Built to last : designing for a referential continuity in the built environment
Author(s)Dunbar, Susan C
Designing for a referential continuity in the built environment
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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This thesis is about exploring a way of understanding, designing and building architecture which acknowledges that we are a part of a world which is always changing and becoming, without denying or forgetting the past, and still fulfilling the needs and potentials of the present. It is about continuing the collective understanding of how we relate to an evolving built environment. Current trends in commercial architecture tend to build neutral spaces which are then sold as a commodity to be filled with whatever use the consumer desires, rather than building for specific needs as they are required. This has contributed to a lack of definition in the cumulative built environment which has reduced the information available as a reference for evaluating and interpreting one's surroundings in ways which enrich and further its potential use. What I am proposing to explore are some issues of design that respond to a specific site, which will be able to meet the long-term concerns of growth and/or change in use and technology, while providing a referential continuity; a continuity in the understanding of how a building and its surroundings have evolved. As change is an inevitable fact of existence, designing with that as a goal is redundant and leads only to an undefined, passive building as opposed to a more specific definition which positively influences how it is inhabited. The analysis of existing buildings which have been renovated generates some basic principles about the qualities which seem to endow a structure with the capacity to be reinterpreted without losing its initial character in the existing environment. These principles will then be applied to the design of a new building as an illustration of how buildings which are not designed for the possibility of multiple inhabitations over time, need not be neutral in their organization, but may actually contribute substantially to their surroundings and their interpretation.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1991.Includes bibliographical references (p. 133-134).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology