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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!

2022 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part IV

We are back with week four of the 2022 Student Architecture Student Showcase featuring five more projects from schools around the world. This week’s projects focus on improving the quality of life for marginalized communities ranging from Puerto Rico to Saudi Arabia and beyond. Each project showcases the unique context within the country of the project’s location.

For more student work, please explore Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Hanapbuhay: Remaking Manila by Romilie Calotes, M. Arch, B. EnvD. ’22
University of Manitoba | Advisor: Lisa Landrum

This thesis investigation probes at the matters of identity, dignity, and stability within spaces that the city and surrounding community traditionally perceive as “informal,” this often refers to “non-legal” settlers. Manila City’s collective memory vis a vis identity is being examined with a focus narrowed on a reclaimed land in the coast of its bay; currently known as “BASECO Compound”. Entangled within colonial, political, and religious presence, the site has gradually become the home to Manila’s largest urban poor “barangay” community. The design of pragmatic and incremental, community-inspired eco-hub will line the entire neighborhood, which may be successfully achieved by the barangay themselves, for themselves.

I have always wondered why and how “slums” formed near where I had lived as a child. I would go to school with people who live in homes where their roofs were made of scrap corrugated metals (yiero), thin light-penetrated wood flooring that would screech with every footstep, and walls made of patched thin wood sheets and metal panels showing multi-colored gradation caused mainly by weathering. Yet when we came to school, we all wore the same uniforms, and we as I perceived, were all equals.

Hanapbuhay is a tagalog word, rooting from “hanap” meaning to search and “buhay” meaning life. The two words together, hanapbuhay, means livelihood. Many informal settlers come to the city in search of livelihood, but in exchange they live in unimaginable (to the western society) living conditions, often near creeks, garbage dumps, and dangerous sites.

In hopes of revealing latent memories prompting revelation of the BASECO’s identity, thus creating a space of sanctuary amidst a past that is founded in impermanence. The thesis addresses the rapid densification of cities in Metro Manila, The Philippines’ capital region which was accelerated by a phenomenon exacerbated by the martial law induced by a dictator president: Ferdinand Marcos from 1968-1987 in the Philippines¹. He ruled with an authoritative regime, removing the democratic rights of the Filipinos, and implementing curfews to restrict unwanted movement of people. The “squatter” population grew since the president prioritized economic growth to “improve” the global image of the country—thus meant constant relocation and displacement for people living without land titles, and deep disregard for social and ecologic wealth.

Once Marcos’ rule came to an end, the informal settlements referred to as “slums” began to expand at an unparalleled rate². This has arguably resulted in cruel living conditions, with people remaining in the margins of society and the city, as is typical of many “informal settlements”.

The study focuses on the local scale of Metro Manila, bringing a deeper understanding of the informal-incremental housing strategy, as well as a method of working with existing ecosystems, within a focused site. As Manila is surrounded by the Manila and Laguna Bays, this suggests the inescapable reality of working with water, as a river, ocean, and source of ‘hanapbuhay’.

Augmented by retrospect and latent memories of Manila, the investigation will conclude with addressing a deep-rooted personal curiosity to learn about my home country, inscribing stability through architecture. Learning from these settlements to help regenerate a more resilient future for Manila’s struggling communities. And offering a thought-provoking and careful proposal that will evoke transformation in the unchanging environment of Philippines’ socio-political and environmental landscape.

Instagram: @romiliecalotes, @faumanitoba, @lisalandrum.arch

Mercado Salado by Claudia Crespo, M.Arch ’22
University of Puerto Rico | Advisor: Regner Ramos

“Mercado Salado” by my student Claudia Crespo, is part of her M.Arch dissertation: “Villas Pesqueras: Documenting the Coastal Culture of Puerto Rico Through Architectural Discourse”. Claudia’s committee heralded her work as the best dissertation they’d ever seen, a story-teller that gives voice to a marginalized community, and highlighted how she was able to navigate complex issues with such elegance, maturity, and poise.

“Mercado Salado” inserts traditional Puerto Rican fishing villages in direct confrontation with public policies that exclude locals from access to our coasts, while granting access to the tourism industry. In this way it challenges issues of community displacement, legislation, and the right to our land. The imminent rise of sea levels is here used as the framework to destabilize existing zoning codes to further her agenda: of safeguarding the existence of a local fishing community, while recognizing that eventually Mercado Salado and its site will be lost to the waters.

