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1 Thesis Design Log

Architectural Design Thesis

Amy Rutty


Table of Contents


Study #1 - Birds Study #2 - Abstract Void Study #3 - Vellum Precedents + Predecessors

3 Contents

Initial Abstract 5 Place 7 21 Change 25 33 Adapt 41 49 Therefore... 65 67 New Material Taxonomy 77


Initial Abstract


Architects are interpreters of the environment, translating physical “space” to social, physical, and psychological experiences of “place.” As Michael Weistock explains in The Architecture of Emergence, “Over time humans have proliferated across the face of the earth until all the forms on the surface of the earth have been modified, to greater or lesser extent, by their works.” Architecture is the interface between people and the environment - we make changes to our environment and the way we interact with it in order to establish and understand ourselves. It is these adjustments that create the physical attributes of place – but what happens when the naturally occurring physical attributes are non-permanent? How can we preserve identity, comfort, and consistency in dynamic environments? As previously predictable environmental patterns shift towards less and less familiar conditions, the built environment must adapt. But how do we as architects design for the psychological and sociological aspects of place in non-static environments?

5 Abstract

This exploration situates itself at the convergence of “place” and “change.” We define ourselves as humans within the context of our surroundings – through adapting both our environments and ourselves, we construct a sense of place and belonging that is interwoven with the conditions of our environment. This thesis seeks to understand a new paradigm of materials in order to design “place” for changing environmental conditions. Through the study of existing and emerging responses - both materially physical and phenomenal - to changing environments, what cues can we take from our natural environment in order to responsibly and ethically design for humans in an altering world without risking our identity and the identity of the environment.


Place


The meaning of place is ambiguous and relies heavily upon who is defining it. Place is a conceptual tool we use to relate ourselves to our physical surroundings, the time in which we exist, and others occupying time and space with us.

7 Place

What follows is a variety of approaches to the concept of place.

Premise

Place is complex in nature, with many factors affecting the collective and personal perception of a location. At its simplest, place can be understood as the way humans process, belonging to, and understanding our more or less dynamic environments.


“Place is an event is marked by openness and change rather than boundedness and permanence. This significantly alters the value put on place as it is constructed from the outside rather than from the inside.�


The opposing image illustrates the ephemeral quality of this concept. Light is shown on a wall, for a specific moment in time. It is shaped and blocked by the particular placement of objects between the light source and the incidental wall canvas itself. The phenomena could occur anywhere, but this instance is unique - an event constructed of time, light, objects, and atmosphere.

Human Geography Cresswell, Tim. “The Geneaology of Place” from Place – A Short Introduction. United Kingdom: Blackwell. 2004.

According to human geographic theory, events are necessarily tied to a time and a location. As Tim Cresswell notes, “place” can be described as a happening, rather than a physical occurrence or location. Arturo Escobar argues that “places gather things, thoughts, and memories in particular configurations.” From this perspective, “the value on place” comes from external things, since place is constructed by elements coming together and interacting with one another.

9 Place

Place is the combination of impermanent and varying events happening somewhere which leave traces and memories.


“PAUSES”

“IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET QUIETER.”

“THINGS ALWAYS CHANGE SO DRAMATICALLY HERE”

“IT’S ALWAYS MODERATELY NOISY HERE.”

“IT’S ALWAYS ABSOLUTELY SILENT HERE.”

“If we think of space as that which allows movement, then place is pause; each pause in movement makes it possible for location to be transformed into place.”

SILENCE

“IT’S ALWAYS SO LOUD.”


Place evolves from occurrences, combining through memories over time.

Geographic Theory Tuan, Yi-Fu. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience Part 11.

The question then becomes how many of these “pauses” are necessary to influence and form place from location. If we consider that each pause is different from the last and the next, then overtime there is a change in the external understanding of place. Therefore, as traits collected within the “pause” evolve, so does the sense of place.

11 Place

If we take Yi-Fu Tuan’s perspective, place is the simultaneous occurrence of events happening at a location. The “pauses” allow for meaning and interpretation to be applied by the observer. Tuan’s theory is extremely useful because it distinguishes place as separate from the physical attributes of a space and moves towards an understanding of place as tied to events and qualities happening in time. The succession of these events and qualities build together to form place.


