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l i g h t

+

d a r k

through a narrative of time

2 0 1 5 - 2 0 1 6 Shira Chu


“A great building must begin with the immeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed, and in the end must be unmeasured.� Louis I. Kahn


Virginia Tech College of Architecture + Urban Studies Bachelor of Architecture Undergraduate thesis Thesis Advisor Bill Galloway Fall 2015 - Spring 2016


This thesis is dedicated to: my parents who have always supported my aspirations. my brother, Aaron, whom I wish only the best for. my friends who have been there thick and thin.

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A B C D

E


+ exploration statement scale studies rhythm studies

13 17 27

+ project site

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schematics

42

A

08:00AM

50

B

10:00AM

54

C

02:00PM

60

D

04:00PM

66

E

06:00PM

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+ pottery the media works

81 82

catalog bibliography

93 103


+ exploration


statement Architecture has the ability to embody a world within the world. On the small scale, a vessel’s section reveals the world created by the potter. The opening guides light into the dark, creating a dialogue between dualities. From the beginning, the clay material is constantly changing as the potter works with or against time.

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Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3


On the large scale, elements of architecture can give the individual awareness of the progression of time in pottery th­ rough the engagement of senses in a series of pauses and rhythms. The thesis contains an exploration and a project. A pottery studio and exhibition space is located in a pocket site in New York City’s meatpacking district. Nestled in the middle of the bustling city, the calm spaces further play on the dualities created. A potter’s rhythm is overlayed with a vessel’s cycle of time. Circulation and exhibition spaces are viewed as pauses in between each respective step.

[Fig. 1] Light is reflected off a surface. [Fig. 2] Light through an aperture. [Fig. 3] Diffused light.

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initial light + dark diagrams


scale studies The question of scale comes into play not only in terms of physical detail, but also in terms of quantitative time. The sun and moon have their respective cycles that are measurable. Their qualitative effects on a space are also immeasurable.

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19


DAY The quality and depth of light provides an individual with knowledge of the time of day. The numerical system of time is not used. Rather the quality of light is accessed and a conclusion is drawn.


morning

afternoon

night

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YEAR The angle or depth of light in a space can give the individual awareness of the time of year. For example, winter and summer solstices provide a marker in time for those who visit Stonehenge.


summer

winter

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DECADES The celestial events can be viewed as a marker of time. Light qualities captured by a body of water are reflected on a surface. It can bring forth understanding about the passing of time and its cycle.


night

solar eclipse

lunar eclipse

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time overlap diagrams


rhythm studies Time is an interesting topic. There is a measurable aspect to it in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, and so on. Its quantitative qualities are evident. There is also the immeasurable. The perception that time is moving too quickly or too slow. A series of drawings and photographs demonstrate the study of overlapped time frames.

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diagram 1 loosely depicting overlapping of circadian rhythm, energy levels, and trajectory of the sun and moon


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diagram 2 loosely depicting overlapping of circadian rhythm, energy levels, and trajectory of the sun and moon while emphasizing the pause/transition point


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+ project


structure contrast sketch


rhythms and pause The process of making a pot includes multiple rhythms and pause. As time takes its course, the materiality of the clay changes and the potter must pause and adapt. A concrete shell contrasts the light steel structure and provides a path of circulation and pause in between each step in the pottery process. By transitioning back and forth between the two spaces, the senses are engaged through the embedded program in the thick concrete wall.

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overall site plan of lower Manhattan

Overall site plan


Chelsea Market

Highline

Meat-packing district

Site Plan 0

A pottery studio and exhibition space is located in a pocket site near the meat-packing

50

100

200

300ft

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pause

pause

pause


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Schematic concept: the idea of two dualities, light and dark, juxtaposing against each other. Juxtaposition between light and dark is created through rhythmic processes in the steel frame affecting conditions in the dark concrete vessel. How will the light affect the dark and vice versa? What is their relationship?