Instagram: @uprarchitecture, @claudiacrespo6

Embodied Morphologies by Grace Ann Altenbern, B.Arch ’22
University of Tennessee | Advisor: Jennifer Akerman

As our society is a product of the patriarchy, architecture anticipates and produces a scale figure that adheres to the “mythical norm.” This institutes a rigid and unyielding architectural framework, constructing a hostile environment for everyone who lies outside of the presumed scale figure. Therefore, we must deconstruct architectural thought and design prosthetic interventions that defy the residual hardness of the built environment as we know it and expand to create a revolutionary future.

I am exploring the intersection of architecture and fashion through the lens of critical theory to challenge design practices within our patriarchal capitalist system. Through a perspective rooted in gender studies, I have identified architecture as being designed by and for Audre Lorde’s “mythical norm”: a white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, financially secure patriarchal product. Instead, I aim to study bodies in motion and find diverse scale figures for designing architecture.

Beginning with these revolutionary scale figures, I ask myself: what apparatuses could assist the modern scale figure in dwelling among marginalized spaces? In exploring this question, I have identified the prerequisites that define my prosthetics as tools to redistribute power to those that architecture has otherized. Utilizing this as a new framework to begin designing, I have created body architecture that aims to defy the rigidity of spatial practice. With these prosthetics drafted, I have represented them in environments that traditionally disregard anyone considered other.

Throughout these studies, I have found that design solutions must exist on a spectrum, utilizing bodies outside of the designer’s own privilege in order to create a more inclusive future: an embodied utopia.

Instagram: @graceannaltenbern, @j_akerman

“روح جدة” – Jeddah’s Soul by Baraa Al Ali, B.Arch ’22
American University of Beirut | Advisor: Carla Aramouny

The city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia has witnessed, since the mid-20th century, urban changes and shifts at a rapid rate with the complete neglect of the city’s historical core. The proposed development strategies, that are part of an unclear plan, claim to seek the development of the area in a manner that enables it to perform its strategic role as a major center for business and housing, with an emphasis on the need to preserve historical, cultural, and architectural value. Yet, the ongoing works in the heritage site present the area as a fragment of the past for tourists to consume, completely disregarding those who are behind the city’s survival over the past decades: the foreign workers.

The research examines the current situation in Al Balad, Jeddah, looks at case studies that have tackled restorations of heritage sites as well as attempts to create a national identity for the locals. The aim is to determine the medium and the methodology through which the soul of the city could be potentially retrieved.

The project is an attempt to follow an alternative unconventional approach that is focused on space rather than buildings, on the soul of the area and the neighborhood; so instead of mummifying the bodies, it opts for the “reincarnation” of the collective soul of the neighborhood.

This can only be done by working on the spaces and the public programs and the human factor who are the residents.

The design stresses on the concept of tissue and fabric because it is problematic to stress the sculptural, free-standing, autonomous entities, at the expense of the fabric & the tissue. Therefore, the method consists of working on the external spaces, stressing the public over the private, the exterior, the open and the leftover, consequently the soul rather than the bodies.

This approach is appropriate because it allows to work with something not traditional or bound to existing buildings, without compromising any of the existing structures or their identity and historical value. The outcome is a social hub that consists of indoor and outdoor functions which serve mainly the current community.

Instagram: @baraaalali, @ard_aub

Architecture As Actant for Protest: Solidarity with Amiskwaciwâskahikan’s (Edmonton) Unhoused Community by Robert Maggay, M.Arch ’22
Laurentian University | Advisor: Aliki Economides

Conditioned by neoliberal imperatives and settler colonial impositions of ‘property’, architecture is complicit in upholding spatial and social inequities. The neologism ‘houselessness’ foregrounds housing as a human right, which must be addressed through the provision of accessible housing, yet this process is slow. Moreover, unhoused individuals are disproportionately affected by pandemics. Their aggravated health risks owe to crowded shelters, comorbidities, and pandemic-related restrictions of supportive services. While COVID-19 has worsened the pre-existing houselessness crisis, some immediate effects may be addressed locally through mutual aid: a form of rapid response and community care that demonstrates both the need for bottom-up solutions and interim approaches to houselessness. This thesis explores how architecture might challenge existing frameworks of power to act in solidarity with houseless neighbours. The series of design interventions proposed for Edmonton, Alberta, focus on socio-spatial relationships – related to water, sanitation, and hygiene – that act in solidarity with houseless people.

This thesis draws from various interviews with local mutual aid volunteers who work to address the immediate needs of houseless neighbours. Based on these interviews, a series of architectural program pairings were established to satisfy two functions: to improve upon existing site uses, and to embed programs and functions that address limited access to water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities for houseless people. The political forces in public space and architecture limit the ways in which houseless neighbours engage with the built environment, such as the enforcement of property, displacement, security and police, and people who are less sympathetic to the experience of houselessness. An understanding of an ontological violence facing houseless neighbours is the primary driver for this research. This thesis explores the design of a public amenity building that co-locates café, bike repair shop and laundromat programming while embedding functions that mitigate harm among houseless neighbours and their limited access to water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. Through this proposal, access to washrooms, bathing facilities, laundry machines, day use lockers, public phone rooms and places of respite from extreme weather conditions are explored.

Instagram: @robertmyguy, @aliki.economides

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

2022 Study Architecture Student Showcase - Part III

Welcome back to Part III of the 2022 Study Architecture Student Showcase. This week, we feature students from across the United States, specifically highlighting award-winning work. Each project represents a unique relationship between the built environment and the context within which the project is located. For more projects, please explore Part I and Part II.

TEMPLE SCIENCE (Bio-Geometry and Sustainable Architecture) by Omar Ayache, B.Arch ’22
American University of Beirut | Advisor: Carla Aramouny

First Prize in Areen Projects Award for Excellence in Architecture & Dean’s Award for creative Achievement

In the context of ambient threats such as environmental and electromagnetic pollution and global warming, this thesis explores the relationship between the human system’s geometric blueprint and the energetic structure of ancient temples. The purpose is to create responsible design with healing properties while addressing a pertinent Lebanese site in need of waste management and urban transformation. As such, a dual approach was applied with environmentally responsive design in addition to energetically aligned architecture.

This exploration aligns the geometric blueprints with those of the energetic planetary system as well as the physical correlates that emerge from them. After establishing the correlational relationship between geophysical anomalies (Sacred power spots) and their impact on the studied environments, I explore ancient design principles and their application in current contexts through the lens of a Geometrical Alchemy, Bio-geometry, at the individual, architectural, and urban scales, while illuminating the forgotten dimensions of environmentally responsive design. I initiated this thesis as a researcher taking foundation and advanced level courses in Biogeometry and a course at the Resonance Science Foundation on the sacred science of ancient temples. On the other hand, developed by Dr.Ibrahim Karim, Bio-Geometry is the science of detecting, amplifying, and reproducing the centering energy qualities found in sacred power spots and in the energetic centers of the human body, referred to as the BG3 energy quality, by using a design language, of shape, angles, colors, and proportions, that can be implemented in designs at any scale.

The variables generating habitable and functional architecture will be aligned with Biogeometrical science to integrate favorable energetic qualities while considering programmatic thermal zoning, climate-responsive geometry and naturally performative materials and building techniques at the architectural scale. At the urban scale, variables such as density, sustainable growth, resource management, and urban geometric infrastructure will be assessed taking the hazardous Naameh Landfill in Lebanon as a site of analysis and intervention through enhanced Landfill mining. An excavation process that would transform the landfill’s hazardous waste into Raw materials activating the local economy and revealing a Biogeometric climate responsive power-city in the process.

This project is a work in progress and would not have been possible without the guidance of Professor Rana Haddad, Professor Carla Aramouny, and Dr. Ibrahim Karim.

Instagram: @omaralayash01, @caramouny, @200grs, @ard_aub

Invisible Realities of Future-Past by Cierra Francillon and Caleb-Joshua Spring, B.Arch ’22
Pratt Institute School of Architecture | Advisor: Gonzalo Jose Lopez Garrido and  Daniela Fabricius

Degree Project Award ’22 Social Justice Prize

The neighboring communities of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, located in Detroit, were once social and cultural meccas and symbolic centers of Black life. This place was one of the major destinations of the Great Migration of the twentieth century, the mass exodus of Black people fleeing the intense racism in the South in search of better opportunities. Black Bottom and Paradise Valley were razed by the city of Detroit and state of Michigan for urban renewal and the construction of the Chrysler Freeway (I- 375), displacing large numbers of Black people and creating “root shock”¹ in the Black community that has present day ramifications.

