Designing building skins
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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This thesis involves framing criteria and discerning issues to be considered in the design of building skins in an urban environment. The 'information age' has paradoxically seen the demise of the facade as an important signifier of cultural meaning. Homogeneous and minimally articulated skins have become silent and passive masks, creating anonymous and unresponsive urban environments. In contrast, the decorated facades of post-modem architecture have failed to address questions of meaning and representation in a serious and satisfactory way. Perhaps the problem is not solely one of economic constraints and misguided construction practices, but a lack of understanding and evaluation of the role of the skin, both as an architectural element, and as a social and cultural phenomenon. This thesis will use the ethnographic theories of Gottfried Semper as a basis for establishing themes that have persisted in the understanding and construction of closure elements since the earliest shelters of man. The issue of transparency and spatial depth will then be addressed as a modem social and architectural dilemma, inseparable from the problem of designing building facades. Thirdly, this thesis will be concerned with skins that have a high degree of operability, allowing them to adapt to a dynamic and ever changing environment. The vehicle for exploring the problem of building skins will be the design of a market building in the Haymarket area of Boston.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1992.Includes bibliographical references (p. 55).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology