Calvin Boyd

MArch I

James Templeton Kelley Prize, Masters in Architecture I

Pair of Dice, Para-Dice, Paradise: A Counter-Memorial to Victims of Police Brutality

Advised by Jon Lott

This thesis is a proposal for a counter-memorial to victims of police brutality. The counter-memorial addresses scale by being both local and national, addresses materiality by privileging black aesthetics over politeness, addresses presence/absence by being more transient than permanent, and lastly, addresses site by being collective rather than singular. The result is an architecture that plays itself out over 18,000 police stations across America and the Washington Monument at the National Mall, two sites that are intrinsically linked through the architecture itself: negative “voids” at police stations whose positive counterparts aggregate at the Mall.

The critical question here is whether or not the system in which police brutality takes place can be reformed from within, or if people of color need to seek their utopia outside of these too-ironclad structures. This counter-memorial, when understood as an instrument of accountability (and therefore a real-time beacon that measures America’s capacity to either change or otherwise repeat the same violent patterns), ultimately provides us with an eventual answer.

A crowd gathered outside Ferguson Police Department holding signs saying "Black Lives Matter"
Community members gather and organize outside of Ferguson’s Police Department after news of another senseless murder surfaces. [Ferguson, MO – date redacted]

View through a peephole into an office room with police officers sitting at tables.
Unwelcomed surveillance of a police station conference room after several instances of police violence led to the puncturing of the station’s exterior by the local community. [Ferguson, MO – date redacted]

A protesting crowd holding up signs saying "Say their names" and "Stop killing us" along with photos of victims of police violence.
An eager crowd chants “Black Lives Matter” within the police station void, and their booming voices work their way into the station’s interior. [Ferguson, MO – date redacted]

Composite image of a news broadcaster in front of a crowd of protesters demonstrating in front of a large building.
Several states over, a news anchor reports from the National Mall in Washington D.C. as yet another monument is added to “the Wall” – one for every unjust murder. [Washington D.C. – date redacted]

Architectural plan of a building surrounded by parking lots with cars.
Plan of Ferguson Police Department. This counter-memorial implicates, rather than separates, the guilty party. Every time a fatal instance of police brutality occurs, an architectural void is carved out from the responsible precinct’s station.

Animation of an architectural plan depicted as gray shape with no details, with triangular pieces slowly getting removed from the shape..
Taken to an extreme, the process of voiding out police stations is a radical form of “defunding the police” by dematerializing their presence.

A chain link fence with a sign posted behind it that reads, “Black Neighborhood Police Watch” with a date and and location and the statement, “We immediately report all suspicious Police activities.”
Here, the architectural “project” is larger than any single building. The project gifts communities across the country the agency to hold law enforcement more closely accountable.

Two renderings of shapes labeled “void” and “counter-void” with a pyramid shape positioned in each one.
The project functions using merely two architectural devices. Voids with lenses that puncture police stations, and their counterparts that symbolically aggregate at the National Mall.

Aerial rendering of the shadow of the Washington Monument obelisk depicted as a series of rectangles on the landscape to its right.
Plan of the counter-memorial at the National Mall. The giant scaffolding takes the shape of the Washington Monument’s shadow and holds space for all 18,000 police precincts in America to be represented.

Rendering of a large dark facade of a building on the National Mall, with crowds of people around and a pair of people in the foreground holding “Re-elect Trump” flags.
The counter-memorial is an interruption in a landscape meant to be representative of American ideals. And as it fills up over time, its function as an instrument of accountability assumes primacy over any one historical moment.

Rendering of a dark structure made of columns and beams, with people walking underneath it at ground level.
At the base of the counter-memorial, visitors locate their precincts and leave flowers – again, all with the knowledge that every death adds a counter-void to the memorial despite its large but limited capacity.

Animation of a large building as it is slowly engulfed in flames.
The counter-memorial aflame after the addition of too many counter-voids and their lenses – simply one of many future realities. Will America get its act together, or will it burn?

