Shaina Yang

MArch I

James Templeton Kelley Prize, Masters in Architecture I 

Cripping Architecture

Advised by Preston Scott Cohen

What does architecture designed for a completely different archetype of body look like? The thesis reimagines an architectural world so tailored to native use by the wheelchairing body—to the point where it might make the able-bodied feel discomfort, despite their being technically able to “access” it—that issues far beyond the limited purview of code come to the fore. Architectural form, motivated by the ramp, becomes a tool: for empathy, for liberation, for dialogue, for wonder. Located in a heart of respectable residential London, the thesis includes a range of public to private programs that deal with experiential equality, the inherent coloniality embedded in “universality,” urban context and inclusion that neither segregates nor subsumes, the right to beauty, the politicization of form, and a refusal to engage with the intellectual poverty of the adaptation mindset—rejecting “access” altogether, and instead creating a cripped architecture for us by us.  

Aerial view looking west of housing project and central ramped landscape.

Aerial view looking east of housing project and central ramped landscape.

Transverse section of both north and south buildings showing their backwards cantilevers and resultant central chasm, as well as the train tunnels running below ground.

View from the central landscape looking west towards the train station with units on the right

Animation showing young man in wheelchair sitting at bedroom window with legs tucked under the sill, turning around in place without having to reverse.

Interior view of a unit’s central integrated ramp, showing bedroom with wheelchair in corner beyond open doorway on left and open-plan living room on right.

Interior view from a unit’s rear switchback ramp, showing a wheelchair at the landing and a screen partition on the right between the two ramp runs.

Seven unit module plans, showing units of different size and configuration.

Ground floor plan of the project, with point-loaded elevator entry points marked in red.

Seven unit module axonometrics, showing units of different size and configuration.

Animation showing polyrhythmic aggregation of the seven unit types, each type repeated at a strictly regular but differing periodic frequency to the others.