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Filling the Void with Space

Ken Woods Masters Thesis 2014/15

Filling the Void with Space

Prof. Victor Mani V.Prof. Boštjan Vuga 03.2015 Ken Woods Masters Thesis 2014/15

0_Table of Contents

0_ Foreword ....................................................................................................................


1_ Introduction ................................................................................................................


2_ Brief History of Spatiality ...........................................................................................


3_ Function as Vehicle for Design ...................................................................................


4_ Site as Vessel for Architecture ...................................................................................


5_ Prototype as Spatial Investigation ..............................................................................


6_ Design Exploring Spatiality..........................................................................................






SPECIAL THANKS First off I would like to thank those in my academic life who have given me guidance, time, and inspiration. Professor Victor Mani has challenged me to think big, while allowing me to pursue my architectural investigation. From the first meeting back in June of 2014, he made it clear to me that it was my investigation, and he was there as a mentor and not to control the process. Sometimes my investigation was wild and uncontrolled, and with a few critical statements he was able to renew focus back into my project. Professor Boštjan Vuga has given me more specific advice, allowing me to translate my ideas into a more refined architectural vocabulary. When dealing with broad and difficult topics and such as Perception and Spatiality it is very easy to misdirect your reader and audience with a few poorly chosen words. Prof. Vuga’s advice has allowed me to develop my project in a very constrained timeframe. Secondly I would like to thank those who have given me functional/programmatic advice. Dimitri Papatheodoreau, who gave me about ceramics, sculpting, and their architectural implications. Susanne Griem, for her advice about Münster’s art scenes, and for reminding my not to overextend myself into topics that were not completely relevant in the scope of my architectural thesis. For a very thorough editing of my text, I extend my thanks to Jaime Sorgente, one of my closest confidants and best of friends. Lastly, but not least importantly, I would like to thank those in my private life who have given me love, confidence, and sometimes an avenue to relieve my stress and frustration. Anne-Sophie Weißhuhn, who has been an unwavering force in my life as I experienced my day-to-day struggles. My parents, to whom I owe everything. Without their support, I would never have been able to come to Germany and do my masters in the first place. My cousin Sophie Seibel, whose help has allowed me to transition to living in Germany. And to my second mother and second sister, Ania Wadle and Madeleine Schuhmacher, who took me into their home and lives, adopting me as one of their own. ii



From Perception to Spatiality A one semester thesis is an incredibly difficult task to undertake. At the topic declaration phase, my thesis had an ambiguous working title, ‘The Perception of Architecture and the Future of Practice’. This allowed me to start my research with a very broad spectrum, slowly becoming more defined as I developed my knowledge base. Throughout my research and discussions with Professors, Architects, and fellow students my topic narrowed down, becoming ‘Spatial Perception and Architecture’. However, this still kept a very difficult and ultimately far too subjective element. Perception is what the individual perceives on a unique and subjective basis. I was much more interested in investigating space as an objective reality, exploring its universal properties that could then be exploited in an architectural design process. By shifting my vocabulary to ‘spatial effects’ and further to ‘spatiality’, this allowed me to look at the objective nature of space. I made a summary of a number of objective spatial typologies that affect us a humans. From this, I chose one specific spatial effect, and thoroughly explored its architectural potential for my specific function and site. With every objective spatial effect, there is of course a subjective response. I will leave it to you as the reader and experiencer of my designed spaces to make your own conclusions as to whether the spatiality is pleasant, neutral, overbearing or otherwise.



zoom lens

fixed lens

zoom lens

normal normal

fixed lens

wide angle wide angle

tele-photo tele-photo

Experiencing space is a subtle act of the human body and mind. We use our eyes to visually probe a space, making thousands of subconscious computations every second. Wayfinding, orientation, direction, etc. all come from visual clues. The lens of our eye, with a 22mm focal length allows us to experience perspective space in a consistent and readable way. Our neck and eyes move, completing a spherical dome of information surrounding us at any point. But, when a slight change is introduced to this formula, we start to question what exactly space is. For me, this slight change in experiencing space was photography. For a few years I used an adjustable wide angle lens, appreciating the ability to capture as much space as possible. This allowed me to distort space, and experience it in a way that I never had before. But this distortion was an experiential lie. Transitioning back to a fixed 22mm lens, I learned that composition and spatial effects of differential spatial typologies was much more important than the ability to distort space. I felt the need to translate this back into my architecture. Although I have been designing architectural objects for many years, it is not until I made these observations and conclusions that I can say that I started designing spaces. The design process-of-old was more focused form generation, programme, and developing rational floor plans. The spaces were largely byproducts of a series of compromised design decisions, creating spaces that often felt like leftovers, rather than being the driver of the design. When considering how we experience each different space early on in the design process, I find I am able to design spaces that are more pure, intimate, and spatially powerful.



shape constancy

optical illusion

Space is self evident, but the way we perceive it is not. Our brain has built in mechanisms that allow visual inputs to be recorded and processed, outputting information almost simultaneously that we then act upon. The processing of visual information sometimes triggers cognitive loopholes. These loopholes are known as optical illusions. The image above is an example of an optical phenomenon called shape constancy. Take your two hands, and hold them out in front of your eye. Move one hand double the distance away from your eye as the second, and make a mental note of their perceived size. Now take your closer hand and measure the farther hand with your index finger and thumb in a sort of pinching motion. Keep this ‘measurement’ hand where it is, and bring the hand which was farther away back to your eye. Now you will realize that your brain allowed you to perceive both hands at almost the same size, irrespective of their distance away from your eye. This is the result of memorizing sizes of known objects, and not a spatial effect. There are numerous examples of optical illusions, but they do not deal with the true nature of space. Illusions trick our brain’s visual mechanics, and have limiting relevance on three dimensional spatial effects. After narrowing down what my thesis was not, I could start specifying which aspects of spatiality I would explore. Most importantly I would look at euclidean geometry, rectilinear shapes, three dimensional geometry, and space and objects as being real. My intent was not to question the existential nature of space, but rather to investigate the way that physical spaces affect us as conscious beings. This is the true nature of space, the primacy of space. 4


orthographic projection

axonometric projection

two point perspective

three point perspective

While conducting my research on the various topics of interest, most writing made a series of basic conclusions, which was then built upon to make further and more substantial claims. First, was that past generations represent how they think about space through images, and that visual art represented the spatial values of each culture. I would argue that by looking exclusively at images, one cannot fully understand a culture’s understanding of spatiality. An example of where this was not true was in ancient Greece, whose architecture was much more spatially refined than their art from the same period. A second common assumption discovered in my readings is that our development to read space is directional, and that Greek thinking would not have emerged without Egyptian. Lars Macussen goes as far as to say that, “if a Renaissance image had popped up among the Ancient Egyptians, they would not have been capable of seeing it as spatial in the same way”. This conclusion also has its problems, as there is an abundance of new research that has been produced in the last decade that suggests there is an objective aspect to our spatial perception that is universal to all people (see Chapter 2_Spatial vs Visual).1 Another commonality in my readings were the parallels drawn between the development of spatial understanding in children and that within cultures themselves. It is very dangerous to make comparisons between the development the mind of a child, and the development of cultures. They are very different topics. Another type of increasing complexity in spatial representation are the medium and techniques we use to represent space. The images above show four increasingly complex spatial typologies, from orthographic projection (floor plans in architecture), to a three point per-


spective (comparable to a rendering). Although they are increasingly complex in terms of their difficulty to draw, I would not say that the first diagram is spatially less complex. A perspective drawing has the ability to illustrate the spatial qualities from a fixed point, which is very effective at illustrating visual qualities of one space. However, the ability to read plans and sections has its own complexity and unique properties. Orthographic projections requires one to read, envisage, and then imagine a three dimensional space or object. This process of using the imagination allows the viewer to imagine a space from all points simultaneously. Therefore, when designing or representing spaces, a series of various medium should be used in conjunction, to allow the reader to exercise all visual or spatial skills they possess.

REFERENCES 1_Largely influenced by Part One_ Introduction and Summary from ‘The Architecture of Space’. Pg 14-19 6

2_Brief History of Spatiality


The intent of the following chapter is to illustrate how different cultures have portrayed, experienced and designed spaces. Through these illustrations, it will quickly become apparent that our architectural response to spatiality has not been constant. The built form of each culture has changed fundamentally over time, from one epoch to the next. However, there are also architectural elements that have repeated time and time again. Sometimes these architectural devices have been used with the intent to create spatial affects, and sometimes spatial affects have been the by-product of architectural elements.


HISTORICAL SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT1 The rows below move from left to right in chronological development. The columns, from top to bottom represent geometric knowledge, bodily orientation in space, and the built environment of each culture. Starting with pre-civilzation, one can observe that the concept of geometry was undeveloped. Their geometric knowledge, migration through space, and method of dwelling was almost exclusively influenced by nature and movement. Next comes the development of calendar and circular cultures. The ability to trace simple shapes in sand gave the first signs of geometrical hierarchy, and their observance of the cosmos allowed them to begin forecasting the rising of the sun, seasons, and astronomical events. A defining parameter was the worship of the world axis. This coincided with the ability to live in larger settlements and organize themselves in a system of grouped circular structures. Next, comes the


Egyptian’s elementary arithmetic and more complex geometric typologies. Almost simultaneously arose the ability to work in stone and build more complex structures, orientated loosely on perpendicular axes. This contrasts the system of the Greeks, who saw each object as a representation of beauty and perfection, inherited by an order deriving from the heavens and Gods. Each object, especially temples, were placed so that they could be experienced as delimited, plastic objects in space. The Romans had a more elaborate social-caste system. To organize their society, their architectural typologies were rigidly organized by axiality. A soldier could enter any Roman encampment and know where to find each programmatic function. The spatial organization of the Renaissance can be characterized by the discovery of perspective, creation of objects in space, and predefined dramatic views.


