a public grocery store, child care and adult daycare facility, restaurant, and smaller scale shops dispersed vertically throughout the building. In addition, residential amenities are also located on each floor. A clear wayfinding strategy assists residents to circumnavigate the building using a bright red bulkhead and a highly contrasting change in floor material, colour, and texture.

Instagram: @laurdeacon @ubcsala

Changing Place: A Persuasive Multipurpose Park for Healthy Lifestyles by Cesar Tran, M.Arch ’22
NewSchool of Architecture and Design | Advisor: Michael Stepner, Kurt Hunker and Rebekka Morrison

Sedentary lifestyles are becoming a standard that may lead to adverse health impacts over time. Surmounting these impacts include daily non-exercise physical activity (NEPA) to support mental, social, and physical health. In many scenarios, providing the space for NEPA may not be enough to encourage participation. Built environment designers can combat this by incorporating persuasive psychological techniques for physical activity. These methods are typically found to stimulate consumerism and addiction, therefore, this thesis reclaims these methods to promote wellness through the suggestion of healthy lifestyles.

A literature review was conducted to better understand the components of a healthy life, the types of psychology employed for increased engagement, and the different architectural environments that encourage NEPA with or without intention. The review culminated with the creation of a framework consisting of nine strategies that can be considered in architectural design for habitual NEPA. Case studies were then analyzed to better understand the usage of the strategies in today’s built environment. The results were then utilized and demonstrated in a theoretical project to encourage NEPA in National City, CA which is known to have high rates of coronary heart disease and stroke.

A multipurpose park with flexible food markets and co-working spaces was designed to attract community members to participate in NEPA. The primary reason to journey here is to satisfy a person’s basic needs, sustenance. Pairing this program with multiple incentives associated with stress relief and play creates convenience for users which can lead to a routine over time. This example supports the thesis through framework application and exhibits one of the ways the built environment can encourage healthy routines through the power of persuasion.

[A]WAITING TO DIFFUSE by Joseph Chalhoub, B.Arch ’22
American University of Beirut | Advisor: Carla Aramouny

When starting any design project, we, as architects, always start by analyzing the site, mapping out conditions and studying human behavior in order to better understand how we can intervene. However, while we look at walking patterns, climatic conditions and many other aspects, we are always neglecting one very important factor: WAITING.

During the most recent economic and infrastructural collapse Lebanon has been going through, the project zoomed into ‘waiting’ as a research topic. At the time, waiting was something happening on various scales, from existential waiting to waiting in line for gas.

With a blend of anthropological research, design experiments, and research in the arts, architecture, and placemaking, the project tackles how the notion of waiting can be repurposed, reused and activated to make the most out of this urban condition. In fact, the project presents a set of functions tailored to the needs of the neighborhood and encourages users to participate and help out in the different activities. Here lies the notion of interconnected functions. By taking the waiting out of certain functions, we can repurpose them towards others and so on and so forth.

This type of adaptive reuse can feed back into the architectural intervention in more than one way. Waiting would be recycled by giving the individual multiple outlets for their time. The project presents a new kind of “Waiting Typology” that can possibly be adapted and integrated into different neighborhoods in order to answer the need of the person waiting and change depending on the site specifications. Waiting then becomes something that we can use within our research, something that is regenerative, something that is awaiting to be diffused.

Instagram: @joeych99, @ard_aub

Wellness in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ): Connecting with Culture and the Environment by Briana Pereira, B.Arch ’22
New York Institute of Technology | Advisor: Dongsei Kim

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea is one of the most militarized areas in the world. Protected from urbanization for the last 69 years, the DMZ has become an involuntary park for flourishing flora and fauna with minimal human intervention.

This project takes advantage of this unique condition and nature’s healing ability to house a new mental health wellness center within the DMZ open to both Koreans and foreigners. Located on the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) within the DMZ, the project is integrated into the cascading landscape in the heavily forested eastern region of the DMZ. Immersed in nature, visitors engage the natural environment through the project’s landscape and architectural spaces to recuperate and improve their mental health.

In addition, visitors engage in traditional Korean cooking and pottery, tea ceremonies, meditation, yoga, reading, walking, and other reflective programs and activities to improve their mental health. Here architecture becomes a container for shared Korean cultures. Further, the project benefits visitors’ mental wellness through how the architecture frames the immediate mountain ranges’ beauty and how it captures the Korean peninsula’s four distinct seasons.

