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InProcess 11

M.Arch II Thesis
Master in Architecture II Thesis
The three semester M.Arch. II program establishes an investigative and rigorous framework for experimentation and research into architecture and architectural design. Option studios, seminars, and the final thesis are opportunities for both individual and collective work on themes/practices that examine existing assumptions in architecture. Some of these studios and courses, in 2004-05, have looked closely at logics of organization in urban, institutional, and architectural systems; state transportation networks; algorithms, rule-based systems, and digital mapping; constraints and limits; theories of surfaces; mathematics and topology; problems of the vertical; biological and physical systems; the politics of architecture; interface and media; theories of technology and materials; and questions of history in architectural work. The program questions the multitude of assumptions that lie behind the architectural conventions of program, site, and design methodology in order to create new design processes and strategies. The program also brings the student into the many provocative discussions and practices currently underway in the discipline and practice of architecture. Jason Vigneri-Beane, coordinator

Master in Architecture II Thesis Advisor


Peter Macapia

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M.Arch II Thesis Thesis Design

Mathematics in Architecture Student Selected Sites

Each year we select a topic of particular but open-ended relevance that raises fundamental questions about architecture as a discipline, including its history, techniques, and potential. This year we focus on the question of its use of mathematics and we pose the following: In what way is mathematics internal to architecture and what is its history? What has it contributed to architecture, to the logic of its discipline, to built form, or to its identity? More precisely, is its internality paradigmatic or purely instrumental? And what is its contemporary status? Each thesis project has taken up these questions in a different way, reinventing their meaning and their sense.

Peter Macapia, critic


a a a a a a a a b b b b b a. Anushka Kalbag b. Armando Araiza

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M.Arch II Thesis Thesis Design

Mathematics in Architecture Student Selected Sites

Although it is doubtful that there are any decisive answers, examining these questions through design techniques will enable the student to acquire a unique and profound relation to the specificity of architecture as a discipline, particularly today in the context of its massive technological transformation. For, given the fact that computational design has increasingly pushed (almost entirely through mathematical finesse) the parameters of what is conceivable in terms of form, it seems crucial that we play an active role in rethinking this adventure both critically and enthusiastically. And yet, the problem is not merely given. It requires invention, historical insight, contemporary analysis, and, above all, a design context.

Peter Macapia, critic


a a a a a a a a b b b b b a. Aaron White b. Christian Rietzke

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M.Arch II Thesis Thesis Design

Mathematics in Architecture Student Selected Sites

Architecture has traditionally been concerned in one way or another with mathematics as a language of continuity: the continuity between a conceptual diagram and construction, or the continuity between a particular organization of matter (tectonics) and its appearance (form). But although mathematics - and particularly geometry - has served as the one of the primary media for the conceptualization of continuity, it has often done so with a kind of duplicity. There are numerous and different kinds in both practice and theory, but they are more or less similar to Vitruviuss account of temple design where he prescribes two mutually exclusive uses of geometry. On the one hand, he prescribes an ideal Platonic geometry for the design and form of the temple, and, on the other, he prescribes an instrumental geometry to resolve the problems of appearance in the final construction. The reason is that once a temple is built, geometrys effects have a tendency to drift and, therefore, certain interventions become necessary, such as entasis (the application of a curve to orthogonal elements) in order to provide consistency between idea and appearance, concept and performance, law and event, truth and sense. This second introduction of geometry, then, is quite different: it covers not general laws, but rather that which is too-specific, the remainder that disturbs the equilibrium of the general, that which organizes matter as such. While it is true that this remainder is folded back into the general through the economy of a geometrical operation, geometry-- and all that it implies by technique -- no longer means the same thing. It operates between a general law on the Symbolic level of Form (Eidos) and as specific instrument of intervention for that which is, as it were, too-specific.

Peter Macapia, critic


a a a a a a a a b b b b b a. Mario Vergara b. Jaehong Lee

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M.Arch II Thesis Thesis Design

Mathematics in Architecture Student Selected Sites

If, historically, architecture has regarded itself as a discipline that mediates general laws and specific qualities and experiences, from a theoretical and mathematical point of view, it has usually assumed that the specific unfolds from the lawfulness of the general i.e. that there pre-exist mathematical truths. And, up until the late 18th century, such assertions were primarily Platonist in character (though at times more Aristotelian, as in Gothic). Since the late 18th and 19th century, however, new regimes of analysis have forced various revisions of architectures general technical and conceptual tools (from tectonics to program). Mathematics has similarly undergone a remarkable transformation in terms of concepts of coherence and continuity. For example, in order to acquire a mathematical picture of rates of change in complex material phenomena such as flow, mathematicians began to exchange concepts of numerical discreteness with concepts of functional relations, that is, patterns and continuities. As a result of this and similar mathematical shifts, the space of geometrical thinking in architecture has begun to bifurcate into various forms of analytical mathematics such as infinitesimal calculus and topology. These shifts have engendered much more than novel conceptions of form; they have forced architecture to rethink the categories of its ontology and its tools.

Peter Macapia, critic


a a a a a a a a b b b b b a. Margaret Kirk b. Lilian Gendelman