This project is rooted in exploring the dispossession and subsequent root shock caused by the American highway system and urban renewal. This project seeks to rectify the effects of root shock by imagining a parallel present where Paradise Valley and Black Bottom re-emerge and are allowed to grow without disruption from the effects of white supremacist policies. The goal is to speculate on a new way of black urban life, or a new Black Commons, by dissolving the highway system to return the commons to Black people, and accessing this parallel reality that is rooted in the legacies of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley. The domestic commons, the commons of sustenance, the commons of cultural production and leisure, and the space of the collective, are new typologies that lean on music, ritual, care, and agriculture to restore Paradise Valley and Black Bottom as cultural and social meccas in Detroit. We used an Afrosurrealist approach to encourage, support, and allow for a rhizome of personal relationships spanning across Africa and North America in order to reimagine and reform a Black Detroit in the crux of the interstate highway system and urban renewal. As the highway system crumbles into disrepair and is abandoned, a new Black Commons will emerge from the ruins of late stage capitalism and its anti-Black policies.

¹ Mindy T. Fullilove, Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It (New York: One World/Ballantine Books, 2004).

Instagram: @cierra.png, @blkbencarson, @gjlg, @knitknot_architecture

Reparatory Craft by Mary Margaret Williams, B.Arch ’22
University of Tennessee | Advisor: Jennifer Akerman

Tau Sigma Delta Bronze Medal, Distinguished Design Award, Third Place

Reparatory Craft speculates and investigates the methods in which craft and aesthetic strategies can hold space for trauma processing and releasing exercises through participatory practices. Specifically, the bodily effects of trauma under the lens of neurology, interpersonal biology, and psychopathology illuminate the idea that bodies can engage in space as a coping and healing practice. Reparatory Craft engages the community through the episodic series of model making and storytelling. There is a place for both whimsy and trauma coping, and this thesis exhibits that notion.

The early stages of this thesis began with material studies, where three models and diagrams investigated how sensory input can engage the body. I explored how these ideas may generate domestic experiences through a series of ten photomontages. A sister model accompanies each photomontage. The final stage in this process continued the participatory nature of the model making through three wall assemblies with the engagement of twelve participants.

KEY QUESTIONS
-How can a multidisciplinary approach towards addressing trauma begin to shift the methodologies and conversations around design?
-What is architecture’s role in addressing trauma?
-What assembly strategies are productive in prompting dialogue?
-What sensory details are successful in engaging the body?

CLAIMS
-Strategic assembly logics and aesthetic approaches can engage the body to hold space for trauma processing and releasing exercises.
-Model making can act as an accessible framework in which a wide audience can participate.
-Craft is a vehicle for more accessible design.

“We comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original value as images. Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.”
-Gaston Bachelard

Instagram: @marymargaretwilliams, @j_akerman

Ensanguined: Architecture, Militarism, and Slave Labor in the Nazi Monumental Building Program by Parker Klebahn, B.Arch ’22
Syracuse University | Advisor: Dr. Lawrence Chua

Dean’s Citations for Excellence in Thesis Design, Bernice Hogan Prize by the Department of History in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

This project examines the monumental building practices and program of the Third Reich. By looking at the way monumental building was imbedded within the regimes policies of displacement, horrific and extractive labor, and genocide, this thesis establishes a critique of architecture and architects direct complicity and willing engagement with authoritarian regimes and atrocity. This project relies almost exclusively on original archival research and hopes to open a new line of discourse on the relationship between monumental architecture and labor practices in the Third Reich.

Architecture was an integral part of socio-cultural worldbuilding in Nazi Germany, the core of the Nazi’s architectural vision for Germany was Welthauptstadt Germania, a new masterplan for Berlin designed by Hitler, in conjunction with Albert Speer. At the center of Hitler’s new city was a massive domed hall that the Fuhrer had sketched years earlier while in prison writing Mein Kampf, it was to be called the Volkshalle, the hall of the people. Planning documents for The Volkshalle called for the largest slave labor force ever assembled, for 10 years of construction along with millions of tons of building materials. The Volkshalle, and all other Berlin reconstruction projects were to be built utilizing the massive systems of brutal oppression and slave labor that the Third Reich had created, often parts of it being purpose built for the monumental buildings themselves. This massive network of slave labor facilities, deportation centers, and extermination camps were the horrific reality of Hitler’s sketches and lofty architectural aspirations. Architects and Politicians in Nazi Germany had used monumental architecture directly in the pursuit of genocide.