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concrete shell

In “The Thing�, Heidegger discusses the void of a jug. The gathering of the fourfold into a onefold consists of the earth and sky and mortals and divinities. They coexist and allows the presencing of a jug. A world is created within. What is the world that the potter creates?

lightwell

steel frame

underground exhibition

reflecting pool


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The building is layed out with consideration about the order of each step in pottery. As the potter descends each floor, a different step is introduced. The program is layed out from the living space, main studio, glazing area, store front with two kilns, and exhibition space below grade.


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The concrete shell acts as a vessel that houses only the circulation path between each floor. Each floor separates the steps in the process of making a vessel from preparation/throwing, glazing, firing, and exhibition. The individual is forced to pause in between each floor to gain an overall understanding of the whole process.


1

2

3

4

4

1

5 2

3 4

6

5

7

SKYLIGHT DETAIL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

floor finish concrete floor slab corrugated metal decking steel beam and girder system laminated glass spider clamp tension cable

SLIDING DOOR DETAIL 1 2 3 4 5

cast-in place concrete overhead support track bronze plating door frame panel door void for door handle

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8:00AM

A the potter

morning rays shine through the garden area and into the apartment the potter wakes up as sunlight funnels down the lightwell near the bedroom coffee is made and eggs are cooking in the pan.

B the visitor

he woke up early that morning and decided to take a stroll on the highline it is an escape from the confines of the city he stumbles upon a pocket building right across the street from the Chelsea Market What is it? from the street, a concrete volume seems to be hovering over the entrance.

C the pot

the clay sits downstairs in a recycled clay slip bucket or unopened box its moisture content is kept consistent for quality control the potter has taken precautions to slow down its time and extending its pause.


A

FOURTH FLOOR

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[1] Concrete wall detail on pg 56


1

53


10:00AM

A

the potter morning routine has been set the potter moves downstairs through the concrete shell in preparation, clay is drawn from the slip bucket the potter wedges the clay rhythmically as the clay hits against the plaster board, the sound echoes into the concrete shell the potter then proceeds to draw sink water into a bowl the sound of water then greets a visitor making his way to the door the potter walks towards the wheel, preparing the mind for a time of creating.

B

the visitor he finally decides to enter after breakfast at the Chelsea Market he makes his way upstairs to the third floor, where the main studio resides leaving the elevator, the visitor is met with darkness only the sound of water and wedging fills the narrow space a stray of light from the studio shines through a door gap at the end of the hallway he makes his way towards it, with the sound guiding him along the way.

C

the pot having no definite form, the clay is wedged to the right consistency from the moment it makes contact with the air, moisture is slowly being stripped away that action is counteracted as water is added to the clay to prepare for throwing.


B

C

A

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tactile sound sight

sound sight

1

sight


sink

8’-6” glass panel with clip steel beam/girder system

12’-0”

shelving

alabaster tile [1] concrete wall detail

12’-0”

The dark void within the concrete shell is contrasted by the light steel frame that houses the studio. The concrete wall is utilized within the program to house certain functions. The functions that occur within the wall then affects the atmospheric qualities inside the shell. Senses are engaged as the potter works in the studio on the other side. 57


concrete shell alabaster tile

shelving

glass panel

metal siding with clip

column frame system

[A] concrete wall detail


A

59


2:00PM

A the potter

after working in the main studio, the potter moves the drying pots downstairs the concrete shell is filled with voids that complete the wall once pots are added the potter places the additional pots on the shelves the interior of the concrete shell then becomes a smidge darker as a result after three weeks, the potter finally loads the kiln with dried pots for a bisque firing the dark circulation path is filled with light once again.

B the visitor

he makes his way downstairs, following the footsteps of the potter although dark, the hallway appears to be filled with ambient light on this floor the visitor recalls his previous experience upstairs, the hallway seemed to be darker. this time, the potter has already loaded the kiln more light from the glazing studio is diffused into the concrete shell he makes his way to the door.

