Captive Objects

Final Graduate Thesis in Architecture SCI-Arc // 2015 Student: Leonora Bustamante Sauma Thesis Advisor: Elena Manferdini

Captive Objects
Final Graduate Thesis
SCI-Arc // 2015
Advisor: Elena Manferdini
 
The act of secretly seeing and being seen is now more relevant than ever, in a society highly addicted to social media and wishing to detach from reality. It shows a need not only for attention but also for self-validation, to reestablish a new social status through temporary stardom that is now accessible to all.  Phones have become portable mirrors that show hyper self-reflections, aimed for millions to see or secretly see. This allows new ethereal qualities, interactions, and architectural languages to arise from the digital world we are so immersed in.
 
The façade, acting both internally and externally, can become a political instrument as it “assembles the interior while communicating with the external public realm.” [1]  Objects within objects allow the insertion of program within program, a non-equal and irrational fictitious world within the world. Alternative relationships between multi-scaled extrusions generate new ways of engaging with the project. This thesis explores the significance of the envelope through the effects of dichroic glass on clusters of objects that are captive inside monolithic volumes. The interior space is manipulated through a stereotomic[2] approach in which fragmented pieces are withdrawn to create interior space. The envelope becomes an organizational mass that fills residual volume between the exterior surface and inner objects, while displaying and distorting the interior program.
 
Mass and its density stimulate the perception of boundary and legibility of the object, while providing both visible and physical permeation between the exterior and the interiors. Dichroic reflections and ranges of opacity exaggerate and distort reality by multiplying, fading or deforming existing geometry, manipulating both image and form. Glass is no longer displaying the absolute truth but selectively revealing the interior content.
 
The icon, extruded mostly vertically, is recognizable only at certain scales and from specific viewing angles. Sometimes it represents a program and other times it appears as a sign of itself, while acting as a column, wall, plaza, seating, seam, or a building. The project exploits the dichotomy between the “interior” world and the “exterior” world, the physical and the digital, with some trying to get in, some trying to get out and others lost in the transition. 
 

[1] Zaera Polo, Alejandro. “The Politics of the Envelope. A Political Critique of Materialism”. Volume 17, 2008.
[2] Gottfried Semper defines stereotomics of the earthwork formed out of the repetitious stacking of heavyweight units. According to Frampton, framework tends towards the aerial and dematerialization of mass, whereas the mass form is telluric, embedding itself deeper in the earth.
Captive Objects explores the significance of the envelope through the effects of dichroic glass on clusters of objects that are captive inside monolithic volumes. Through reflections and distortions, it replicates the interactions we currently have on social media, where content is carefully curated and the act of secretly seeing and being seen gets multiplied indefinitely.
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