Instagram: @briana_pereira_, @dongsei.kim

Wood is Good: Informing Wood Architecture Through the Investigation of Craft in Furniture by Daniel Rodrigues, M.Arch ’22
Laurentian University | Advisor: Randall Kober

The act of craftsmanship, specifically woodworking, gives a sense of accomplishment that is therapeutic. Improving the well being of someone who is part of this maker culture yields positive benefits to the state of their mental health from making as a form of therapy in a nonclinical manner.

The final project will be a community oriented woodshop, located in the downtown of Sudbury, Ontario. This is a methodology driven thesis, where the primary method is learning through making; specifically, the design and construction of an intricate workbench as the most important experiment.

The focus of the research is to investigate how the design and craft of furniture can inspire and inform contemporary wood architecture at varying scales. This architecture will be didactic in nature, exemplifying craft through the tectonic connections of complex wood joints that embody the inherit potential of wood as a building material.

Instagram: @danielrodrigues343, @randallkober

I WENT FOR A WALK Observations, Reflections, and Imaginings upon Montréal’s Everyday Thresholds by Shane Villeneuve, M.Arch ’22
Carleton University | Advisor: Piper Bernbaum

I went for a walk.

Borrowing from the methods of The Situationist Movement and setting out to explore “the in-betweenness” of the city of Montréal, this thesis engages in a series of personal “drifts.” The moments explored in the work are liminal spaces – most commonly defined in architectural practice as thresholds. A threshold is a space of anticipation existing at the convergence between different spatial conditions. It possesses such depth that it may elicit a profound stimulation of the senses in the human body. Perception is personal and tied to our own needs, desires, and experiences; a wanderer may perceive a threshold in the public sphere of the city as monumental or banal depending on their subjective and personal relationship with it.

Therefore, this thesis attempts to explore and question the most mundane experiences of the everyday thresholds encountered in the drifts and consider what extraordinary value is found in some of the most overlooked spaces. How do we slow down? How do we feel safe? How do we learn from the way space is used and appropriated, and the complexity of how it serves the city through its everydayness instead of only considering it for how it was originally designed? Thresholds become places of crossing over, of repose, of exchange and of transition, and become a space where the public can engage in the architecture of the city in the in-betweenness. Through “drifting”, this thesis eventually becomes a space to imagine new threshold conditions revealing and amplifying the potential that these moments offer to everyday citizens.

Instagram: @villeneuves @piperb @carleton_architecture

Stay tuned for Part VIII of the Student Showcase!

2022 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part VI

Welcome back to installment Six of the Study Architecture Student Showcase series! This week we share six student projects that take a look at the role of architecture in conflict. From Korea to Russia to Afghanistan, these projects show how conflict effects the identities of communities and how architecture fits into that balance.

For a recap on the 2022 Student Showcase series so far, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.

Angle Masses: Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, Korea by Joo Young Lim, B.Arch ’22
Auburn University | Advisor: Il Kim

History of Korean War
At the end of World War II, Joseon (archaic name of Korea) was freed from Japanese occupation. Soon, the victorious countries drew the border line on the Korean Peninsula based on 38th degrees north latitude. The north side of this border, the 38th Parallel, was occupied by the Soviet Union’s socialist force, and the United States’ capitalist force took the south. As Kim Il-Sung (North Korea) invaded the south across the 38th Parallel, the peninsula became a field of proxy war of ideological forces.

Design
A history timeline is set as X-axis, and a territorial shift between the north and the south as Y-axis. The representation of the 38th Parallel is parallel to the X-axis. Various historical events, including conflicts, were expressed as slits on the passage of the 38th Parallel.

The triangular masses are designed to pierce across the representation of the 38th Parallel. These triangular masses symbolize the military forces in the Korean War, and they vary in size depending on the strength of the forces. Interlocking with the axis of time, each of four triangular masses represents Kim Il-Sung’s invasion of the South Korea, U.S. and U.N.’s military supporting the South, the Chinese People’s Army supporting the North, and lastly, months of long siege.

Each of reversed-pyramid triangular masses elucidates war’s grave consequences. They are seemingly unstably connected to each other, and their dark metal exterior panels represent the gloomy war. Inside, the viewer, walking on the ramp between RC concrete columns, thinks she/he is passing through the ruins of war. The floating tips of the reversed pyramids are visible in the underground gallery. This sense of floatation was achieved by extending the RC concrete columns in the middle of the structures. The shards of glass-like tips represent the agony of the victims and refugees. These tips visually connect the upper gallery and the lower, underground gallery. The upper gallery illustrates the power game of the war written by the political forces who started the war, while the underground gallery displays the relics of the victims who were anonymous citizens.

Instagram: @limarch94

The Two Sides of Otherness: A Cross-Cultural Regeneration of Reality by Daniel Porwoll, M.Arch ’22
North Dakota State University | Advisor: Stephen Wischer

In our current context, “identity” often stands as an edge where one being ends and the next begins; simultaneously separating and unifying. Yet, this inherent overlapping between self and other continues to be threatened by ideological and homogenizing narratives; either as a force of assimilation or division.

Among the many affected areas around the world is the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the Russo-Ukrainian Border, and the Carlisle Pennsylvania Indian Cemetery, in which hostile situations pose a unique yet difficult edge condition that might be mediated by empathetic imagination instigated by architecture. Responding to each situation, we examine how architecture might act as an archive for deeper understanding and exchange in an attempt to mediate new realities.

Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty confirms this method through his concept of “flesh”, which examines the relationship between oneself and the Other as “reversible,” wherein edges become folds in order to gain a deeper interpersonal, intercultural and intersubjective understanding of the Other ourselves.

Instagram: @dkp.arch

[IN]visible by Ying Xuan Tan and Xi Xiang, B.Arch ’22
Syracuse University | Advisor: Lawrence Chua

This thesis is a conservative proposal seeking an eclectic solution to provide a stable environment for Afghanistan’s people and the preservation of human history. The project [IN]visible seeks to create a point of balance between the turbulent environment and its rich historic heritage meanwhile following a preliminary, iconoclasm.

Bamiyan valley was marked as an important trans-cultural portal for Afghanistan and Central Asia. Statues, stupas, viharas, shrines, and grottos here have all witnessed the cultural creolization of this land. The government today had promised to engage in international diplomacy and make compromises. Preserving artifacts at Bamiyan is a humanitarian act and brings the government financial income.

The project seeks to find ways to preserve precious artifacts in the age of the Taliban’s regime, respecting the Taliban’s ideology on the surface while showing the real deal on the inside. Using various materials, water, and light as a tool to hide the artifacts from the surface. The design process discovers methods of visual illusion. Water, an essential element in Middle East architecture, would orient throughout the project. The stream would lead the locals and visitors to enter the project to see the actual side of these cultural artifacts.

This thesis is a pioneer experimental practice toward religious conflict that does not follow mainstream standards. It is also a conservation proposal seeking an eclectic solution to ensure a stable environment for Afghanistan’s people. In the end, no matter how the government change, it is the people’s life happiness that matters the most.

Instagram: @tototan_yx, @xxixixiwest

Guerilla Museology: By All Means Necessary by Brendan Wallace, B.Arch ’22
University of Tennessee | Advisor: Jennifer Akerman

For many, it is believable that colonialism has met its end. The latter half of the 20th century witnessed a global spirit of liberation, specifically within African and Asian continents. New annexations of land allowed nations to declare sovereignty in watershed spirit. Yet, the residual effects of the colonialist era has effectively perverted contemporary spaces, especially those typologies which have a legacy deeply rooted in the violence of looting, stealing, raping, and pillaging- namely, the museum.

While direct subjugation under colonialism may have met its end, the 21st century has challenged this premise, understanding that colonized structures remain to inhibit this “autonomy”. The likes of the Louvre, The Met, The British Museum, and the Saint Hermitage Museum, are all national treasures which lie of the heart of an imperial memoryscape. Their educational commentaries have transitioned from the national to the global scale as they are catapulted into the role of a universalist museum with artifacts from all parts of the globe. Their objects represent a past which has been bastardized, deceptively rewritten, and Westernized. Their place in the arena of global memory has prevailed on top and contribute to modern day racism, xenophobia, necropolitics, and various forms of othering.

The museum is unyielding, working as a contemporary agent for cultural genocide.

This thesis works to acknowledge these power structures and subvert them as a way of envisioning a new, equitable museumscape. I am interested in all scales of museum work to invite democratized curatorial practice. The steps are as follows:

1. creating a new museum infrastructural system to ensure curation is achieved as a global practice
2. engaging the city as a system of participatory intelligence
3. decolonizing the museum aesthetic whose expression implies subordination
4. proposing curatorial machines as curatorial agents
5. ensuring the appropriate and holistic contextualization of all objects

These steps are meant to ensure the redevelopment of public trust and redefine the everyday museumgoer as a worthy contributor to curation and exhibition practice. Guerilla Museology inspires an aggressive reclamation of curation by acknowledging the possibility of a post-museum world where the globe itself is a museum site.