Cartography 13 Place

Place is formed by its relationship to other places or nonplaces.

Galton F.R.S, Francis. Isochronic Passage Chart for Travellers. First. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, 1881.

Another way to approach this concept of place is conceptually through the isochronic map. While Tuan notes place as the simultaneous occurrence happening in a location, isochronic maps show physical location as related to durations of time. In this case, the map depicts duration of travel between the start location - London - and other parts of the world in 1881. While the travel time is influenced by geography, available technology, and assumes favorable conditions and reasonable costs, the outcome is a nonspatial quality translated into a spatial understanding. Time becomes accessible places. Place is understood as distance in time from one point to another.


“Place attachment is rarely static. In considering how places and feelings for place shift overtime, one brings attention to the generative aspects of place – in other words, identifying underlying lifeworld processes that impel ways that places are what they are and what they become.�


Phenomenology 15 Place

Place is constructed from the past, the present, and the future.

Seamon, David. “Place Attachment and Phenomenology” from Place Attachment, New York: Routledge. 2014.

As David Seamon notes, “places are what they are and what they become.” This takes into account the both dynamic venues in which place is occurring and the issue of the future as well as the past. Place understood as existing on a continuum accounts for the notion that place then, now, and later are related but not necessarily identical.


“Place can be defined as any environmental locus in and through which individual or group actions, experiences, intentions, and meanings are drawn together spatially‌ Place is not the physical environment separate from people associated with it but, rather, the indivisible, normally unnoticed phenomenon of person-orpeople-experiencing-place.â€?


Phenomenology 17 Place

Place is the act of “person-or-people-experiencingplace.”

Seamon, David. “Place Attachment and Phenomenology” from Place Attachment, New York: Routledge. 2014.

As David Seamon further articulates, place-making as an action is not just creating the physical aspects of the built environment, but the social and cultural aspects that create a sense of belonging and identity within the built environment.


PLACE [social construct] 55.6761° N, 12.5683° E

[placing a marker] position of location within a map within some social process Copenhagen, Denmark Pop: 583,525

[naming a city] entity or “permanence” occurring within the construction of space-time


Placing a marker on a map gives understanding and orientation of a place’s position in geographic space. Naming that same location invites additional layers of association - culture, history, personal attachment, and so on.

Environmental Psychology Cresswell, Tim. Place – A Short Introduction. United Kingdom: Blackwell. 2004. - Citing Harvey

As Cresswell notes, “A double meaning can, therefore, be given to place as (a) a mere position of location within a map of space-time constituted within some social process or (b) an entity or ‘permanence’ occurring within the transformation of the construction of space-time… the difference in meaning is between putting down a marker… or naming the city…” This small difference in approach leads to a large difference in our understanding of a place and the way we ascribe meaning to that place.

19 Place

Place is location and the particular value belonging to it.


study #1

Birds place


Collectively, the starlings fabricate place through their flight by marking time, establishing new territory, and protect the collective from predators. As the Royal Society of Bird Protection explains, starlings murmurmrate for many reasons: for “safety in numbers... to keep warm at night... to exchange information...�

Premise

When in flight, a flock of starlings - more poetically known as a murmuration - expands and contracts in a seemingly choreographed dance. The form of the collective is generated not by each bird being aware of an over arching formal goal, but by each individual bird responding to the movements of seven others.

21 Birds

The resulting display is not, then, planned or externally configured, but entirely generated by the relationship of internal parts.


23 Birds


`

Change


Since the scale in which our environments change varies widely and they change all the all the time. Perhaps change can best be understood in three categories. First, there are cyclical changes, in which the conditions move back and forth between predictable and perceptible extremes, like circadian and seasonal changes.

Understanding the type of change being experienced helps to gain insight into how to intervene in the environment created by the change. What is becoming clear in our world is that despite the continuity of the cyclical changes, the cycles themselves are becoming less and less familiar.

25 Change

Third, there are sudden, acute changes which occur that alter the state of an environment from it’s typically expected state.

