Skin Deep

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This is a thesis that confronts the role of the facade in reclad scenarios. A facade that attempts to go beyond the role of just delimiting enclosure along the perimeter of the building to one that begins to operate deeper within the domain of the building floorplate to construct organizational relationships deep within the interiors they enclose.

Reclad strategies are arguably becoming more pervasive as societies trend toward city fabrics where second and third generation building is underway. Within these current scenarios, development is being driven by efficiencies in resource and cost reductions, practices of morally sustainable construction methods, and/or sensitivities concerning historically grounded first generation buildings. So as a consequence, demolition and total redesign strategies tend to be a non starter and are slowly becoming superseded by reclad schemes.

As we all well know, NYC is in a housing crisis, and most of it’s current estates are in dire need of repair. Basically, it’s a city with a public housing stock prime for reclad strategies that culturally reconnect outdated housing projects back into the city context they inhabit.

Taking into consideration sensitivities to FAR in high density urban areas, this proposed strategy operates within the perimeter of the existing building envelope. A strategy that pulls the facade inward, fundamentally transforming interiorities deep within the existing building.

Through the operation of folding into the building, new experiential conditions crack open previously enclosed, dark, compartmentalized, and confined pre-existing spaces and attempts unify them into new moments of collectivity. These new moments, are new aggregates created through the folds emittance of light and color into the interiors. They are a middle and regional aggregate that is between the scale of the unit and the domain of the building floor plate as a whole.

This new aggregate is the mixing and fusion of colors between individual units. As these colors blur together, spaces blur together and the perception ownership accompanying such spaces comes into question. What is private and what is public? The light and color that is received through an adjacent neighbor’s apartment redefines notions of shared space, and domains coded through area. It is a permanent perceptual experience of cohabiting individuated spaces through the form of affect. As long as light and shadow accompanied with color are present, so too will the presence of collectivity.

Master of Architecture

Stevenson, Sean. "Skin Deep." (2017) Master’s Thesis, Rice University.

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