Captive Objects - Thesis Prep

Thesis Prep Project "Captive Objects" SCI-Arc // Spring 2015

Captive Objects 
Mixed use twin towers with an odd program
Location: Downtown LA, Wilshire Blvd
Thesis 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 ironically more and more detached from reality. It shows a need not only for attention but also for self-validation, to reestablish a social status through temporary stardom that is now accessible to all. It exposes our desire for surprise and admiration, to examine ourselves by observing others.
 
According to Liam Young, “exaggerating our present allows us to reimagine ourselves, by exploring an alternative world it is possible to understand our own.”[1]. Architecture can trigger that self-awareness at both individual and social levels.
 
The skyscraper’s imposing scale and visibility opportunities increase its potential as semiotic medium. However, arrays of floor slabs and repetitive, monotonous facades no longer correspond or challenge the current political, economical, social and technological situation. The see/being seen dyad is now multiplied and trying to breach out of control. Architecture should be reimagined and reorganized to subvert total penetration and allow new freedoms within its boundaries. 
 
The façade, acting both internally and externally, can become a political instrument as it “assembles the interior while communicating with the external public realm.” [2].Objects within objects allow the insertion of program within program, a non-equal and irrational fictitious world within the world. Combining volumetric figures with superficial patterns allows a deeper understanding and creates new ways of engaging with the project.
 
This thesis wants to explore the current significance of the envelope by disrupting the tectonics of the skyscraper through a stereotomic[3] approach were clusters of objects are casted within a monolithic translucent volume that gets excavated to create interior space.
 
The envelope becomes a structural and tridimensional mass that fills residual volume between the exterior surface and inner objects, while displaying and distorting the interior program. Through mass and its density, the intention is to stimulate the perception of boundary and legibility of the object, while providing both visible and physical permeation between the exterior and the interiors.
 
Reflections and transparency, on the other hand, exaggerate and distort reality, manipulating both image and form. Glass is no longer displaying the absolute truth but selectively revealing the content. The project will play with the dichotomy between the “interior” world and the “exterior” world, with some trying to get in, some trying to get out and others lost in the transition. 
 
Topics:
 
Seeing/Being Seen + Distorted/ Exaggerated Reality + Self Awareness + Curiosity/Surprise
Deep/facade + 3D Container/3D Content + Objects within objects + Program within Program + Space vs Mass + Volume vs Surface + Stereotomy + Duality and Transitions + Blurred Boundaries + Distortion and Reflection

[1] Liam Young, Architect. Lecture at Ange Vante. Vienna, 2015
[2] Zaera Polo, Alejandro. “The Politics of the Envelope. A Political Critique of Materialism”. Volume 17, 2008.
[3] 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.
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