10 000 BC Age

5000 BC

Neolithic Revolution Babylonia lengths, areas, volumes 3000 BC

Mathematics/ Geometry




Classical Antiquity

Middle Ages



Arithmetic learned from Arabs 975

Pythagorean 390 BC


Arabic Numerals decimal system in Europe and "Zero" reach 1251 Europe 1202

Scientific R

Algebra development

Newto 170

non-Euclidean geometry

wheel 4000 BC


Lever 3000 BC

agriculture 8500 BC

compass 1125

paper 100 AD

Gunpowder 1364

Printing Press 1430

Telescope 1600

Steam Engine 1712

C Timber construction

dev’t of stone Nail Cement (Roman) techniques 2000 BC 1000 BC


Gradual transition to rectangular settlement


Roman imperial palaces, basilicas, public baths, negative volume

Greek Egyptian biaxial temple, pyramids, burial proportions, structures horizon perfection, object in dominates space

Primordial cave dwelling, nature as shelter Circular structures, mud bricks, huts


Cave painting, hunting, fertility, paint on wall

Egyptian afterlife

Warrior, narration stone relief


Philosophy/ cosmology

Calendar culture, cosmic directions

Cultural Event

Settlement of N and S America

First ‘cities’ begin to appear 6500 BC

Judaism God as creator 2000 BC

Christian adoption of Roman typologies

Gothic pilgrimage architecture large audience, metaphysics

Byzantine spatial field architecture

Ptolemaic 100 AD

Christianity 30 AD

Roman Catholic 590 Islam 610 AD

Astronomy learned from Arabs 985

Crusaders 1095 Eastern Schism 1054

Renaissance gradual turn towards nature away from light metaphysics

Perspective art Reinterpretation of Classical culture

Byzantine heavenly ephemeral

Atomist 500 BC Aristotelian 320 BC

vacuum pump 1650

flying buttress

Christian adoption of Roman typologies

Greek idealism, beauty, gods, mythology

Babylonian 3000 BC

masonry rib

anatomy above geometry

Linear Bar

Mannerism art that Baroque s and lavis breaks the rules for G

Copernicus proposes heliocentric universe

Bologna University founded 1119

Human pop’n 300 million 1350

Hundred Year War end 1453 Western Schism 1400

Kepler shows elliptical orbit

‘’New World’ discovery 1500

P Re







Industrial Revolution



Information Age Einsteinian 1917

onian 00


Airplane 1900

Combustion Engine 1880

Electricity 1800

Cement (Parker) 1780

Television 1920

Nuclear Fission 1930

Semiconductor 1950

Steel-making 1850

Internet 1960 The ‘Pill’ 1960

Internet connects globe

PC 1970

Photography 1800

Architectural Atheism Gothic Revival


Neoclassical 1750

splendor shness God

Neoclassical Greco Roman grace and grandeur

Protestant eformation 1517


Impressionism effects of light

Modernism 1900

Bauhaus 1920

Expressionism harsh colours and flat surfaces

Cubism, etc new forms for modern life

Environmental conservation 1870

Dadaism disillusionment and horrors

Phenomenology 1900 Structuralism 1900

Existentialism 1800-1900+

Human pop’n 1 billion 1850

International 1950

Humans begin to modify climate 1900

Reconstruction WWI efforts and 37 million die depression 1914

Big Bang 1929

Post- modernism 1980

Abstract Expressionism pure expression, consumerism

‘Sustainable’ Architecture

Art without a center and reworking and mixing past styles

Linguistic Turn 1960 Post-structuralism 1960

WWII 60 million die 1939

Aviation connects world 1950

Cold war 1944-1991 Humans on moon 1969

Human pop’n 4 billion

Soviet Union Human pop’n 6 billion collapse 1991

Rapid climate change?



observed object




perception/conceptualization instant

contemporary/orthodox view ?

observed object



visually experienced

time conceptualization

Deconstructivism is a linguistic movements of the middle to late twentieth century that focused on the primacy of language. Essentially, the deconstucitivsts believed that an individual’s perception was predetermined by their thoughts, knowledge, and cultural background. Classifications became the defining factor of perception, with some even denying the possibility of visual imagination altogether. This linguistic movement became the basis for Postmodern architecture, as it also adopted the viewpoint that language and therefore symbolism were essential building blocks of architecture. The contemporary or orthodox view, taken by philosophers and psychologists in the past two decades, is that perception and language are not the same thing, and perception or conceptualization does not occur instantaneously. Rather, people first perceive (see), then we think (sometimes), and thirdly we conceptualize or express thoughts. The distinction between these two methods of perceiving space is important. The architectural postmodernists used symbolism to give meaning to their architectural concepts. If one accepts the contemporary view, one can deduce that language-based architecture was an intellectual exercise in building a series of symbolic objects. The problem is that this symbolism could not be universally read, and the architecture offered little in terms of objective spatial qualities. The contemporary view allows for the design and experience of space without needing stories and symbolism. Without needing an allegory, the power and primacy of space becomes much more important. This creates the scenario where architects do not need to reference something outside of architecture. Architecture can then be made up of simple, proto architectural elements.






The perception of space, although mostly visual, is largely based on our relationship with scale. Our sense of scale is complemented by bodily senses, primarily through haptic feedback. According to the theories Alois Regel (1858-1905) and his Aesthetic Model, there are three main scales that we experience space; near, middle, and far range. small/near_ at this scale we are able to best understand complex curvilinear geometry. When we can take in the entire object, grasp it, rotate it, etc then we are able to build a mental map of the object and understand it much easier than if we experience only individual pieces at a time. medium/middle_here we experience a portion of an object a time. Texture and clarity are important if the intent is for the user to understand the spaces or architecture as a whole. Curvilinear forms (if subdivided or obstructed) cease to be effective, because they go beyond the scale of the human body, and we cannot form a mental map their entirety. Shading and contrast becomes important when understanding objects in a space at a distance. large/far_when experiencing architectural objects from a large distance, the ability for tactile understanding fades out. Simple forms and colour are most important. We lack the optical dexterity to interpret complex forms, and therefore high contrast forms or materials are important.



striated (homogenous) state space

smooth (heterogenous) nomad space

Gilles Deleuze (1925-95) has written about many philosophical ideas that became (and are) influential to architectural thinking. He was strongly against the Structuralists of his time, and was more focused on the philosophies of ‘becoming’, or rather, being in a state of incessant creation. He felt that the need for Structuralists to thoroughly categorize everything took out the complexities and intricacies of the objects or ideas themselves. Categorization removed the possibility for continuous variations. His thinking was influenced by calculus, and the idea of the convergence of the infinite. Some of Deleuze’s most interesting writings are those concerning State and nomad (or counter-State) societies. His nomads should not be confused with migrants, or those that move from one place to another. Nomad societies, according to Deleuze are defined by war machines (physical, ideological, or political), and differ significantly from that of the State societies. Whereas the State needs to be controlled through engineering, the nomad model consists of distribution by turbulence across a smooth space. Striated and smooth are spatial, geometric, and mechanical characteristics. Striated, or homogeneous space is defined by walls, enclosures, and the roads between, but nomad space is heterogeneous, dynamic and varied, marked only by traits that are “effaced and displaced with the trajectory”. Striated space is both limited and limiting, however nomad space is localized and fluid in its internal and exterior relations. It can be associated with varying orientations as opposed to the fixed orientation of State space. Architecturally striated spaces are repetitious, having no variation of scale or materiality, whereas nomad spaces are about pure variation.


SPATIAL VS VISUAL4 entorhinal cortex recoding of spatiality GPS like function of the brain common to all mammals parietal lobe frontal lobe

records grid points in space using acceleration occipital lobe


hippocampus recording of visual properties memories about experienced events detection of novel events, places and stimuli

How we experience space is largely determined by our biopsychology. In 2014 research from Edvard and May-Britt Moser won the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. They discovered a series of geometric grid-like cells inside the brain of rat, in an area known as the entorhinal cortex. These cells, which are also present in the human brain, function much like a GPS system, allowing us to spatially map and navigate space in an objective way. By using acceleration, movement, and speed, our brain records how we move through space. This means that for each spatial situation, there is an objective recording and reading occurring within our brains. We are able to dimensionally map rough floor plans and sectional relationships within our brain, using spatial information written by our internal GPS. Supplementing the spatial recording in the entorhinal cortex is a recording of visual properties in the hippocampus. This deal withs recording colours, textures, and recalling memories that have occurred in visually similar spaces. A complex series of information exchange occurs between these two distinct portions of our brain, allowing us to write, recall, and place memories. This duality help explains why memory is so closely tied to place. The discovery of the entorhinal cortex disproves the linguistic theory of deconstructivism. If every person has the ability to write spatial memories, then it is not our language or culture that dictates how we react to a space, but rather a combination of objective human nature and hyper-individualistic responses. The spatiality of various architectural typologies are powerful not because of their cultural meaning, but in the way that they are able to affect the biopsychology of an individual in a particular moment and time in their life.


SPATIAL TYPES Symmetrical spaces create the effect of monumentality. The perfect reflection of one space along an axis creates a subservient role for the user. Asymmetrical spaces are less monumental by their very nature, as they allow for more variation and dynamicism, and do not have such a rigid hierarchy. symmetry / asymmetry

The spatial effects of scale differ as to whether it is the absolute scale of an object or space, or relative to that of another. Absolute scale is best used when the user can experience a large object and slowly approach it, fully understanding its vastness. Variations in scale are best used in section. Entering narrow passageways before being led into an expansive void is a compelling spatial effect. scale, relative and absolute

The spatial effect of bearing and being borne is especially effective because it is universal. It is a common to all cultures and all architectural movements. The very essence of architecture or building is the constant fight against gravity, the suspending of an object off of the ground. The more reduced this structural relationship is, the more elementary it becomes. bearing and being borne

Porosity is the measure of voids within a solid. It exists purely in three dimensions, and is spatially significant because it creates spaces that are varied and interconnected. It blurs the hard boundaries between space and architectural elements. Porous objects are varied in their scale and composition, characteristics that put the user in the forefront of the space or object. porosity


SPATIAL CONCLUSIONS When starting my research on spatial perception, I thought I would discover a truth about space. For example, which types of spaces are most pleasant, or which types of spaces work best for certain types of functions. This did (unsurprising) not happen. However, what did happen, is that I learned that there are in fact basic spatial effects that have an objective effect on us as human beings. There are numerous spatial affects that have been used compelling throughout the history of architecture. It is our role as architects to evaluate each project, site, client, and function with careful consideration and to decide which types of spaces we want to create. We should never forget that the vessels we are designing are there to contain space, and that powerful spaces have a primacy that goes far beyond that of provocative shapes. Architecture is one of the only professions that create space, and we should embrace the opportunity to better understand the spatial qualities we are designing. By doing so, architects have the chance to reposition the value of our role in the process of conceptualizing, designing, and building an architectural object.

I do not claim to know what space is. The longer I think about it, the more mysterious it becomes. About one thing, however, I am sure: when we, as architects are concerned with space, we are contending with but a tiny part of the infinity that surrounds the earth, and yet each and every building marks a unique place in that infinity.5 -Peter Zumthor

REFERENCES 1_Graphics inspired from Plate 4.1: The historical phenomenology of space. The Architecture of Space, pg 86-87. 2_Information based on the readings from Visuality for Architects. 3_Derived from Marcussen’s Deleuzean translations, Chapter 15 - Difference and Repetition 4_Information based on the research by Doctor Edvard and May-Britt Moser. 5_Quote from Thinking Architecture, pg 22. 18

3_Function as Vehicle for Design


The House as an Architectural Testbed My thesis investigation started with research into spatiality, with no specific intent in terms of building typology, function, location, or user. By applying a specific function, I was able to explore a more deliberate spatiality and its potentials. After considering a number of possibilities, I chose to explore the effects of spatiality on dwelling, and the single-family house. The ‘house’ has been one of the classic typologies over the past few hundreds years that architects could test new theories on. It is also the most well known and banal of all architectural typologies, and therefore gives one the chance to challenge preconceived notions of how we live. The small size of a dwelling easily masks the amount of detail, intricacy, and pure effort that goes into making an interesting contemporary house. To ensure that the object was not a standard suburban house, I infused the typology with a number of functions that would add nonstandard architectural elements into the design: a studio, gallery, and cafe. 20








Defining a User The act of defining the user helps create a dialogue and gives important inputs into the design process. Timo and Anke are couple, living together, with a daughter Tanja.

Timo By day a hard-cut suit and tie business-man, he has a softer side. He likes to think of himself as creative and a problem solver, but his occupation relegates him to working more with numbers and hard figures. He is excited at the idea of living in the centre of the city, resulting in a shorter commute, and being able to work one or two days from his home office.

Anke A formally trained ceramic artist, she splits her time between renting a studio space and working in a publicly funded gallery. Rent in constantly increasing at the studio and she is feeling oppressed at the gallery. Social cuts over the past decade, combined with poor management is making the idea of running a private gallery more and more rewarding. Having her own studio space to work and share, and running a series of workshops has been a long-term dream.

Tanja A university student that no longer lives at home, she is pleased at the idea of her parents moving closer into the city. She plans on visiting more often, and occasionally spending the night on holidays or special occasions.



artist/ maker


programme split

public funding for arts

gallery + workshop





Anke is well-informed at the risks of running a gallery and a studio. Although Timo could be described as the one with the higher sustainable income, Anke has been known to do well for herself with her art sales. She wants to balance these peaks and troughs, by supplementing her income with additional functions at the gallery/studio. By introduction a few functions a number of + activities, she wants to invite those in the nearby community who would otherwise not visit a gallery. Although she is well integrated in the so called high-art scene, she does not want her studio to be considered elitist, or in German

spieĂ&#x;ig. A cafe will be introduced with a high visibility which will bring day-time clients, who would otherwise consider themselves non-creative or uninterested in art. The cafe itself will act as a gallery for the more utilitarian objects being created in the ceramic studio. This will provide the opportunity to sell wares, or to invite the guests to see the gallery and what is being created in-house. Furthermore, the studio space will be used for bi-weekly workshops that will serve a dual purpose. First, it will allow those in the nearby community to test their hand at making. Perhaps the participants will be children who want to get their hands dirty, or adults who had stopped making things a long time ago. Secondly, by inviting other artists to work in her studio, Anke will learn more about her craft. The artists-in-residence will either by ceramic artists, or those belonging to another field. They would have the option of staying in the guest rooms overnight, or for short-term sublets.


ROOM FUNCTIONS A preliminary list of private and public functions was developed. To start, a hard distinction was made between private and public. The total area requirement will be used as a starting point in searching for various sites. This list will be modified, expanded, or reduced when an appropriate site is found. Due to the relatively small area requirement, combined with the desire for an inner city location, an urban infill, or baul端cke may be most appropriate.

Private Functions_ 150 m2 Public Functions_ 350 m2

bathroom_small/large 4 m2/ 7m2

dining 18 m2

office 11,25 m2

storage_food/supplies 10,75 m2

terrace 16 m2

living 18 m2

kitchen 18,25 m2

master bedroom 22,5 m2

1_child, 1_ guest 15,75 m2

private function 23

private programme 160 m2

archive 11,5 m2

storage 11,5 m2

flexible outdoor space 62,5 m2

mechanical 24,5 m2

cafe 60 m2

gallery space 62,5 m2

toilets (x2) 10,5 m2

studio workshop 87 m2

office / reception 11.25 m2

public function public programme 350 m2


FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS Scenario 1 Placing living at the uppermost level gives optimal views, and ensures a high level of privacy.


The cafe is placed at ground


level to invite the nearby community, splitting the studio and gallery into two distinct spaces.

cafe gallery

Scenario 2 The gallery is placed at ground level making it a visual magnet, projecting the gallery’s con-


tents at the forefront of public


view. The studio is placed below


ground, perhaps restricting its access to ample daylighting.


Scenario 3 Living is placed below grade, giving it privacy and an introverted feeling. The studio is at


the top level, giving it the poten-


tial for views, and ample access to daylighting. The studio becomes an architectural feature.


cafe living

USER ANALYSIS To better understand the effectiveness of the previous scenarios a user analysis was developed for a typical week. The activities were split into work, time at home, and social/fitness. The important conclusions that can be made is that Anke and Timo do not spend a significant amount of daylight-hour time in a typical residential setting. Furthermore because of their busy schedules much of their socialization time is spend together, reducing the need for a significant amount of subdivided relaxation spaces.


mon tues wed thurs fri sat sun












a t a t a t a t a t a t a t a t


a_t a+t



t a_t



t a_t


3D DIAGRAMS After the site was chosen, analyzed, and documented a 3d extrusion of Scenario 3’s Functional Analysis was investigated. The purpose of this exercise was to test the scale of the proposed floor area requirement on site. Building a model helped to understand how the spaces of the gallery, studio, and living need to relate to each other and their context. The main conclusion that was drawn from the exercise is that a contrasting but delicately sized object is more interesting and appropriate for the site. Material and form contrast will help accentuate a potentially modest architectural intervention. Furthermore, a hard distinction between public and private function will constrict the architecture, making it much too standard. An unconventional combination of functional spaces will allow for more interesting spatial affects.










sensitivity to noise access to daylight

combinable functions

After constructing the 3d Diagram model, the functions of the building were analyzed. By creating a hard delineation, floor by floor, function by function, the spatial effects were kept too conservative. To break or blur these hard boundaries, an investigation was conducted into which functions could be combined. By mapping the various functions according to sensitivity to noise, and the access to daylight, hybrids were developed and the square meter count of the building was reduced. For example the private function of dining, which occurs early in the morning and late in the evening, would be ideally combined with the public function of the cafe, occurring typically midday. This combination creates an architectural symbiosis, allowing the space to be almost always occupied, and preventing the need for two kitchens. Another combination possibility, is that of the gallery and the studio. Instead of having a permanent gallery space, which would sometimes be empty, the clients could propose to exhibit a few times per month. This would allow the studio to become the gallery, allowing the artists to demonstrate their techniques. The cafe itself would then become an extension of the gallery. Select pieces could be exhibited in the cafe, and the dinnerware itself would come from the ceramic studio. This subtle showing of pieces allows the guests to inquire into an artists full lines of work.



traditional wood firing kiln

A ceramic kiln is the defining element of a ceramic studio, and what makes it unique from any other artists studio space. It is the heart of the ceramic making process, where the elements of earth, air and fire are combined with the act of making. It has been noted by anthropologists that pottery is one of the most important defining characteristics of any civilization. The ability to store foodstuffs increased our prosperity, but significantly reduced our mobility as a species. The loss of mobility resulted in us settling the land, connecting a people with a place. Our relationship with place created culture, and each culture developed an architectural response to their surroundings. This built form and cultural response resulted in the first examples of man creating space. Furthermore, the interest of a ceramic kiln are for its architectural qualities. It is a massive object that defines how a studio will be organized. It has an input and an output, and a very defined process of how it is operated. The opening of a ceramic kiln with its glowing red hot objects, is a powerful experience.

REFERENCES 1_ Summary from Atlas Keramik und Porzellan 30

4_Site as Vessel for Architecture


Choosing a Site When contemplating a site for my architectural investigation, I first asked where it would be most interesting for my building to be located. After contemplation, I concluded that it would be best to stay focused on the task at hand, spatiality. Introducing another layer of complexity, a foreign place, would dilute my thesis investigation. Furthermore, potential spatial effects could become most interesting on a site that would be otherwise overlooked. This is when I chose to stay within M端nster, and deal with an urban site. By choosing a site with context, I would be giving my architecture more inputs, allowing for more variations within a given framework.


SITE SELECTION Cultural Institutions To understand the distribution of art centres in Münster, the various art galleries, museums, theatre, and studio spaces in the city were documented. Solid red represents museums, blue are gallery and exhibition spaces, red with a blue centre are studio or atelier spaces, and red with a white centre is the Kunstakademie Münster.

Art Magnets Speaking with artists in Münster, the most important locations are found to be the Kunstakademie Münster, the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, the Speicher 10 building at the Hafen, and the art scene at Haverkamp. These have been labeled magnets for their ability to pull artists, exhibitions, and members of the community into their institutions.

Two Areas of Inquiry To avoid competition with these well established institutions, and to ensure an expansion of the arts within Münster, two areas of inquiry are investigated as potential locations for choosing a site. Other factors will be taken into consideration on a site by site basis. Sites in the inner city, or those that are deemed too lavish will be avoided.



m3 d2



n2 m2


figure ground overlaid with potential sites 34

SITE TYPES Type N_Narrow Infill sites in M端nster of the Narrow type are plentiful. What is more difficult is to find one with no windows, doors, or circulation for the abutting buildings. The extremely narrow nature of the site makes it also very defined spatially, with focus being towards the front and back, with narrow and long rooms, which have to be cleverly sectionally organized.

Type M_Medium The infill site that is nearly equal in depth as it is in width are more rare. It is even more difficult than with the Narrow type to find one with no windows or access on both sides. However, unlike the Narrow type the extra width allows for a set-back from one of the neighbouring buildings. This type allows for more spatial flexibility.

Type D_Detatched Detached sites in M端nster are rare, but they do exist. What makes them problematic is that they are usually much too large, and therefore inappropriate for the purposes of this project. Having a building with a relatively small footprint and a large expanse of greenspace is ideal, but not realistic for an urban architecture investigation .


Example of Type N_ N1

Example of Type D_ D1 36

SITE DECISION After considering numerous sites, site M1 was chosen for a number of factors. The site is located at Sauerländer Weg 30A 48145 Münster, a five minute walk from the main train station, making it ideal for any visiting guests or artists. It’s geographic location, combined with an ideal width (11m) and depth (13,5m) were stand-out characteristics. Furthermore, the site’s shape itself was seen as an opportunity for creating an interesting architectural response. On the northwest corner, the property line projects farther than that of the neighbour’s house, providing the opportunity to create contrasting architectural language, one highly visible from the street. The context is filled with banal housing typologies, of post-war nostalgic structures. Any architectural intervention being proposed here, would do well to intentionally contrast its surroundings.

site within Münster_1:2500 37



site with context

Sauerl채nder Weg 30_1:1000 38


site axonometric_1:1000 39

north-south site section_1:500

site elevation from Sauerl채nder weg_1:500 40





rin summ er g/ au tu m n


r nte i w

site with sun path (refer to autumnal equinox) 41




summer solstice_ shadows at 60 minute intervals 42




autumnal equinox_ shadows at 60 minute intervals 43

morning @ 10h

midday @ 13h

evening @ 15

winter solstice shadows at 60 minute intervals 44

5_Prototype as Spatial Investigation


Prototyping was a critical step in my design process. It allowed me to put aside my site, function, and users, and to focus on spatiality. Instead of trying to massage my design into becoming one with spatial qualities, I could explore prototypes that were proto, spatially pure, full of architectural interest and inherent qualities. After creating an image bank, diagramming my images, and analyzing the spatial implications and potentials of each prototype, I was able to develop a rational architectural language. This language was then able to translate the information from the previous steps, organizing it, and expressing it in a consistent way. The design becomes inherently spatial, and uncompromising in its quality.



Sectional Relationship

King’s Quoit, Pembrokeshire1 47

Massing Development

A spatial language of bearing and being borne was chosen for its universal power and spatial effects. A series of monolithic architectural objects were chosen for their pure expression of gravity and weight. The spatial effect of entering or being near such a massive object is that of the sublime, a risk in some ways. A rush to be alive.