This project takes shape in the form of a large model. At the center of the model sits the Volkshalle, but the Volkshalle has been Ensanguined, dirtied and is shown in a state of gross imperfection, the pieces of the model do not fit together properly. In the cutting of the mode, four primary building materials are shown. Adjacent to the Volkshalle are four of the real slave labor facilities that produced materials for the project, they are shown accurately, I offer no comment on their representation.

Community Crucible by Xander Parker and Austin Wahl, BSD Architecture
University of Nebraska | Advisor: Ashley Byars and Ryan Hier

SGH Concepts + Dri-Design Competition

To provide a voice to the people, our project embraces the concept of Community Crucible. A place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development. To enact that change our proposal identifies three strategies to facilitate development; adapt, sustain, and engage.

Adapt refers to the flexible and loosely fitted program that sits within the project that is ever changing with community needs. Sustain invokes support through the physical preservation of the environment, while encouraging growth of the community. Likewise, engage refers to the intimate interactions that happen within transactional spaces. The community crucible having these strategies existing together allows a community to both grow and take authorship to preserve its culture.

Instagram: @austin_wahl15, @xanpar1, @ashley.k.byars, @ryanhier

Objects & Affection by Andrew Tot Bui, M.Arch ’22
Morgan State University | Advisor: Coleman A. Jordan

Award for Best Thesis

Space is the accumulation of objects and artifacts of our daily lives. This project is a tactile exploration of form as a predetermination of virtual and real space.

We use our hands to navigate our real space and virtual space with limited feedback. This project is about the desk as personal space, the hand as the site, and object as architecture. Ergonomic designs are fractions of gestures and these derived forms are indeterminate fractals of gestures. Straight lines are logic tools and curves are corporal expressions starting from fingers and into the body.

The end result is a catalogue of forms, materials, and process that speak about void and figure as an object of personal reflection. These objects implore a user to navigate with their hands and arrange compositions to create space with grid and form by exploring the simplicity of shapes and wholeness.

Instagram: @andrew.bui.562, @studiocaje

Grading Light by James Clark-Hicks and Isabel Ochoa, M.Arch ’22
University of Waterloo | Advisor: David Correa

Ron Sims Purchase Prize, Nominees for Canadian Architect Student Award of Excellence, Commended Theses

When interacting with light, surface geometries and clay bodies can work together to heighten the perception of depth and alter illumination. This thesis investigates how clay 3D printing can generate materially responsive engagements between ceramics and light.

A computational methodology is developed to produce texture and sculptural relief in ceramic surfaces. Liquid Deposition Modeling is used to study the plastic deformation of clay during wet-processing. Most 3D printing technologies are currently conceived as end-stage production processes characterized by high-fidelity between digital models and physical outputs. Stoneware and porcelain have a wide variety of working properties and ceramic traits that demand new approaches to digital tooling. By making the study of material behaviour essential to the design process, clay 3D printing enables non-linear design-to-production systems. The research outputs are a series of stoneware and porcelain screens that vary in brightness and illumination based on how light may be obstructed, reflected or transmitted across their surfaces. Prototypes are developed at full scale to understand the relationship between sensory engagement and material properties.

The scope, context and research methods are divided into three parts: Light and Ceramic Material Performance– Explains stoneware and porcelain’s performance capabilities in the context of Functionally Graded Additive Manufacturing. Ceramics and Digital Fabrication– Explains the tools by which the research methods are produced in the context of how tool path design is being leveraged in the practice of digitally crafted ceramics. Methodology– Outlines the methods involved in making qualitative changes to alter light-scattering behaviour in 3D printed clay screens. The research is structured around a series of four light screen typologies. Each typology utilizes unique digital and physical tooling methods, harnesses plastic deformation, structural capabilities, and light scattering behaviour in porcelain and stoneware structures.

Instagram: @is_oc, @ochceramics, @materialsyntax

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

 

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.