Instagram: @brendan.com_, @j_akerman

Stored Labor by Kristabel Chung, B.Arch ’22
Syracuse University | Advisor: Lawrence Chua

This project examines the relationship between domestic labor laws and the “spatial practices” of migrant domestic worker (MDW) spaces in Hong Kong. The project asks, how do the designed and spatial practices of domestic worker accommodation inform us about the hierarchy and future of domestic space in Hong Kong?

In 2003, Hong Kong issued a law requiring domestic workers to live with their employers. For apartments without a designed servant space, makeshift accommodations have been created within those apartments to comply with the law. The research studies these modifications within the home and creates spatial abstractions through differently scaled models.

The spatial practice of employers and the designs of residential developers of migrant domestic worker accommodations in Hong Kong creates a hierarchy between the servant and the served through varying means, ranging from porousness to confinement. We see this in examples such as sharing spaces with other household members, living in the living room or kitchen, and in objects such as fabric partitions, unlockable doors, or security cameras.

The research is based on a survey that was carried out in collaboration with the Mission for Migrant Workers, an NGO in Hong Kong. Additionally, in-person interviews revealed that employers renovated servant spaces antithetically to the developer’s designs. The survey asked questions about privacy and had the workers draw a floor plan of their accommodations, while the interviews allowed for an intimate understanding of spaces and casts that preserve the material damage due to their labor. This project proposes shifting furniture and structural changes to the participants’ apartments to expose the absurdity of the condition.

Since many employees struggle to voice their opinions about space, the passive-aggressive act of rethinking the functions of these household objects as weapons to ensure privacy also critiques power dynamics in the household. Furniture alterations allow for the employee to play more games of resistance during the hours when the employer is at home. It utilizes what is of importance to the employer as leverage for the employee to get privacy, respect, and dignity.

Instagram: @kristabelchung

Living with Ghosts by Ximeng Luo and Shihui Zhu, B.Arch ’22
Syracuse University | Advisor: Lawrence Chua

“Maps! Living with Ghosts” is a thesis project on representation based off from our research of the border region between China and Russia, in which we translate the data collected from official statistics, policies, documents, and more private travel logs, interviews, diaries, memoirs, and literature, into a composite drawing, to explore the possibilities of images and representation techniques.

In the contemporary context, the same piece of natural land often displays a superimposition of various truths. The collapse of overlapping spacetime can be found in marks created by human construction activities, compressed into the concept of contemporaneity.

Indigenous knowledge and local understandings get lost in the supersession of the old understanding of space by the new that is observably dictated by modern maps. Hence, memory itself becomes a representation of the space being understood and remembered, and it continues to influence people’s perception of reality, like a ghost that haunts the living. While the nation state can easily encroach upon ungoverned spaces and wipe out their past, the people who lived on the land carried their ghosts with them as they proceeded in life.

In the project, individual memories are collected and translated into certain forms of representation and overlaid on top of the scientific map, showing transparency as well as complexity, a new composite representation of spatial relationships and identities.

The scene is set along the Heilongjiang. A fluid water body that feeds populations in the Russian Far East and Northeastern China, simultaneously delineates the long and winding national border between contemporary Russia and China.

The project traces the river downstream, investigating five specific sites. From man-made landscapes in the forms of nomad camp, temporary settlement, village and town, and cities in this borderland far from the state’s central power, we are looking into both the natural landscape and environment, presence of the authority, and the resulting forms of living.

Instagram: @sximengl, @sunnyynnuss

Part VII of the Student Showcase coming soon!

2022 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part V

Week Five of the Study Architecture Student Showcase is here! The compilation of seven student projects we share this week all reimagine the relationship between architecture and community. From Bosnia to Knoxville, TN we take a look at how communities are shaped by architecture. If you’ve missed the past installments, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

Chinatown Collective by Cecilia Lo, M. Arch, M. La ’22
University of British Columbia | Advisor: Inge Roecker

This project seeks to represent the relationships between culture, heritage and identity.

As a first generation Chinese-Canadian settler immigrant, I look to investigate the forces of the built environment that has shaped my personal identity and the forces that are shaping others perception of my identity. I situate my investigation in the context of North American Chinatowns, one of the most glaring examples of a Chinese-Canadian space. Through storytelling, I explore how heritage can be spatialized and how its representation reframes culture and identity.

Current heritage conservation methods have trapped spaces in time. By regulating the appearance of these naturally changing spaces, they’ve been forced into stagnation because of competing pressures of nationalism and consumerism. Heritage sites become representations of an ideal that is imposed on by designers, politicians, and government. Heritage has become a commodity.

However, I argue that heritage is not an asset to be protected and conserved. Heritage must be sustained and defined by the everyday lived experiences of people in order to result in the creation of resilient cultural spaces. Through storytelling, I speculate on the narratives of these people and ask the question: What do these places become when they are created, designed, and inhabited by the community living there?

Instagram: @ceeclialo, @ubcsala

Re(clay)ming Doyle Lane Center for Ceramic Arts by Sarra Starbird, B. Arch ’22
Cal Poly Ponoma | Advisor: Robert Alexander

The Los Angeles Technical Trade college in South Central LA encourages the growth of Design/Media, Construction Sciences, and Culinary arts to name a few. Los Angeles is home to a largely growing ceramics community, and demand for programs is outweighing LATTC’s current department facilities.

By reclaiming the adjacent AT&T data center building projected to be moved due to expansion, the reuse of this facility will house the education and exploration of emerging ceramicists. Prominent Los Angeles Ceramicist Doyle Lane was known for utilizing tactile glazes within his ceramic murals. In honor of this prominent figure, The Doyle Lane Center for Ceramic Arts is an expansion to the LATTC curriculum, one that is fueling the flame for ceramic exploration. Nestled adjacent to the Metro Blue blue line and the Intersection of the 10 and 110 freeways LATTC campus has strong ties to the Los Angeles community.

I am proposing to adapt the remaining non-campus building on the LATTC Campus block. This will help unify the college in relation to the campus’s main street: West Washington Boulevard. The heat of this project creates a tie between differing backgrounds and crafts, linking passion through a flame. This project aims to engage the Los Angeles ceramics community and create an outlet for the craft of ceramics both sculpturally and architecturally by reshaping an existing form and reimagining it in a language parallel to the department’s pedagogy, one that teaches from the exterior what is reflected within.

Instagram: @starbird.arc, @rbrtalxandr

Sarajevo Art and Activist Center by Shuyu Meng, B.Arch ’22
Syracuse University | Advisor: Lawrence Chua

The historical background of the region governed by authorities with different cultures and religions creates the multi-ethnic country of Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH); recent war caused by ethnic nationalism further splits the country and segregates ethnically groups geographically. As the capital of BiH, Sarajevo is a typical example of an ethnic exclusive situation happening extremely in the historical center of the city retained by current political constitutional issues.

However, under ethnic violence, various forms of activist activity are held spontaneously by citizens in Sarajevo and from all over the country — both during the war and in the postwar period in today’s Sarajevo — a powerful way to resist ethnic conflicts, increase cross-ethnic communication, and express civil voice to the government and the world.

Therefore, the Sarajevo Art and Activist Center is proposed in the Baščaršija area to provide an inclusive space and open stage for people to gather, produce artwork, exhibit, perform, and any potential public activities. People with different ethnic background are welcomed to participate in everyday activities which promotes cross-ethnic interaction through civic effort.

The architectural form of the project is inspired by and abstracted from traditional local architecture in the context, creating communal space that is reshaped in a modern manner. To accommodate various programs in the Center including temporary gathering and long-term art production, both the interior and exterior space is designed openly with simple shape that can be divided by movable panels for special needs.

Instagram: @syr_arch_nyc

The Belly of South Central by Josue Navarro Lazalde, B.Arch ’22
Cal Poly Ponoma | Advisor: Robert Alexander

Markets were once the basis of town formation, and their role as places where food was sold has been one of the fundamental characteristics of early settlement. Today, South Central’s zoning codes and policies physically separate activities revolving around food.

This project seeks to carve out public space and adds to the built urban fabric that sets the stage for social interaction centered on food. Located at 233 W Washington Blvd sits a paved piece of land similar to the prevailing ground-level parking lots throughout Los Angeles, however, unlike similar sites that persist as tourist attractions, 233 W Washington sits in a culturally rich and diverse neighborhood only visited by its inhabitants; community members, commuters, and students.

The South Los Angeles community, primarily made up of Latino and Black individuals bring forth numerous artisanal cuisines that dominate the area with hole-in-wall restaurants, food trucks, and pushcart vendors. Sporadically, alongside these nested cultural centers lie fast food chain restaurants. The absence of supermarkets alongside the abundance of informal vendors created the necessity for space with qualities resembling the mall/market typology.