2d prototype section

Poulnabrone dolmen, Ireland2 48


Penetrate the Mass

When choosing a series of massive stone objects, next comes the question of how does one inhabits the mass. Does it become a series of stacked massive objects to make the whole, or does one physically cut into the mass itself. To keep the quality of the mass, a chiseling or tunneling language was investigated.

stone carving, Brant么me3 49


Inhabit the Earth

Interior porosity was an investigation into what would happen both within masses themselves and the ground that they rest upon. The relationship between earth, stone, and sky would become important in achieving a successful spatiality. Interconnecting the spaces in interesting ways would add a layer of porosity and architectural interest within a relatively small project.

plan of Çatalhöyük4 50



IMAGE BANK 1_ htm 2_ 3_ 4_ 52

6_Design Exploring Spatiality


This chapter is a graphical representation of a series of spaces designed over the course of the semester. They are a series of scaled models and two-dimensional translations of a three-dimensional space, and require the viewer to interpret them and inhabit them with their imagination. With each medium, a new artifact of knowledge is revealed, allowing the reader to gain further insight into the qualities of spaces contained within. At the end of this chapter, the aim is that the viewer would have an impression what the spatial qualities and atmosphere of the difference spaces would be. It is only in reality that space can be truly inhabited, but for now, our imagination is the only limitation.







axonometric_1:500 57

Vertical Circulation The wrapping circulation core becomes an expressive interface within the building, illustrating how one would move vertically throughout the building. It communicates how a new visitor would traverse down into the cafe, and how to move vertically from the -1 cafe up into the +1 gallery/workshop/studio.

Structure The three cores of the building: circulation, ceramic kiln, and elevator shaft, are the anchor points for the cantilevering mass. To stabilize the cantilever, the glass facade is combined with two structural steel columns. This reduces the bend in the cantilevering mass, preventing cracks in the concrete, and eliminating the risk of the glass facade breaking.

Mechanical Systems The building has a central mechanical system, where the high efficiency furnace and thermal storage units are located. As an energy saving mechanism, the heat used in the ceramic kiln would be recycled in a energy recovery system. The building uses underfloor heating and thick reinforced mineral wool insulation panels to ensure energy efficiency and a lowered carbon footprint.


TEMPORAL DESIGN The goal was to create an architectural object that would be functionally dynamic and nonstatic. These spaces are interpretations of Deleuze’s nomad space, not in terms of their physical smoothness, but rather in their four-dimensional functional uses and the relationships between the different spaces. Using architectural devices such as solar shading, privacy curtains, and movable walls, a public cafe can become a private kitchen, and a studio can become a gallery. These architectural hybrids and functional flexibility add a character to the architecture that would otherwise be present with mono-functional rooms.

Summer The summer is met with an embrace of the sun. The terrace is opened and the users take their coffee to the +2 level, ra ce


enjoying the views and fresh air. The

te r

sun shading of the suspended mass prevents overheating and the users sit

ca fe


deeper in the cafe to avoid glare. More time is spent outside and the building facade opens in the evening, allowing for passive ventilation.

Winter The low winter sun angles reach deep into the cafe and bedroom, allowing the user to enjoy the early morning to midhib ern

day sun. The visitors in the cafe sit closer


ca fe


to the large glazed wall on the southern facade of the building. In the bedroom Timo and Antje sleep-in and enjoy the rel a


rare sunny day. This media/film room is also used more often, sheltering from the cold days and nights.


fri sat sun

mon home tues


a t a t a t











a+t a

t a a t

work fri

t a

sun social


a a_t t




a a t t

t a_t a t a a tt a_t a




Referring to a summary of the users schedule from Chapter 3, a daily usage map is incorpoa+t rated into the building design. A privacy curtain is designed in the ground floor facade, which

would be open from 10h until 18h, when the lower level is used as a public cafe. After this, a curtain would close, and it would become a private kitchen, allowing Timo to cook the privacy

dinner work fort Antje and himself. The upper level transitions from community workshops to a private studio for Antje and artists-in-residence. a_t

Daytimea t a_t wo rk



duc e




co n

su m

ish ur no


cia liz





ce_ 0



or de



rel a












































wall assembly (o to i) -100mm

prefabricated ventilated concrete panels


rigid mineral wool


vapour barrier


reinforced concrete







Architecture + Wahrnehmung. Architecture + Perception, by Jörg Kurt Grütter. Niggli Verlag, 2012

Atlas Keramik und Porzellan. München, Dt. Taschenbuch-Verl., 2003.

Encounters 2. Architectural Essays, by Juhani Pallasmaa. Rakennustieto Publishing 2012

The Space of Architecture, The Architecture of Space, by Lars Marcussen. ARKITEKTENS FORLAG, 2008

Thinking Architecture, by Peter Zumthor. Birkhäuser, 1999

Visuality for Architects. Architectural Creativity and Modern Theories of Perception and Imagination, by Branko Mitrovic University of Virginia Press (May 22, 2013)



m端nster school of architecture

Profile for kenwoodsign

Kenneth Woods - Architecture Masters Thesis 2015  

Architecture Masters Thesis at the msa - muenster school of architecture, winter semester 2014/15

Kenneth Woods - Architecture Masters Thesis 2015  

Architecture Masters Thesis at the msa - muenster school of architecture, winter semester 2014/15