Premise

Second, there are changes which are gradual and vectorial, evolving overtime until a point is reached where the state of an environment no longer mirrors a former state.


Summer

Fall

Winter

Spring


Change, Type 1: Cyclical

27 Change

First, there are cyclical changes, in which the conditions move back and forth between predictable and perceptible extremes, like circadian and seasonal changes. These are the changes we expect and depend upon. They are also a way we relate to our surroundings and mark passage of time. These changes occur on both a physical and social level and help us to develop and relate to our understanding of a place.


While there are instances, such as in the case of a temporary festival or gatherings, where sudden changes are planned for, most sudden changes come as a surprise. and These changes are the result of irregular events and often have unpredictable results. These are changes that require immediate response. According to the American Psychological Association, following a sudden change, such as a disaster, people may experience “intense or unpredictable feelings... changes in thoughts and behavior patterns... sensitivity to environmental factors... strained interpersonal relationships ... stress-related psychological symptoms.” Such effects can dramatically alter the way a person relates to a place they once understood.

Collages. A. Rutty. 2017 29 Change

Second, there are sudden, acute changes which occur that alter the state of an environment from it’s typically expected state.

American Psyhological Association. “Recovering Emotionally from Disaster.” 13 Aug 2013. apa.org.

Change, Type 2: Sudden


Mapping the pathways of changing pathways of the Mississippi River over time


Civil + Geological Engineering 31 Change

Third, there are changes which are gradual and vectorial, evolving overtime until a point is reached where the state of an environment no longer mirrors a former state. These are often imperceptible changes in the short term, but in the long term show dramatic differences.

Army Core of Engineers Geological Investigations of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River by H. Fisk, 1944

Change, Type 3: Transformative


study #2

Abstract/Void change


33 Abstract Void

Premise

Thinking still about place, study #2 adds in a layer of change, especially in relationship to temporary environmental conditions. In this study, fog, light, air, and motion are combined to create an ongoing series of fleeting moments. Each glance into the Abstract/Void will allow a unique observation of the form the fog takes.


light source

void observer

mist


[the light] allows the observer to witness the changes while still limiting the view. It give us focus from which one can forms a frame of understanding [the agitators] develop and change the circumstances of the mist; they offer an opportunity to influence the environment in which the mist and light interact. As previously explored, place is conceptual and loosely definable. In a changing, dynamic environment, how do we define place - especially if we don’t have reliable edges to describe it?

35 Abstract Void

[the mist] happens; subtle, uncontrolled. It occupies the environment and has expected, dependable qualities combined with unpredictable responses.

Abstract Void Section Diagram, 2017

You can make a change to it, but the edges created are of their own accord. The edges are reactive to the conditions of the environment and the environment itself.


37 Abstract Void

(left) Abstract Void Diagram, 2017

(right) Abstract Void Object, 2017


Observations from the Void Quietly within, the mist swirled, never taking the same shape twice. Startled by the observer, the mist moves again. Left alone, the mist moves. Place is Non-Stasis

39 Abstract Void

Quietly in the corner, the void sat. Some were drawn to it, curious about what was contained within, and engaged in various levels of interaction.


Adapt


41 Adapt

Regardless if the change is regular and predictable or sudden and unforeseen, humans must adapt to the resulting environments in order to maintain our relationship with our context.

Premise

Architects are agents of the environment. They interpret and translate physical “space” to social, physical, and psychological experiences of “place.” These interpretations vary widely, dependent upon a plenitude of factors. Despite this, one thing is constant: architectural interventions are physical. An edge, a wall, a room. Stripped of any poetic, polemic, agenda, belief, restriction, architecture is first a constructed object, comprised of materials deemed suitable to then charge the constructed object with some significance or purpose.


“Resilience is the ability of a system to adapt and adjust to changing internal or external processes… the emphasis is not on reaching or maintaining a certain end point or terminal conditions, but on staying ‘in the game.’”


Architecture + Planning 43 Adapt

Hill, Kristina. “Shifting Sites” in Site Matters: Design Concepts, Histories, and Strategies, edited by Carol Burns and Andrea Kahn, 143-144. New York: Routledge, 2005.