C the pot

the clay has been thrown into a form of a reasonably sized cup it starts to dry as moisture is stripped away by the air the section of the pot reveals the potter’s level of skill its thin walls allow for a shorter drying time its life on the shelf in the concrete wall will be short.


A

B

C

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As the individual walks towards the door in the concrete shell, alabaster-lined shelves emit diffused light into the dark. As the potter preps for a season of creating, lighting subtly changes with time as the shelves fill with pots. The concrete shell is not only a vessel, but also its own world. Its section reveals the world created by the potter.


mock-up of a portion of the shelving wall

63


concrete shell (above)

round column supporting concrete

shelving

double colonade

[B] entrance hallway

[2] Lightwell detail on pg 70


2

B

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4:00PM

A the potter

after setting up the kiln, the potter glazes some of the bisque-fired pieces the potter descends downstairs to the main floor it seems to be busy with many visitors at the storefront the potter loads the two kilns that are sunk below grade with glazed pots.

B the visitor

he descends downstairs to look at the storefront the visitor has witnessed the potter’s skills and has been intrigued by the work leaving the elevator, he notices the concrete shell hovering above he is greeted by a double collonade as he exits the elevator the visitor notices the kiln being set up he makes his way to the rear end of the floor and peers down at the kiln.

C the pot

after being glazed, the pot is displaced downstairs and into the kiln the glaze moves across the surface of the pot, excited by the heat the pot undergoes transformative changes for the last time.


entrance hallway model photograph

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C


2

B

A

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tension cable

floor finish w/ angle metal connector spider clamp

laminated glass

lightwell

[2] lightwell detail

The world created below grade contrasts the light-filled spaces above. The exhibition area is reminiscent of the concrete shell that houses circulation.


2

71


6:00PM

A the potter

after the kiln is set up, the potter moves downstairs visitors are roaming about the potter gets ready for the night and goes home upstairs the cycle will repeat again tomorrow and for years to come.

B the visitor

after observing the potter set up the kiln, he notices the lightwell he peers down and sees some water; he decides to venture downstairs the light from above is guided down and reflects into the space the pool of water seems calm and serene he wanders around the space as the light reflects from the water the rim of a pot catches the light.

C the pot

after being fired, the pots are cooled and moved downstairs there they will sit in their home on a bronze shelf light dances around them, reflecting off their surfaces the pot now lives in its pause.


B

C

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The lightwell brings light from the exterior down into the exhibition space. It is met with a reflecting pool below grade. The light is reflected off the surface of the water and onto the rim or curvature of the different pots on the bronze shelves, bringing clarity to the part and later, the whole.


light well/pool model photograph

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+ pottery

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Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3


The clay has its own time as does the potter. The potter can be perceived as either working against time or with time as the materiality of the clay changes from wet to bone dry. Wedging, throwing, and finishing must occur at different times, depending on level of moisture in the clay. The pot has its own time as well, from the minute its clay body is formed and extending beyond its departure from the kiln. The work formed by the potter’s hand is in the memory of the pot and lives longer than the potter. The act of throwing has given me awareness to each step and the materiality of the clay. Although two hands are in contact with the piece of clay, the whole body works in conjunction with the speed of the wheel to center and throw a vessel. As Juhani Pallasmaa explains in his book, “Thinking Hand,” the hand represents our embodied thinking. The steady (or unsteady) movement of the hand, gaining stability from resting the elbows on the knees, is embedded in the clay as it is thrown. The mind must also be engaged while throwing. A vision of the finished piece helps dictate the movements of the hand. The hand then feels the clay, determining if it is too wet or dry, if the section is too thick, if the vessel becomes off center. The parts make a whole. The base or footing, the curvature and void, the rim and edge. Together, they make up the whole vessel. The base grounds the pot or the pot can delicately meet a surface. The opening allows limited or unlimited views into the void of a vessel. The rim, whether sharp or soft, affects the light as it enters the vessel. The section reveals these aspects. In his essay “The Thing,” Heidegger describes a jug’s ability to hold something in its void. Its presencing is the gathering of the fourfold into a onefold, which consists of the sky and earth and mortals and divinities. The cylinder, cup, or bowl that I attempt to throw also is its own world. [Fig. 1, 2, and 3] Time is measured by the amount of clay around the wheel.

