Caitlin Elizabeth Daly

Perceptive Logic of Digital Tectonics

Digital tectonics can be understood as the process of creation that utilizes computational logic. By utilizing a process of calculation logic, it is possible to begin to challenge our understanding of spatial relationships, and thus challenge traditional views of tectonic relationships. By questioning the conceptualizing of geometries and their specific functions, the process of design becomes focused on the materialization of these relationships. The architectural object created through this calculation logic, needs to be viewed through an objective lens; mathematical forms are scaleless, where architecture, must by definition, be bound to a scale, and perceptive logic. Is there a point at which, calculation can define both the dynamic relationships embedded within the mathematical forms and the metric space that is perceptible built form? Is there a way to define tectonics through the logic of calculation?

Winston Hampel

Ending New

Destruction breaks an object into pieces, reduces it to fragments, puts an end to it - but foremost it leaves emptiness: what was there is gone. Space is made - space for something else, something new. It has often been noted that the establishment of the 'new' incorporates the abolishment of the 'old' - in this sense, destruction appears as the precondition for the creation of a better future, as part of the inherent logic of progress - often manifested in a single spectacular moment: a violent uproar which tends to drown out the manifold issues that go along with it...

Maarten Lambrechts

Inside-Out; Explicating the Metropolis through the Interior

In 1970 Archizoom presented No-Stop City as a project to radically critique the myth of modernist utopia. By turning this ideal of the city into its own grotesque perversion (Utopia of Quantity), the imposed balance within the urban condition was transformed into a state of complete reversibility, challenging and dissimulating any notion of a contained system. In contrast, No-Stop city is set up as an infinite interior with no boundary, exposing the metropolis as a virtual stage within the dimension of the Market itself. A stage on which, as a result, not only the mediating role of architecture is dissolved, but also the bourgeois domestic interior is reduced to its illusive and artificial nature as decor. In this sense, through a total commodification of all products and life, the subject lives detached from the system, and thus liberated to imagine its own space. In the thesis, however, the question is posed how this alienating/liberating strategy of Archizoom can be transmitted to present times in order to trace a possibility of critical architecture. From Archizoom’s image of an architecture reduced to a collection of objects, the zoom will therefore go further in on the image and the purely metaphorical value of the objects. By further looking into this composition that makes the decor of the interior, it is finally on the imaginary level that we might then find a possibility of constructing a new critique.

Marzia Marzorati

Arcadian Autarchy: A History of Rural Corporative Landscapes

The design of the so-called 'planned communities' have often generated an almost paradoxical coexistence between rational ambitions and an ambiguity within that same (and so carefully conceived) system. This is exactly what has happened to the majority of the Sicilian 'new towns', architectural efforts of the last 75 years: what was supposed to be 'sublime' and to bring an original idea of community, has revealed itself none other than something 'perverse' and 'twisted'. The inhabitants of those 'new models' have effectively found themselves thrown in a reality where the architectural gesture has never been followed by any political or social action: the bureaucratic delays, together with the non realization of primary infrastructures and the illegal occupation of not yet inspected dwellings, have contributed to the 'failure' of those same experiments, and to the prevarication of the ambivalent, dark zones over the 'legitimate' ones in both the system and the law. On the other hand, in a way, the analysis of the contemporary urban conditions should precisely start off with a serious analysis of these 'shadow zones' as the matter of fact; quite often, the most interesting and compelling civic transformations occur on these equivocal margins.

Yanisa Niennattrakul

The Modelled Rhetoric, A controversial legacy of 'DusitThani' (1918-1925)

A fictional 1:20 scale-model city located inside the palaces, where King Vajiravudh who was a chief architect and planner stated the first act of the term 'democracy' in Thailand during the time of absolute monarchy. The overwhelming written criticisms of its luxurious representation of 19th century miniatures condemned and overlooked its initial purpose as a study and testing-ground of new democratic urban governance influenced by western models. Instead, language as the first register by the model was consequently criticized for prolonging an ambiguous understanding of 'democracy' for the 'people' in public spaces, especially if one considers the current political crisis in Thailand.

Maria Jose Orihuela

Athlete or savage: Theories on Architecture Education

'Everything, or almost everything, can be learnt; nothing, or almost nothing, can be taught' Eduardo Chillida, Escritos. The variety and disparity of theories intended to shape the architect's education are particularly apparent in the description of the fundamental question of what the basic design problem is. With John F. Harbeson (The Study of Architectural Design: With Special Reference to the Program of the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, 1926), Frederick J. Kiesler and Lazslo Moholy-Nagy (The New Vision: From Material to Architecture, 1932) as main references, first year exercises will open up a series of investigations, namely, why theories on the education of the architect are produced, what they are symptomatic of, and how they operate in the realm of the architecture school. The central hypothesis argues for the irrelevance of the acquirement of skills or dry knowledge; what these theories primarily deliver is a sense of what means to be an architect, in other words, their significance ultimately relies on the ways in which they construct identity.

Alvaro Velasco Perez

The Desert: an endless cultural landscape

Seemingly a barren landscape, the desert is a paradoxically interesting object of research for a historian. Through the twentieth century, many figures such as Ansel Adams, Georgia O'keeffe, Michelangelo Antonioni, Robert Smithson, Donald Judd and Wim Wenders used the desert as a testing ground, a site, an empty background, upon which they could project their ideas. The thesis consists in my own travelogue using two guides/readings of the American desert (Scenes in America Deserta by Reyner Banham and America by Jean Baudrillard) and an album of photographs (Desert Cantos by Richard Misrach), all three linked through their myths and visions. My journey will revisit these multiple stories and accounts of the same familiar context that triggered the construction of these fictions placing them against the actual American desert. The argument being that they did not visit the South West but their own ideas and images. The desert as a cultural landscape, a void deeply charged with mythologies and desires, has the capacity to absorb and generate the stories of its travelers.

Devanshi Paresh Shah

Improbable Histories: stories that build cities

"I was born in the city of Bombay... once upon a time." Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children, Much like the origins of fairy tales with vague and of conflicting sources, Mumbai has its own fantastic origin story. Or rather stories. Identity; remains an unanswered and important question within the context of Mumbai. Developing an image of self is often explored by reducing the human scale of the city down to an individual or to individual events. Forced into, making an acquaintance with a change in scale, regarding the built environment and festive celebrations. The city of Mumbai, much like Salman Rashdie's justification of the use historical inaccuracies, (in his book Midnight's Children) as 'just the way he remembers it happening', exists based on its own fabricated stories. Apart from referring back to the past of the Bombay Presidency, undocumented fairy-tales become a way to legitimize historical fiction as fact. This erratic co-existence of fact and fiction; Bombay and Mumbai; in contemporary conversation, proclaimed its arrival, between 1970 and late 80's. These pubescent years are where this story begins.

Lindsey Stamps

A Refuge for the Mind

Within the mind spaces of f e a r are built and projected onto physical constructions causing a need for the fabrication of places of r e f u g e. Spatial phobias create a total interior as a result of reconstructed memories. How does fear project onto the surface of the built environment? How do spaces which provide comfort become spaces of fear? What is the role of architectural boundaries in the experience of spatial phobias, and how is this mediated by m e m o r y? Using cinema as an entry point, scenes are explored to find specific instances of the f r a m e d image of dread. The b o u n d a r y of this frame is analyzed and explored in relation to architectural detail.