The integration of a new below-grade station and street crossing for the LA Metro A line train will not only serve the community by creating a safe traffic-free zone to board trains but also promises a constant flow of users to the project. Through this synthesis of programs, the market and station hope to support the existing cultural context, promote user comfortability, foster continuous vendor economic security, and prolong its viability with sustained user activity.

Instagram: @josuenavarrolazalde, @rbrtalxandr

Line of Action: Unfolding Cycles of Placemaking by Beatriz Morum de Santanna Xavier and Michelle Singer, B.Arch ’22
Pratt Institute School of Architecture | Advisor: Gonzalo Jose Lopez Garrido and Daniela Fabricius

The traditional practices of border drawing and map-making negate the experiential, the three-dimensional, and subjective experience of the human. Therefore stewardship and radical design of boundaries, borders, and waters edge can be something of rebellion and have the potential to disrupt the geometric and oppressive systems implanted by white settler-colonialism.

We ask how can we radically occupy the residual spaces that the grid could not reach, where it disintegrated, and what it left out? Projects have studied the historical segregation of colonial cities, but few look to the regions of in-between generated by centuries of settler-colonialism. The act of paving gridded streets into divided terrain was only possible where the land was flat enough to colonize. What happens to the terrain labeled as “impassable”in Sanborn maps? These landscapes cannot be subdivided and paved over.

Engaging these in-between spaces as means of action and placemaking can address unseen histories of the ancient past while acknowledging the prevailing struggles of the current moment. Through methods of folding, our project establishes a framework for collective use, inhabitation, and eventual co-stewardship of spaces, through folding the urban grid for the reclamation of communal land. We propose legislation that allows for collective action to undermine biased authorities that approve land use. We take from the concept of adverse possession – squatter’s rights – and create a direct pathway to collective stewardship, providing a suggestive framework for communities to reclaim abandoned lots and parceled land without a seal of approval.

Our research unfolds in liminal cities of ancestry, Kansas City, Missouri and Recife, Brazil. These sites become case studies that reflect one another in two parallel worlds of colonization where we have familial ties. Designing connections and stitching together geometric interventions, we introduce a suggestive framework adaptive to cities across the americas.

Instagram: @bia_mxavier, @m_ch_ll_, @gjlg, @knitknot_architecture

Microcosme in the West by Jenny Leclerc, Olivia Lessard, B.Arch ’22
Université du Québec à Montréal | Advisor: Borkur Bergman

A microcosm in the West is a project where the community is key. The exchanges, the encounters, and the participation of everyone forms the spatial organization. It offers a great density through a path between a various amount of indoors and outdoors spaces. It plays with the public and the private borders to generate a sense of community and openness. There is a residential, a work and a commercial area in every building without neglecting the communal areas.

The preservation of the Seagram Distillery patrimonial complex was part of our main concerns. Since the site had an industrial vocation, the project keeps that essence. The intentions are to provide the community with mixed purposes and proximity working places. Meanwhile affordable housing for people in need is crucial. In addition to improving density, we linked the social housing development in the vicinity to the Seagram pole where jobs, schools and different services will be available.

The urban form responds to the Nordic climax. It changes the lifestyle of the occupants to make the most of every season. The form of the buildings generates a mild climate that allows comfortable circulations for the users.

The Lost Path is a trail where the biodiversity leads and allows pedestrians to cross over the whole site. It is also possible for cyclists, skiers, ice skaters to wander between the different points of interest. The access to active transportation is, therefore, made easier. The relation to the territory is an important consideration that guided our reflexions.

Instagram: @jennyleclerc, @livlessard

Community in Context by Ariani Harrison, M.Arch ’22
University of Tennessee | Advisor: Jennifer Akerman

What is community growth?

As a first-hand witness of the campaigns communities in Houston and Phoenix brought forward during city transformation, I believe that ground up community growth is important. Taking back the urban form from developers and government that have no stakes in the communities they build in gives power back to residents. Moving to Knoxville, I have seen developments which remind me of the obscene growth of Phoenix. Where sky scrapers are built along a man-made lake claiming the over-priced retail at the street level will give the city enough taxes for more public investments. Yet, senior citizens are becoming homeless in the same area because rent has inflated so much. I can only predict the same of South Knoxville as the waterfront is developed.

