Masters in Architecture and Urban Design Thesis Prize
Aggregate, Aggregation + Geotechnical Urbanism
Advised by Stephen Ervin
Within the architectural engineering and construction industry we have developed diagrammatic representations and software translations of cultural patterns, extruded 2D cities, and built architecture of processed materials palettes. We are not yet able to diagrammatically compute the translation (intent to manifestation) of wild contexts and materials systems. This thesis seeks a hybrid software approach to the bulk manipulations of aggregate, somewhere between that of a wild randomization and a refined aesthetic.
By developing new software tools toward the aggregation of “wild” (i.e. rock, soils and organic matter) rather than “cultured” (cast-in-place concrete, steel beams, and pre-fabricated urbanism), we may not only achieve new opportunities in the ecological landscape definition of the terms, but also provide tooling for new forms of urban aggregate across more dynamic, and less predictable cultural conditions, so called geo-technical urbanism(s). This experimentation is applied conceptually to sea-level rise and coastal urbanism surrounding the Boston harbor.
Uses / Purposes:
- Computability of Materials Systems
- Pursuit of a “Wild” Aesthetic
- Complex Environmental Contexts (Sea level rise, ecological infrastructure, informal settlement, and future ‘Wilds’)
How might new geotechnical approaches to computing aggregate + aggregations of other ‘wild’ materials impact urban design?
How cultured or wild will our geotechnical infrastructure become? Can material systems automation assist in new ways of translating ideas, diagrams, and simulations for multi-$billion resilient infrastructure projects into reality?
As water levels rise throughout the world, more people are vulnerable to devastation. Among those are some of the poorest in the world, living in marginalized areas, geographically prone to flooding and weather-related destruction. Time, money, and priority constraints are major obstacles. While modular construction, mass-customization and systems automation are transforming building efficiency and architecture from the inside out, our exterior resilience infrastructure is being aggregated one rock at a time.
Without intervention, an estimated 300 million people around the world would be overcome by flooding by 2050. (Scott A. Kulp & Benjamin H. Strauss) Stakeholders consist of millions of citizens along a million miles of coastlines and vulnerable areas, all needing protection. This is but one challenge in our built environment dealing with a constant debate between a ‘Cultured’ or ‘Wild’ aggregate systems.
_ “Wild” : not of a manicured or predictable course
_ “Cultured” : grown or made under controlled conditions
Simulations of tidal flux and coastal wave action can be studied in real-time, allowing the designer to review not only their topographic intent but the potential impact of natural systems in shifting the cultural and wild landscape over time.