THESIS WORK / Building a Site as a Virtual Object
THESIS WORK features the work emerging from the Thesis Research & Design studios and seminars. Over the course of the TRD1 & TRD2 studios, graduate students develop their individual research topics in preparation for their thesis. The intention is to establish a theoretical, historical, and intellectual framework through a diversity of representational modes such as mapping, diagramming, photo essays, writing.
Loosening Capital’s Spatial Fix: Reconceptualizing the Urban as a Virtual Object | Building a Site as a Virtual Object
Instructor: Adrian Blackwell
What are the important questions of site that you want to study and engage in your thesis? How can these be represented in a physical model? These questions may be primarily qualitative issues of light, mass, monumentality. They maybe primarily political or ideological, how can these abstract qualities by located in space and then modeled in three dimensions? What materials can be mobilized to best describe theses issues? In order to build the model you will need to make drawing, what data do you need for these drawings?
Make a physical model that describes the thesis question within the site of your thesis at any scale and with any material on a 24×36″ base. As the virtual is memory and duration – all times in one moment – use the model to describe the relations between different times.
Streetscapes of Cultural Memories in Sunset Park, Brooklyn | Liyang Zhang
Sunset Park, a neighborhood in the Southwestern part of Brooklyn, was a community whose built environment had changed much less than its social and demographic environment. The model explores the shifts in occupation by different ethnic groups from Nordic ship and factory workers, to Puerto Rican and Chinese immigrants between 1920 to present day. With the rise and fall of the waterfront industry, and the construction of the Gowanus Expressway that cut across its center, Sunset Park is an example of a neighborhood that was revived by immigration, with each newcomer bringing different abilities and values giving the neighborhood a new life. Despite most buildings being built before the 1920s, changing streetscapes and domestic occupation reveal the distinguishable process of adjustments and acculturation of each ethnic group within the neighborhood over the past century.
The model collects and stitches the memories of the built environment and its occupation on Third, Fifth and Eighth Avenue throughout its history of immigration.
Architecture of the Whole Economy | Emmiley Zhang
Forms of Nature and Architecture | Morgan Wright
The term Anthropocene has exhausted itself. It has become somewhat common and banal, generally understood as the unstable, unpredictable geologic age that we are currently in. In identifying the Anthropocene and its self-destructive tendencies, the designer can use tools and techniques acquired through practice and education to propose inter-disciplinary solutions. Re-imagining ones understanding of nature and culture as congruent assemblages that can’t develop individually.
This thesis looks to position itself within the city. It wants to align itself within the discourse of architecture, but to pull ideas from a scientific and ecological framework to address a small issue with in urbanization. It is interesting to look at how geologic processes can tell multiple stories, simultaneously, in an objective way.
For the purpose of this thesis, lets use the Victory Mills Silos and its greater context (defined by the Ontario Greenbelt perhaps) to draw on the idea of “living with”. Building a forensic analysis of how the site came to be in order to understand what it might become. This site can be used as a testing ground to draw conclusions between urban processes and changes in environmental predictability. As we approach the limits of the Anthropocene, what can we take with us into the next epoch?
“every building that we build, there is a hollow left in the earth exactly proportional to the materials that were extracted to build it.” Seth Denizen on Gilbert Simondon
Sarajevo: Navigating Assemblages | Elena Mucibabic
“We are confronted not by one social space but by many – indeed, by an unlimited multiplicity… no space disappears in the course of growth and development: the worldwide does not abolish the local.. they attain “real” existence by virtue of networks and pathways, by virtue of bunches or clusters of relationships.” 
The city of Sarajevo in Bosnia is a place which demonstrates well this concept of multiplicities. The turbulent history of the city can be described as one which is constantly making an effort to sustain itself despite successive waves of conquest. Bounded on the border between the Eastern and Western worlds, it fell under influence repeatedly to powerful empires which attempted to unify the city through their respective national identities. In turn, the marks of conquest and the ongoing struggle of the city came to light repeatedly. Triggered by a series of historic events emerging from turbulence and resistance, the lines of rupture and division became deeper engraved in the urban fabric. These ruptures became telling of the needs of the individuals and collectives. A city which was constantly in flux between instability and stability.
In result of these histories, Sarajevo today demonstrates remarkable patterns of interweaving of the past and present simultaneously, and presents a strong urban identity surpassing ideals of national identity. The socio-cultural tensions can be viewed as a history experienced collectively by all groups, in a way becoming the characterization of life and unifying factor in this heterogeneous region of the world. The city can be seen as a rich tapestry, a kaleidoscope of colors. A city which to this day is marked by the ongoing interplay between integration and segregation.
This thesis and research in progress therefore seeks perhaps to explore the ramifications of these turbulent histories, and seeks to understand how architectural space could mitigate segregation through the exploration of third space. Henri Lefebvre and Donald Nicholson-Smith, The production of space (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2009), 86.
Surface Urbanism | Ammar Gahzal
This model is an exploration of dialectic of the usable/unusable, clear/ambiguous, inhabited/deserted surfaces in the city, following a visual composition analysis of the movie “la haine” with a connection apparatus between the suburbia, and the city of Paris. A detournement of existing locations into cinematic space.
Tlatelolco, Mexico / Tenochtitlan, Mexico | Daniel Abad
The concentration of this thesis explores the opportunities of the Tlatelolco borough in Mexico City. It is located three kilometres northwest of the centre square in Mexico City. This model was used as a tool to organize historical research. To understand the social, political and historical context, the models explore the relationship between two points of study in Mexico City though their 680 years of history. Model A expresses the permanence of a centre of power in Mexico City. Model B maps the dramatic transformations of the Tlatelolco borough. By placing the two models separately, Tlatelolco is shown to transform significantly in contrast to the stable zocalo model. The radical reinventions of Tlatelolco signify the shockwaves of shifting power, policy and history of the capital.
To understand the layers of relationships, the area of study has been separated into six cuts through history, each is populated by concrete artifacts which contrast and illustrate the shift of land use and influence. From bottom to top these layers are:
- 1325: The Primitive Islands
- 1520: The Market Borough
- 1790: The Indigenous Village
- 1890: The Industrial Railyards
- 1964: Ville Radieuse
- 2017: The Post-Neoliberal city
The Ten Blocks of Toronto, A study for the future of the district | Jennifer Jimenez
Architects nowadays often fail to consider the most valuable asset of our profession: time. Not talking about construction efficiency but about the historical footprint, a building leaves on the world. This trigger a series of questions: What is the relationship between architecture and history? and how architects affect the curse of history?
In the shallower point of view, the answer is the eager and ambitions of current architects to make innovative, creative and/or controversial projects to win a spot in the architectural memory. However, this thesis tries to go deeper into how the historical buildings shape the identity and the sense of belonging to the people. Ruskin in “the Seven Lamps of Architectures” acknowledge the indirect role of architecture in history “We may live without her, and worship without her, but we cannot remember without her.”