I am for making architecture more accessible, for the agency of mapping, and for using oral stories as tools to create a system towards a collective urbanism, one where the community has access to agency to change their space. South Knoxville has organically grown along the Tennessee River and perpendicular roads; however, growth in the area has not been valued until recently, resulting in ‘luxury housing’ and other general development moving in. Cities across the country have similar sentiments, where parts of the city slip through the cracks until superficial planning ideas, like mixed-use podium structures or creating high density within low density areas, are plopped into place to “revitalize” the area. Unfortunately, those implementations do not always work as there is no
relationship to the community, it can cause more chain brands to come in, and push locals out. What if the community had a say in their growth?

Connecting them to local organizations and leaders and giving three different scales of possible interventions based on context of the community could inspire these left behind communities. This prototype uses South Knoxville to show the insights one can find through mapping meaningful places, roadblocks to connectivity, and collecting the story of place with resulting possibilities for urban life. By mapping local and unused spaces along a central corridor, the community can take back spaces through temporary and semi-permanent projects.

Instagram: @arianiharrison, @j_akerman

Stay tuned for Part VI of the Study Architecture Student Showcase!

2021 Study Architecture Part VI

We are so excited to present another part of the 2021 Study Architecture Student Showcase. This year, we doubled the amount of submissions and will be able to feature over 40 students in this series. Stay tuned for two more posts coming soon. This week, we feature work from Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, The University of Texas at Austin, and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. These students’ work explores the intersection of architecture and memory, feminism, technology, and ecology. Check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.

 

Antechamber: The Last Nuclear Bomb Memorial by Haili Brown
Savannah College of Art and Design | Advisor: Huy Ngo

In 1945, the United States detonated the world’s first nuclear weapon. It was considered a success, a marvel, and an advancement. It was said to be for the betterment of society. The more they tested, the more they scarred the earth, and the more they scarred the community. The wind blew the scars east. Then, the United States bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The scars stretched further. One hundred thousand people now gone, the whole world watching, and no one moved an inch.

The site that I selected for this memorial was Tippipah Point, Nevada, which falls in Area 16 of the Nevada National Security Site. It is a mountainous peak that rests atop six underground detonations that originally belonged to the Shoshone People but was stolen under the guise that the land would be used for good. This, of course, was a lie. It became a site of mass destruction where military crews would be subjected to nuclear exposure only one mile from ground zero. Many of these troops would report feelings of overwhelming uncertainty and a realization of the malicious power of the bombs. Nevertheless, they remained complicit.

I have designed an experience that will implore the users to reflect on their responsibility, both in life and in architecture, by emphasizing their decisions as they make their way to the finale. This will result in a greater awareness of their actions and the effect they have on themselves and those around them. This is a start toward a more empathetic and socially proactive future. The three ways I planned on doing this were transience, choice, and finality. Transience would urge quick decision-making due to a one-hour time limit on the site, the choice would give the users control over their outcome, and finality would exemplify the permanence of our decisions by allowing users to only enter and exit once.

In the creation of my form, I took an approach of free will; we all start off at different points and we all end at different points based on the reality that we create. This translated into a free-flowing and unpredictable mass, resulting in a series of corridors that would pass through, above, and below each other. All parking plateaus do not lead to all final points, which begin this journey of free will upon entry to the site. In areas where the corridors intersect, users are given a chance to either pull a lever to open one door and close another, or to proceed through the one already open. This makes their decisions deliberate and pointed.

At the end of the corridors rest finale points. There are twelve possible finales that the users may experience. Only some of them have a view of the memorial sculpture below. The outer perimeter houses 3-foot-wide openings that offer the users a personal experience when choosing which view they want to take in, while the inner ring remains open to forge a more collective experience. The decision of which one to ruminate within is left up to the user.

 

On Beauty and Power: A Female “Cyborg-ienne” Phenomenon by Cayce J. Anthony, M.Arch ‘21
University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Advisors: Mark Stanley, Jeremy Magner, Jennifer Akerman
Awarded the 2021 Faculty Thesis Award

Power camouflages itself with beauty and grafts itself into our societies through covert cultural and political operations that influence individual perceptions and behaviors—what we pay attention to, follow, purchase, believe—until we, humankind, adapt, conform, or become socially “othered.” 

Few spatial realities embody the tension between these immaterialities as the female form.

Power leverages beauty to reinforce the existing social strata—one that relies on a western-American beauty tradition that is aggressively, and often maliciously, thin, white, and youthful.  

This project fabricates environments, objects, and ultimately subjects that complicate and push back into the established social strata and beget a more autonomous, hybridized, “cyborg-ienne” female phenomenon, to speculate how beauty and power might be reprogrammed in future social mutations and to question our contemporary moment.

Follow Cayce on Instagram: @cayce.anthony

 

Foreign + Familiar by Bella Chou, Coleman Brink, and William Hachtman
The University of Texas at Austin | Advisor: Kory Bieg
2020-21 Design Excellence Award Winner: https://soa.utexas.edu/life-work/student-affairs/student-awards/design-excellence/2020-2021-design-excellence-winners (Internal UTSOA award)
Pending upcoming feature in Tribeza, a local magazine in Austin

Technology is ubiquitous. Our relationship with electronics, both hidden and overt, has become integral to our everyday lives and has reformed how we interact with and perceive the world around us. In the perpetual pursuit of utopia, futuristic machines constantly propose a new and improved way of living. Some prospective technologies speculated to become part of our contemporary lives include flying cars, nanobots, and 3-D printed food. While many of these proposals seem to be more applicable to temporally distant societies, our rapidly changing environment and needs suggest these future technologies could be implemented in the near, rather than distant, future. Despite the vision of a seamless integration of these technologies, a question of the spatial requirements to house these technologies arises.

Technology is a tool to change how we live, but contrary to our reliance on it to complete even the most mundane of tasks, technology is often tucked away in the periphery of our buildings and minds. Our project explores ideas of human viewership and interaction with the digital. Set in a near, speculative future, we wanted to confront our complacency of existence—what are the implications of space-making with a non-human centered focus? Architecture as a discipline has become constrained. In our constantly changing world, architecture is stable. Our explorations play with destabilizing the status quo. Programmatically, our project is a spectrum of human occupation, with technology taking precedence while humans become the periphery. Our projects are highly speculative, but rooted in our observations of human interactions with technology. This is just one of many potential futures.

This studio was broken into two parts. The first being entirely group-focused where the overall formal and site developments were made. In accordance with the studio’s vision, all this was done using Grasshopper, machine learning, and scripting. Therefore, all the exterior and formal elements seen were developed using this process.

The second half of the course was focused on individual projects and developments within the larger context and narrative of the site. For this, each group member focused on an object scale applying to the overarching narrative, and then designed this object to their selected building’s program. These programs were applied to various buildings across the site ranging in size and complexity.

All portions of the projects were targeted and designed for a virtual reality experience, as required by the studio. With that in mind, each individual project was designed with immense detail and immersion, allowing for a user to be consumed by their future world. Every interior and render is meant to be experienced with this perspective. 

Generating a project with this methodology required a strong sense of vision and communication. Our narrative was the centerpiece in developing a cohesive project, while allowing each team member to explore a “future” technology that they thought would influence architecture and the project statement. This is the future that we envision to be familiar, but greatly foreign. 

Follow them on Instagram: @colemanbrink, @ciaobellabellachou, @will_hachtman

 

Water! Please: Remember, Reveal, Reconnect by Maria Pozo & Adele Isyanamanova
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Advisor: Professor Bartumeus
First Place (tie) for Graduate Studio Award

Sant Feliu de Llobregat, an industrial and agrarian city in Catalonia, Spain, is historically familiar with the destructive and dangerous consequences of seasonal flooding, but it also experiences a lack of water most of the year. Smart water management is necessary for the region, but the municipality cannot afford expensive infrastructure that would solve the problem quickly. How do we manage water with as little intervention as possible? How do we activate water memory and connect people to the essence of the place? How do we use water to promote biodiversity and ensure sustained ecosystem health? 

This design proposal achieves three interconnected objectives: remembering the industrial and ecological history of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, revealing the previously hidden life of water in the city and beyond, and reconnecting human and non-human ecosystems through water.

 

BOUAZIZI OPPORTUNITY CENTER: A Global Icon and a Local Resource by Bryan Samuel & Francisco Hernandez, M.Arch ‘21
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Advisor: Professor Murray
First Place (tie) for Graduate Studio Award

In recent years, a relatively small country has had an outsized influence on the Arab world due to the promulgation of protests via social media. From the self-immolation of a lowly street cart vendor to the dethroning of decades-old dictatorial regimes, the internet has become synonymous with one word in Tunisia: revolution.

Protests have continued into 2021. While the Arab Spring addressed some issues of democracy and freedom of expression, economic issues continue to affect Tunisian quality of life. The Bouazizi Opportunity Center is a community internet center in Tunis, Tunisia, but it is also much more than that. It provides studios and workshops for personal skill development as well as a physical and digital marketplace to provide a direct avenue toward economic independence. The Bouazizi Opportunity Center is a resource to the local community and a global symbol for hope and unity.

 

 

For more student projects, check out Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V