Claire Djang

MArch I

A Combinatorial Architecture

Advised by Andrew Witt and Jennifer Bonner

The characterization of computation in architecture is often that of pure rationality with no tolerance for vagueness. This thesis uses scripted syntax and aleatoric operations to invoke chance and articulate ambiguity within a computational framework. Printmaking and movable type serve as representational precedents in which the repetition of idealized figures and codes engender new wholes that are inflected by the material imperfections of ink on paper. The thesis attempts to generate unique and unpredictable spatial arrangements from a finite set of simple elements. By superimposing a matrix of formal moves onto the programmed spaces of a house-museum-art-residency, architecture is produced through com-binatorial algorithms.

The typical country house museum was once occupied by a family and is handed over to the public as a form of anachronistic architecture. If history is removed from this model, and inhabitation is brought back in, is it possible for a contemporary domestic building and art collection to evoke as much wonder and fascination? By overlaying three distinct programs—house, museum, and studio—this question sets up a programmatic framework for the composition of spatial elements at the scale of the object, human body, and public realm. The assemblages of art objects and their display within domestic settings provide criteria for a scripted combinatorial assemblage of architectural spaces. At the smaller scale, the design seeks to address the display and framing of artwork within domestic space, and at a larger scale it choreographs a sequence of private-made-public rooms.

Claire Djang, MArch I. Rendering.
Claire Djang, MArch I.
A Grasshopper-generated animation shows a series of void extrusions drifting and intersecting within a spherical volume. The simple arch profiles of the extrusions become distorted along the curvature of the sphere’s surface.
Claire Djang, MArch I.
A birds-eye rendering of a landscape in the Berkshires shows the architectural proposal: two rounded forms positioned in the corner of a field surrounded by circular trees. The larger of the two buildings, a house museum, has an open character and is punctured by many large arch-shaped voids. The smaller dome-like volume, a shared studio space, has a simple circular skylight. At another corner of the field, there also stands an existing house museum made up of three gabled roofs.
Claire Djang, MArch I.
A terminal green section drawing shows a cup-shaped building about 100’ tall. Graphically composed of many overlapping arch shapes, the drawing reveals the large ground-floor dome entrance space punctured by arch apertures in all directions. Faint lines indicate the curved surfaces of interior rooms. Above, another inverted dome forms a second central void within the building. More rounded apertures are created by its intersection with the hidden forms indicated in dashed lines.
Claire Djang, MArch I.
A plan drawing reveals the arrangement of rooms that maintain tangency with one another as well as the boundary volumes of the building. A central void space is encircled by a stair that gradually rises along a sequence of outer rooms: a porch, theater, lounge, dining, kitchen, living, and game room. Some of the larger rooms extend through the façade of the building, requiring large exterior apertures. This is a house.
Claire Djang, MArch I.
An unrolled elevation drawing is superimposed with a collage of rendered spaces in perspective, showing a series of dome-like voids. Each space in the series is composed of a pair of shapes arranged in different spatial relationships through orientation, scale and positioning. Within each void, central apertures exist, either at floor level or above as skylights. Each room has a unique material finish and is filled with a scattering of art objects: large rectangular paintings and rounded ceramic objects, rendered in emissive green.
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