“Staying in the game” requires constant appraisal and adaption, especially in a changing context. This means there is no such thing as an end goal or result, but a constant awareness of how our adaptations to the environment are performing.


complete abandonment

spatial response


Kutler, Stanley I. 2003. Dictionary of American History, Third Edition. 234. New imageGale York: citation Cengage Learning Inc, 2003. On the other hand, some extreme changes yeild extreme adaptions. In the case of G-Cans Flood Response Caverns, Tokyo, Japan these extreme changes in environmental conditions lead to incredibly spatial responses - An empty cathedral to house an eventual flood.

45 Adapt

When the area became inundated with stagnant, overlysalinated water, the once resort town evaporated, leaving debris in its wake.

“G-Cans Project, Kasukabe, Saitama, Greater Tokyo Area.� Water Technology, source citation Water-Technology.net,

In some cases, extreme environmental shifts have lead to extreme responses. In the case of Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California, these changes led to complete abandonment.


“Man’s desire is to understand his existence as a meaningful thing, and therefore, the purpose of architecture is to create meaningful places.” -Christian Norberg-Schulz


Architectural Theory 47 Adapt

Robinson, M. “Place-making” in Constructing Place. edited by Menin, S. 144 – 52. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2003.

Beyond the physical adaptations necessary to maintain a relationship and understanding of the world around us, there is a psychological desire to implicate meaning and purpose into those adaptations. In this perspective, adapting our environment is reciprocal with place making, as one cannot be maintained without the other. We both take and impose meaning from the way we interact with our environments.


study #2

Flow[t] Screen adapt


Premise

Architects are interpreters of the environment, translating physical “space” to social, physical, and psychological experiences of “place.”

The outcome simple: create a divider of spaces that invites personal and interpersonal interaction, creates, changes, causes, and occupies space while subsequently affecting the way people experience space. While dividing, this project seeks to soften the edges and distinctions between “here” and “there.”

49 Vellum

The overarching thesis situates itself at the convergence of “place” and “change.” We define ourselves as humans within the context of our surroundings – through adapting both our environments and ourselves, we construct a sense of place and belonging that is interwoven with the conditions of our environment. This project seeks to experiment upon the conditions of the environment through the medium of textile, light, air, and human interaction.


A. Rutty 2017 Premise The project in itself is one of experimentation. While the end design-object is ultimately a divider of space, the outcome was non-specific (and ultimately an ongoing discovery process).

51 Vellum

Throughout the process of developing my this project, I took inspiration from the way fog falls over the city - the way it plays with light and the way it can obscure and hint at what lies beyond. The shapelessness and lightness of the fog were also found within material palette explored in the following experiment.


1

2

3


The biggest challenge in the development of the design object was how exactly to activate the textile. I struggled most with intervening just enough and not too much. [1+2] working with the natural curve of the material along a single movable direction. This worked well on a small scale, but when translated to a larger scale became less realistic.

A. Rutty 2017 Material Studies

4

[3] in observing the way light affected the material led to the realization that the presence of light further blurred the comprehension of the textile’s edges and form.

53 Vellum

[4] piecing apart the material led to interesting forms, and densities, however, this also did not translate well into a larger scale.


1

2

3


A. Rutty 2017 [3] Initial concept sketches showing the human-objecthuman interaction. On the left is increase in density/ decrease in visibility; on the right is decrease in density/ increase in visibility.

55 Vellum

[2] Development of frame and material relationship. Conduit was chosen for its simplicity and weight, as well as the potential connections which could be made between the textile and the frame.

Concept Development

[1] An initial study of density and weaving of material. The project moved away from this approach due to failure in scale translation, which would have been corrected with a greater amount of material.


model

stitch

stitch

finish


assemble

57 Vellum

Fabrication

stitch A. Rutty 2017


59 Vellum

Experiment: Night

A. Rutty 2017


61 Vellum

Experiment: Day

A. Rutty 2017


A. Rutty 2017

Constructed from simple materials and structure, [flow]t screen focuses on subtlety. Light, air, and gently movement become the primary materials as [flow]t Screen quietly occupies, creates, changes, and causes space. The strength of the screen comes from its simplicity and the softened edge it creates.