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Thrown on wheel bowl Blue + black glaze


Thrown on wheel mini bowl Cookie white glaze

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Wheel thrown cup Brown + black glaze


Wheel thrown cup Thin slab construction handle Green interior + brown and cream exterior glaze

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Thrown on wheel cup Brown and cream + brown glaze


Thrown on wheel cup Blue green glaze

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Thrown on wheel cup Blue star + blue green glaze


Wheel thrown cup Clear interior + brown and cream exterior glaze

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catalog

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Sun vs Moon Duality 20” x 30” Vellum Bristol Print AutoCAD + Photoshop

Time Overlays [1] 24” x 10” Vellum Bristol Graphite , marker, + Photoshop

Time Overlays [2] 24” x 10” Vellum Bristol Graphite, marker, + Photoshop


the pause 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Print AutoCAD + Photoshop

Long Section 24” x 19” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

Day Site Selections 24” x 19” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

First Floor Perspective 24” x 19” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

Night Site Selections 24” x 19” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

Exhibition Space Ceiling Perspective 24” x 19” Vellum Bristol Graphite, pen, + Photoshop

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Schematic Section 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

1

Exploded Axon Section 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

2

3

4

4

1

5 2

3 4

5

6

7

SKYLIGHT DETAIL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

floor finish concrete floor slab corrugated metal decking steel beam and girder system laminated glass spider clamp tension cable

SLIDING DOOR DETAIL 1 cast-in place concrete 2 overhead support track 3 bronze plating door frame 4 panel door 5 void for door handle

FOURTH FLOOR

First Iterative Section + Details 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, pen, + Photoshop

Fourth Floor Plan 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop


Third Floor Plan 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

Second Floor Plan 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

Third Floor Perspective 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

Second Floor Perspective 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

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First Floor Plan 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, color pencil, pen, + Photoshop

Section Details [1] 8.5” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, pen, + Photoshop

Exhibition Floor Plan 19” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, pen, + Photoshop

Section Details [2] 8.5” x 24” Vellum Bristol Graphite, pen, + Photoshop


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Pella Room [Cowgill 300] Spring 2016


the end [?] + beginning The academic year of Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 has been a challenging yet, rewarding one. The freedom to study my particular interest coupled with certain constraints has been a fantastic culmination to my undergraduate career. Thesis has taught me to continue my career in the real world with the same vigor and passion I had at the beginning of the school year. It has also taught me that thesis never truly ends. My studies and interests will come with me after graduation. Be extra[ordinary].

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bibliography Binet, Helene. The Secret of the Shadow: Light and Shadow in Architecture. Tübingen: Wasmuth, 2002. Print. Heidegger, Martin, W. B. Barton, and Vera Deutsch. What Is a Thing? Chicago: H. Regnery, 1968. Print. Plummer, Henry. Light in Japanese Architecture. Tokyo: and U Japan, 2003. Print. Plummer, Henry. Poetics of Light. Tokyo: U Pub., 1987. Print. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Chichester: Wiley-Academy, 2005. Print. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley, 2010. Print. Tanizaki, Jun’ichirō. In Praise of Shadows. New Haven, CT: Leete’s Island, 1977. Print.

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SC s h i r a

c h u

wwww.issuu.com/shirachu shirachu@vt.edu

Shira Chu: Undergraduate Architecture Thesis 2016  

Virginia Tech Bachelor of Architecture Thesis Fall 2015 - Spring 2016

Shira Chu: Undergraduate Architecture Thesis 2016  

Virginia Tech Bachelor of Architecture Thesis Fall 2015 - Spring 2016

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