Date of Award
Master of Architecture
Gregor Kalas, Scott Wall
My goal in this thesis is to frame, through design, an existing environment in a manner that fosters the witness and embrace of the reality and beauty of decay—which acts as a marker of the passage of time. My intent is to engage in a careful renewal of a neglected, and largely forgotten, urban landscape, which does not ignore its temporal context. My hope is to explore the full potential of the life cycle of buildings and discover the lesson of mortality in modern American ruins.
Things fall apart. This is a simple truth about the physical world that humanity inhabits, which surrounds, invades and defines the human condition. Because [or in spite] of this we live in a culture that values progress, newness, and speed, that proselytizes through marketing the belief that comfort can be found in surrounding oneself with new things, pushing reminders of death away. The current world of architecture and design nurtures this mentality, selling projects through the production of sleek renderings of pristine and clean objects, a state that will only last for a short time. I argue that, in spite of this mind-set, the realization of entropic inevitability is necessary to provide a healthy temporal context through which to view daily life. Its acceptance is crucial to an appropriate perspective on life and the human condition, allowing positive forward movement in the midst of the change and deterioration that define life. I hope to show how architecture can foster this acceptance through adaptive re-use which values and interacts with the marks of time and traces of past use.
The question that I am positing ultimately is this: How can new architecture breathe life into neglected spaces while also preserving the found beauty of the state of its breakdown, what one might call its ‘character’? Can architecture take cues from and be molded and enlivened by the people, events and nature that it interacts with and is transformed by? Can architecture enact a resurrection that deftly navigates between outright neglect and sterile renovation? And what is the appropriate way to do this?
Antanaitis, Micah Daniel, "The Life and Death of an American Block: A Dialogue with Entropy. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2011.
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