Anna Kaertner

MArch I

Department of Architecture Faculty Design Award- MArch I

Equivocal Elevations 

Spring 2021 Thesis
Advised by Megan Panzano

The city of Leipzig has gone by many names—’Messestadt’, ‘Reichsmessestadt’, ‘Heldenstadt’, ‘Boomtown vom Osten’, ‘Schrumpfendestadt’, and more recently the hyphenated ‘Hypezig’. These pet-names serve as an index of the city’s successive civic identities. Since Leipzig’s bombing in 1943, political regimes and architects have utilized these identities as a means through which to direct construction. Individual sites are marked by a frenetic churn of destruction, construction, and re-construction.
These interrupted civic identities leave the context of Leipzig indeterminate—with unraveling, overlapping, and competing projections of past and future. Each interrupted version has sought to produce a resolute clarity to Leipzig’s urban legibility, with building elevations serving as the primary registration of each attempt at identity resolution.

Equivocal Elevations proposes a Super Civic Service Center—building on the existing city-government institution of the Bürgerzentrum which provides public—to address the intersection of individual identity, city bureaucracy, and civic identity. Born out of the intense archival study of Leipzig, the elevations unearthed from site provide the architectural foundation for this new center. Elevations here do not propose a finite or shallow representation but instead equivocal relationships between histories and building, allowing elevation to both figure and be figured by the exterior and interior. By developing this method, the intent is to project a continued, open-ended irresolution to Leipzig’s identity while reflecting on the specificity of Leipzig’s numerous histories.

Four elevations of multi-level buildings rendered in pastel colors.
Equivocal Elevations proposes an alternative way of extracting context using the technique of the elevation and aims to produce equivocal relationships between histories and building.

Colorful architectural plan showing four building facades radiating out from a central plan in a plus-sign shape.
The elevations, grafted from processed drawings of the surrounding elevations, produce at once a record and a projective plan for a building.

Animation showing shifting among different versions of floor plans for the same building.
Proposed as a civic service center, the plan becomes increasingly nested as both the privacy of individuals becomes more important, and the services become parallelly atomized to addressing individual needs.

Elevation of a 5-story building.
The section assists in providing privacy and protection as the services become increasingly sensitive to the individual and continues to allow each room presence on the elevation.

Rendering of an interior room with a sliding glass door off of a hallway.
On the top floor services pertaining to personal identifying information including tax IDs, personal IDs, and the issuance of criminal records are provided.

Rendering of an interior room with a bench and a window above it with view into a different room.
Increasing cellularity of rooms and the sectional displacement of windows and floors room to room provide both employees and residents with protected views.

Scalloped Tectonics

CLT is a large (9’ x 50’), and thick (up to 9in), sheet material. It is also a manufactured material, assembling layers of cross-laminated timber into a precisely machined rectangle via CNC technology. This gives CLT two unique properties as a building material: through its mass and scale it can be used simultaneously as a structural and spatial system, and the available thickness of the material presents opportunities for volumetric expression. The aim of the project was to investigate fully CLT’s capacity to be both an off-the shelf material, which can be used with minimal alteration to produce space, as well as customization of a CLT part to produce precisely machined geometries which express the tectonic and aesthetic possibilities of CLT.

Pieces of an architectural model laid out separately on a surface.
Stacking and notching are standard methods of connection in CLT. They are transformed in the house to produce new material and formal expressions.

Animation cycling through different versions of floor plans for a building.
The house, conceived to include an ADU, allows the gable to belong to neither the big nor little house, instead it produces its own orientation and merely gets clipped by the boundary of the two houses.

Animation showing two different architectural models with curved facades.
The roof is re-imagined as a set of milled, stacked beam—or logs—which become self-supporting to connect with the walls.

Aerial view of pieces of architectural models.
New expressions for connection and structure in CLT via material components are sought out for a tower.

Animation cycling through different floor plans of a polygonal building.
Instead of stratifying programs to different floors, each floor accommodates both office and residential units. Varying residential unit types are developed through the rotation in grain.

Animation showing different views of an architectural model of a tower.
The facade belies the massiveness of its panels and the structural work they are doing, rendering CLT plastic and light.

Sum In Sarah Cheung

MArch I

Department of Architecture Faculty Design Award – MArch I  

Site: Arts District, Los Angeles, CA
Program: 50000 sq ft. Office building

Spring 2020 Option Studio: Generic Specificity
Instructed by Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee

The hollowing out of the most generic solid allows for an extension of traditionally internal office spaces outdoors: the exterior courtyard itself is treated as a workspace. The facade initially appears uniform, but upon close examination responds actively to its programmatic constituents. Columns with a prismic section are inherently directional and point towards either side to respond to the corresponding interior program. From afar the building appears as a solid carved out to reveal exterior courtyards; from up close, the courtyard facade takes on the materiality of the interior, and the hollowing out begins to appear as planes extending outwards from the core. Recessed fluted panels mirror the softness of curtains and the lintel-cum-balustrade forms a unifying element that wraps itself around the building envelope.

The tartan grid produces four distinct volumes and courtyards at its upper levels. Core elements are placed in the narrow north-south bands, and the predominant east-west corridor links together typified programmatic zones, producing an alternating sequence of layered surfaces that oscillate in materiality and transparency in correspondence to program.

Rendering of a four-story concrete and glass building on a city corner. One corner of the upper two floors is an open area deck with a tree.
The facade initially appears uniform, but upon close examination responds actively to its programmatic constituents. Columns with a prismic, triangular section are inherently directional and point in either direction to respond to its corresponding interior program. From afar the building appears as a solid that is carved out to reveal exterior courtyards; from up close, the courtyard facade takes on the materiality of the interior, and the hollowing out begins to appear as planes extending outwards from the core beyond the facade line. Recessed fluted panels mirror the softness of curtains behind glazed apertures, and the lintel-cum-balustrade forms a unifying element that wraps itself around the building envelope.

Interior space showing a long sunlit hallway with large glass windows that open to a courtyard on the left, and bookshelves on the right.
The principal east-west corridor connects typified programmatic zones of alternating materialities which oscillate between solid, semisolid, open, so on and so forth, thus channeling views and producing a layered depth.

Interior room with a table and stools in the center and desks on the right side. In the back wall is a polygonal cutout with stairs and a view into the room beyond.
Core elements are placed in the narrow north-south bands.

Courtyard of a building with chairs, tables, trees and shrubs.
Exterior rooms: the hollowing out of the most generic solid allows for an extension of traditionally internal office spaces outdoors, a characteristic uniquely enabled by the climate of Los Angeles.

Diagram of four levels of a building.
The building utilizes the logic of a tartan grid that produces four distinct volumes and courtyards at its upper levels. Core elements are placed in the narrow north-south bands, and the predominant east-west axis forms a connective corridor that chains together specifically typified programmatic zones. Progressing along this axis, one experiences the grid through alternating sequences of different surfaces both in terms of materiality and transparency.

Animation of an architectural floor plan cycling through several different variations.
The building utilizes the logic of a tartan grid that produces four distinct volumes and courtyards at its upper levels.

Asignifications: Destabilizing the Colonial Imaginary

Spring 2021 Thesis
Advised by Sergio Lopez-Pineiro

In Hong Kong, a city caught between two colonialities, historical preservation has become a politics of the image: in which the excesses of capitalism are conflated with a deep-set desire for a unified cultural framework, and where the prosthetic seeing of singular fictive identities has become a tool for the severing of history and memory. Part kitsch, part simulacra, these images—static and monumental—collapse all critical distance between observer and observed, becoming representations that absorb themselves into a system of signification of the colonial imaginary.  

This thesis attempts to bring forth an asignification through the rewriting of the city’s oldest remaining colonial building and its immediate context. The ideological undoing of this building’s symbolism and the creation of interludes and digressions within its simulacra produces an urban ensemble that occupies and solidifies the space in between its two neighboring, and opposing, institutions: that of I.M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower and the High Court of Hong Kong. In considering the complex network of mutations and permutations of nationalism, colonialism, and capitalism so embedded in the city’s built environment, the resultant programmatic entanglement seeks to restore a multivalence in architecture that destabilizes the privileged perspectival space within, which the colonial gaze is cast in place. The constant appearance and disappearance of historical image, typology, and symbolism may perhaps begin to restore a critical distance—a gap, a void—within which a new postcolonial subject might be invented, subsequently encouraging an embracing of the in-between. 

Abstract rendering of a building with columns and other materials.
The ideological undoing of the Flagstaff House comes in two steps: firstly, the breaking down of the building’s symbolism, and secondly, the reconstruction of a novel image – both of which occur simultaneously and culminate in a new building. Taking cues from myriad precedents of found-object assemblies, contextual elements are distilled and treated as found objects themselves, and subsequently put together into assemblages that begin to destabilize the static image that the Flagstaff House once projected.

Animation of architectural plans cycling through various iterations.
The resultant urban ensemble is thus: a bridge-building forms below as programmatic extensions for each institution that plug into both Towers. Rising above the center point is the new projection of the Flagstaff House – which becomes a public archive and library of Hong Kong’s judicial and colonial history. As an archive of the city’s rapidly morphing rule of law and amorphous sociocultural identities, the new structure becomes a cenotaph, a repository of memory that documents the complex network of mutations and permutations of nationalism, colonialism, and capitalism so embedded in the city’s coming-into-being. Skewed and contorted by axes projected from both towers, the organization of this new building draws upon the existing plan of the Flagstaff House: its column order is replicated, as is a building skirt reminiscent of the House’s existing loggia which reincarnates itself in the archive as peripheral library stacks.

Section drawing of two architectural structures side by side connected at or below ground level by rooms and passageways.
Eroded by the landscape, the tea museum is displaced downwards as one progresses through and below to an underbelly, which in turn sags under the weight of the city’s memory of a bygone history. This history is reincarnated in the form of an archive that seamlessly loops from one room to another around the vortex point. At bridge level below a programmatic entanglement between the Court and Bank, although private, allows for an idiosyncratic spatial connection to the displaced museum above. Despite its programmatic separation everything is sutured together by the public park.

Rendering of a building on large columns in a cityscape surrounded by much taller buildings, with a passageway extending outward from it and roads below.
The column order of the existing House is replicated in its extension as a large Vierendeel truss from which the building’s loggia hangs. This truss is supported at three points: at its rear corner it sits on the park landscape through which a large foundation pile is driven. Just off center, a slanted core pierces the structure which contains the building’s main staircase. At the very front, a third core extends itself all the way to the ground level. This frontal core-column appropriates the chamfered form of the Bank of China’s base.

Two renderings of facades of a wide low building with an open plaza below and skyscrapers rising behind.
The building itself is clad in grey brick, reminiscent of those typically found in vernacular Chinese buildings. However, this brick aggregation makes use of gaps in between each brick which allow the façade to become porous. From afar, a giant grey mass; upon a closer look, the column order of the interior Vierendeel – and of the Flagstaff House – shines through this mass. Moving closer, however, the volume itself begins to break down: cuts on the side facades allow views from the bridge to frame the opposing Bank and Court buildings, as if their foundations are also eroded by the building itself.

Animation showing views of multiple interior spaces of a building.
The judicial library is spatially linked to the now displaced tea museum on the ground level just above; pedestals rise through the downward leading ramp towards the displaced Museum space which also serves as a main access. Traversing under and through, we now encounter the underbelly of the public archive. The downwards dip of the underbelly deforms the ground plane and intersects with the slanted stair core at a point of singularity. Skewed by the axes of neighboring towers, the facade envelope folds upwards. This produces an open study area and a single window above framing the sky.

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.