It creates a place by showing the ephemeral qualities of the space it occupies. Through this translation of invisible to visible, it serves to ground and interpret the space to the observer, as well as specify an edge - a here/there, this side/ that side - within a larger context.

63 Vellum

The overall outcome is simple: a screen activated by the movement of air and the interaction of people. Light also plays on the material either emphasizing its shape or obscuring it. The shape is [flow]t screen works to show the existence of other, less visible phenomena - a gentle breeze, the glow of light.

Show Outcome

[flow]t screen was constructed by careful hands for a careful effect - hand stitched to create a datum that floats to complement and counterbalance the flow of the textile.


Therefore...


As humans, we need to understand the world around us. It gives us comfort and stability in environments that ultimately vary. Our comprehension of place comes from memory, expectation, experience, and the value we associate with a location. All places change over time, and as they change, so does our understanding of the place.

65 Therefore...

Currently, we categorize materials as such: stone, metal, glass, ceramic, wood, and plastic - all of which can be described as tangible products of some sort of process. I propose an additional category of architectural material: processes themselves as materials for constructing place and adapting to change. It is in the use of these material-less materials that we can further understanding our changing environments.

Premise

As our physical world is becoming less predictable, we must develop new approaches in the way we intervene as architects. As architecture is fundamentally material, we must reconsider and expand upon the materials we use to create the social, physical, and psychological experiences of “place.�


Precedents + predecessors


67 Relevance

Premise

Take a look into those who have ventured into the world of using ephemeral materials in order to understand and create human interaction with various environments.


Images: stills from “Re-Set� insideoutside.nl In this installation, Blaisse works to construct space, moment to moment, by using motion and textiles as materials.

Project: Designer: Location: Year:

Re-Set Petra Blaisse La Biennale di Venezia 2012

Petra Blaisse. re-Set. La Biennale di Venezia. 2012.

From moment to moment, the observes may find themselves in a different room without moving at all.

69Precedents

In this installation, curtains move about a room, pause, then move again on their predetermined paths. As the curtains move, different spaces occur. In this example, the observers react to changes, rather than causing the changes themselves. The spaces are temporary and do not appear the same more than once, but offer a variety of spaces to interact in.


Diller Scofidio + Renfro “Blur Building.� dsrny.com

images: David Huang Projects. Website. Media- Blur Building. Project: Blur Building Designer: Diller Scofido + Refro Location: Swiss Expo Pavillion, Yverdon-les- Bains, Switzerland Year: 2002

71Precedents

The Blur Building reacts to the conditions provided by the weather system - specifically air movement - along the edge of a lake in Switzerland. The fog is produced and affected by inputs registering the movement of air. The result is a material both bounded and unbounded in that the fog moves freely, but is produced as a response to specific conditions and preprogrammed reactions. Visitors are then immersed in a edgeless space while the structure itself produces its own obscuring agent.


EOS SERIES Sean Lally theoretical 2014

The Air From Other Planets. Sean Lally. Lars Müller Publisher: Zurich, 2014. .

images: seanlolly.co Designs. EOS Series / Untitled One and Untitled Two. 2014. Project: Designer: Location: Year:

73Precedents

Sean Lally is perhaps the greatest resource for this approach to reconsidering architecture’s approach to materiality. He works within an “architecture of energies” in order to redefine how we design spaces. The images to the left show an experiment in designing space around energy. Lally notes, “The boundaries and edges created to give architecture shape operate in an interaction between the material thus deployed and the body’s ability to perceive it.” Lally’s work claims that the future of architecture is building with energy, and not necessarily walls.


images: Philippe Rahm Architectes Website. Projects: Taiwan In Jade Eco Park, these gradients-made-material are manifest in follies that produce climate in relationship to the existing exterior climate. Rahm explores the use of humidity and radiation in order to emphasize the gradation and micro-climates of the park. The resulting spaces are a variety of opportunitues for activity and various scales of human comfort.

Phillipe Rahm Architectes. “Jade Eco Park.” 2016

Philippe Rahm’s work explores the concept of gradient as a material through which people move. He believes “when we think about the gradient we often juxtapose it to the existing conditions - a surface or a mass... all of a sudden this becomes a discussion about the material and how a material forms... and then we ask how we can give shape or aesthetic to a material property.”*

Project: Designer: Location: Year:

Jade Eco Park Philippe Rahm architectes Taichung, Taiwan 2012 - 2016

75Precedents

(*whitenightpodcast)


New Material Taxonomy an argument for a new material category


As humans, we seek to understand the world around us. It gives us comfort and stability in environments that ultimately vary. Our comprehension of place comes from memory, expectation, experience, and the value we associate with a location. All places change over time, and as they change, so does our understanding of the place.

77 Argument

Currently, we categorize materials as such: stone, metal, glass, concrete, ceramic, wood, textile, and plastic - all of which can be described as tangible products of some sort of process. I propose an additional category of architectural material: processes themselves as materials for constructing place and adapting to change.

Premise

As our physical world is becoming less predictable, we must develop new approaches in the way we intervene as architects. As architecture is fundamentally material, we must reconsider and expand upon the materials we use to create the social, physical, and psychological experiences of “place.�


CONCRETE

WOOD


79 Old Material Taxonomy

METAL

CERAMIC


TEXTILE

GLASS


81 Old Material Taxonomy

PLASTIC

STONE


HEAT

Heat is the result of a transfer of energy. The motion of atoms and molecules causes energy to be exchanged resulting in thermal energy. Energy in a system moves from warm (high energy) to cold (low energy).

energy

system

enters a system heats up

energy

system

leaves a system cools down

conduction

Heat is transfered through a medium due to the direct collisions of molecules.

convection

Heat is transfered through a fluid medium, such as air or water.

radiation

Electromagnetic waves pass through a vaccum or any transparent medium (solid or fluid). Heat is produced by the random movement of molecules heat is often depicted as a gradiant

The transfer of energy through light, electrical, mechanical, chemical, nuclear, sound, and thermal energies can result in heat. The disappation of heat always seeks to find an equilibrium of heat distributed through a medium. Heat is a process of energy.


WIND

Wind is caused by differences in pressure within the atmosphere.

Wind is a process of energy.

83 New Material Taxonomy

Wind is simply air in motion. Since the earth’s surface is heated unevenly, high and low pressure areas occure. Since energy always moves from high to low and seeks equilibrium, when there is high pressure in a system movement low pressure areas result in wind.


LIGHT

Light is electromagnetic radiation detectible by the human eye. Light requires an observer and a source. Light allows for visibility and is processed through autonomic systems in the human body. Light is sensed primarily with the eyes, although some sources of light also give off heat. Light allows us to sense objects in space.

natural

chromatic vision high spatial acuity PHOTOPIC VISION

• sun + stars (nuclear energy) • lightning (electrical energy) • fire (chemical energy)

man made

CONES

source vision at low-light a-chromatic low spatial acuity SCOTOPIC VISION

RODS

observer

• incandescent light bulbs • LED + OLED • fluorescent light bulbs • lasers???

matter or medium

light has both the ability to be seen and to allow one to see.

Light is a process of energy.


FOG

There is always some percentage of moisture in the air. When the conditions are right, moisture in the air becomes visible as fog. According to the Glossary Of Meteorology by the American Meteorological Society, “Fog is a collection of water droplets, suspended in the atmosphere in the vicinity of the earth’s surface which affects visibility.�

radiation fog

As the surface of the earth cools, the moist air immediately above it condenses.

upslope fog

Air moves up gently in elevation, just enough for the layers of air to reach saturation, resulting in fog.

Cold air overlaying warm air near a warm lake causes the air to exchange. This mixing of cool air chills the warmer air and moisture condenses above the lake - low clouds form.

frontal fog

Warmer rain droplets fall into colder, drier air causing evapporation to occur. The cold air moistens to form fog.

Fog is a process of energy.

85 New Material Taxonomy

steam fog


[Log 1] Architectural Thesis Pt. 1  

A log of the initial research, thought processes, and design considerations for my 2017-2018 Architectural Design Thesis.

[Log 1] Architectural Thesis Pt. 1  

A log of the initial research, thought processes, and design considerations for my 2017-2018 Architectural Design Thesis.

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