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  • Archi Freak

Background Urbanism

Though architecture has often cast itself as the foreground of urban ecology, history has proven time after time that architecture functions to a great degree in the background of our urban landscape. In fact, because it is not the centerpiece of concern for most of our daily human lives, architecture should not be viewed as a character but an environment within which its inhabitants are grounded to reality. This is a thesis in which we question the role of a building in the standard architectural process of the twenty-first century; how architecture-as-background to the urban environment might result in a paradigmatic shift away from the image-centric viewpoint we currently have. This project treads a careful line between foreground and background, allowing time for the observer and inhabitants to not only notice and appreciate the environment around them but to reflect on their actions inside and around the environment. Minimizing the intervention of the building’s footprint and using pre-existing or upcycled architectural materials, this thesis suggests an efficient methodology for engaging the urban scale of architecture—these being inspirational sources from new media such as video game and film aesthetics as well as more conventional and even mundane materials. 


This thesis flips the contemporary notion of how to engage architecture norms like Massing, Exteriority/Interiority, and Aperture. Rather than succumbing to the traditional fantasies of monumental architecture, this project proposes an architecture enacted through the addition of small, even piecemeal, discrete objects. When put together, these otherwise inconsequential parts alter the overall form and outlook of architecture at an urban scale. While completely foreign to their context, these distributed interventions integrate and subvert that which exists. At a cultural moment where we fixate on the exterior perception of our architecture to such a degree that its insistence on character and audacity—articulated most commonly through its Massing—mute the legitimately valuable nuances of its surroundings, this thesis purposely blends the building into its environment. Where Interiority has become the medium which typically suffuses the whole of a building indiscriminately, we decided to purposely create a clear distinction between the new and the built; purposely make it as epileptic as possible. Where Apertures usually craft views only from interior to exterior, we repurpose them instead to provide physically inaccessible linkages from one part of the interior from another.

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