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2021 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part IV

Welcome back for Part IV of the Study Architecture Student Showcase. This week, we are featuring award-winning work from architecture students hailing from University of Pennsylvania, Savannah College of Art and Design, and The University of Texas at Austin. Make sure to check out Part I, Part II, and Part III. Follow along on Instagram @imadethat_. 

 

Cloned and Clashed by Megan York, M.Arch and Eddie Sheng, M.Arch
University of Pennsylvania | Advisors: Ferda Kolatan + Caleb Ehly
Published in UPenn’s journal, Pressing Matters 10, published in Summer 2022

Iconoclash is when one does not know, one hesitates, one is troubled by an action for which there is no way to know, without further inquiry, whether it is destructive or constructive.
—Bruno Latour, ICONOCLASH: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art

The question of what is original and what is replicated is posed within the new nature of this artificial landscape. The original and the clone are lost in translation as they interrelate within a new technologically driven environment.

The New York Savings Bank building evokes the spirit of capitalism and value in its late 19th century aesthetic. The dialogue of the mundaneness of the machine and the spectacularity of the monument are also questioned; how to make them one and the same and equivocally present. The machinery of the cloning mechanics inherently clashes with the presence of monumental aesthetics.

The new monument generates a series of dialogues in relation to the power of value in technology, what we perceive as original and replicated, the homage toward the gleam of temples, and the interdependent relationship of the mundane and the spectacular. Columns clash with ventilation, ziggurats clash with machines, and intricate drums clash with new materials and synthetic environments, inevitably redefining the role of the monument in contemporary times.

 

AREA 10 by Sophie Liu Ribeiro Da Silva, B.F.A. in Architecture
Savannah College of Art and Design | Advisor: Daniel Brown
Awarded the Chair’s Senior Design Achievement Award for SCAD | Featured on Dezeen

As part of the Nevada Testing Site, Yucca Flat was the host for over 900 bomb tests. In the end, at over 300 feet deep and measuring 1,150 feet in diameter, Sedan Crater is the site for AREA 10. It will inform people of the consequences of nuclear war on humanity and nature through learning spaces that use exhibitions, viewing points, and atomic gardening. The goal is for the visitor to leave with a deeper understanding of history and a sense of growth from this dark past.

With the site being heavily contaminated by radioactivity, the challenge was to find solutions to how to create a lively building in such a deeply scarred place. Janice C. Beatley started research on the flora of the Nevada Testing Site. However, she passed before she could complete her thesis, so the site is a research center for atomic gardening – a method where radioactive water genetically modifies plants so that they can grow even in contaminated soil. Apart from that, the communities surrounding Yucca Flat were deeply affected by the water and soil contamination, therefore, the building functions on a living machine that collects water from the contaminated soil and purifies it through the plants themselves. When you are walking to the building, you are walking between mass destruction and the possibility of growth. As you learn from the spaces and absorb the deep, and rich history of the site and nuclear war, you ascend to the top of the tower. In the end, you can see the entirety of Yucca Flat and all of the gardens planted inside the craters, giving a sense of catharsis from all the heavy information that you have absorbed.

In terms of programming, there will be a lot to do and explore. The one thing that an 18-story tall building in the middle of the vast Nevada desert can do is plant curiosity in those who are visiting. It is with this curiosity that they are intended to explore the learning and experiential spaces that AREA 10 provides. Not only will there be areas with panels of information about the site and nuclear war, but in the library, visitors can research more of the site’s history. In the laboratory, they can experiment with plants and their possibility to grow. There are video rooms with reels of the explosions of the 1950s in the site and a bleacher configuration that sits in the crater, recreating the experience of someone watching the bombs going off. Throughout the upward journey, there are classrooms where you can take summer classes to learn about the genetics of plants and their modifications. There are also contemplation pods where you can only see the nature surrounding you, inciting a more spiritual connection. There is even a sensorial space, where you can experience the presence of noise and echoes, before entering a room that is completely noise-canceling to simulate how your hearing becomes numb after an explosion.

Follow Sophie on Instagram @sophielribeiro

 

 

 

In’terminal: Reunion District by James K. Jung, M.Arch ‘21
Savannah College of Art & Design | Advisor: Huy Sinh Ngo
Featured on Dezeen | AIA Merit Award For Outstanding Thesis Project,  AIA Henry Adams Medal, Peer Choice Outstanding Thesis Award, & Dean’s Award in Architecture

In’terminal is a multi-modal transit hub that embodies the transformative power of architecture in the creation and evolution of the built environment. Redefining streets not only as spaces in-between but as places to promote social interaction and refuge, the project aims to promote a sustainable urban lifestyle by transforming an abandoned parking garage into social infrastructure. By reconciling mobility as the public realm prioritizing social capital, In’terminal adopts placemaking strategies layered in rich, shared spaces where a community becomes the domain of many; a common network and a fabric woven with empathy to unify social identity and sense of belonging.

The site is located south of downtown Dallas near the entrance to the city passing the Trinity River that is connected by two bridges: Jefferson Blvd Viaduct and Houston St Viaduct. The site is an abandoned parking garage structure of about 160,000 square feet. The ground floor also consists of parking lots that are underutilized after the demolition of the Reunion Arena in 2009. 

There are diverse communities surrounding the Reunion District, including low-income neighborhoods, Hispanic communities, and young metro-renters in downtown Dallas. By adapting and reusing the abandoned parking garage, In’terminal investigates future mobility through the realm of architecture by integrating the redefinition of streets as more than spaces in-between buildings or the lowest level of access for the public. Instead, it proposes a multipurpose “archetype,” which allows accessible social activities that catalyze intermodal connections between air and ground movements to the last mile of users’ journeys: biking and walking.

The ground level and second level of the hub are a mixed-use program that encourages social connectivity open to the public by creating diverse novel activities and essential infrastructures promoting the health and well-being of the public. The third level is parallel to the bridge level which is the spine between the city of Dallas and the suburban districts. It also crosses the Trinity River where the bridge proposed to be reimagined as a pedestrian-friendly promenade connects the surrounding districts to the Trinity River development.

Follow him on Instagram: @faithfulnes / @archiosaurus 

 

A School for Colombo by Brandon Raettig and Yossef Shabo
The University of Texas at Austin | Advisor: ​​Professor David Heymann
Recipient of the  Editors Choice Award in a UNI Competition, 2020-21 Design Excellence Award,

Located within Rajagiriya, a suburb just outside of Colombo, Sri Lanka, we have proposed a speculative school for the performing arts that desires to function as a “well” for its community. Two principles drove the design from the earliest phases: 

  • The community must always have space to gather no matter what conditions exist on the ground plane.
  • The school must be viewed as “incomplete” because finished architecture cannot meet the needs of a changing society.

With climate change becoming a more pressing issue every year, the city of Colombo and its suburbs must brace themselves for far more flooding. The norm in civic architecture today is to place public spaces at the ground level. However, when floods occur, these spaces are no longer hospitable. Due to our proximity to a canal that harbors deadly viruses, the problems are only multiplied. With the insertion of our school, we strive to create a space that maintains the possibilities of public ownership. Our bowl condition acts as a dam to preserve safe spaces within and above. In dire conditions, the public may arrive at our school by either boat or floating debris, where they can find temporary refuge in the form of fresh water, food, and shelter. When the ground plane becomes habitable, the edge condition where the perimeter walls meet the ground becomes a hub for local artisans and vendors to meet their community. 

Bamboo serves an important role within our proposal, acting as a binding agent to bring the community and the performers at the school together. Fifteen percent of the site is dedicated to the cultivation of bamboo; this farm is housed within the center of the project, establishing a zone we have named the oasis. It is the role of nature to enhance the tranquility of the spaces. The dense plantings additionally reduce the heat load of the mass by reducing the sun’s direct contact with the surfaces. As the bamboo culms reach maturity, they are used for the construction of the tower’s bamboo screen as well as for the shelter pods during flooding. This is where the concept of the “incomplete” comes into play. The quick growth cycle of bamboo means that the material is almost always available. As space to shelter the community becomes a priority, structures can be assembled quickly to meet this need. Hypothetically, the scaffolding of the tower could be positioned in any direction, allowing for constant flexibility. 

Follow them on Instagram: @brandon.raettig and @youssefshabo.

 

Shibuya Urban Theatre by Taisuke Wakabayashi & Emily Tejeda-Vargas
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Advisor: Professor Botond Bognar
Finalist for the Graduate Studio Award 

Tokyo’s most famous characteristics are the crowded streets, busy crosswalks, and covered architecture. Facades are infested by billboards, ads, and banners and are indeed the main economic, socio-cultural, and geo-specific feature of the site. Recognizing the facade of advertisements as a typology, we’re proposing an anti-type. In this project, rather than more billboards, we are proposing that the program, activities, and movement of people become the ad; the real face of urban life. 

If someone approaches the building from the east, crossing Shibuya Square, they face a three-story open plaza full of art installations. There, they’ll meet the travelers from the underground train, the workers, and the students, using the cafes and stores from the basement and first level. If one continues through the grand stairway, they will find the second level; a green viewpoint, to sit, relax, and contemplate the first show: the city. On the third and fourth floor, we find the semi-public library and private studios for worldwide famous artists conducting their next groundbreaking project. A curved ramp takes you from the fifth to the seventh floor, through the temporary gallery where a fashion show might be taking place, and to the main hall for private events and outdoor seating. From the eighth to the ninth floor, there is a permanent gallery for conventional art collections next to an outdoor amphitheater. The 10th floor is for the nightclub, bar, and restaurant, facing the best views of Tokyo and ascending to an 11th floor green terrace at the very top. 

This is how the project not only includes museums, installations, art galleries, libraries, outdoor galleries, cafes, a Nike Think Tank, and an urban theater but becomes the Urban Theatre. By turning activities, or rather the visibility of activities into the advertisement, this project aims to respond to economic needs and financial feasibility, while creating exposition and interconnectivity where people meet and manifest.

 

 

2020 Student Thesis Showcase - Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Marco on IG: @m_nieto24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 Student Thesis Showcase - Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advisor: Ryan Tyler Martinez
Featured on Archinect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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