William F. Smith

MArch II

Prosthetic/Machine/Index/Aesthetic

Advised by Andrew Holder

This proposal is a collection of Architecture’s multiple forms of environmental agency. Sidestepping the pursuit of an ideal response to environmental problems, a comparison of multiple approaches is brought together in one building. Within a spectrum of prioritization from the performative to the aesthetic, four different forms of environmental agency are represented: the Prosthetic, the Machine, the Index, and the Aesthetic.

The Prosthetic finds Architecture’s agency in fixing external environmental problems through a manipulation of context. The Machine finds Architecture’s agency in avoiding external problems by creating calibrated internal environments. The Index finds Architecture’s agency not in solving problems but rather in making them visible. The Aesthetic finds agency in the production of heuristic experiences, questioning the boundaries of Architecture and environment altogether.

With the building type of a city hall and office for governmental bureaus, this proposal finds a new role for Architecture in representing and hybridizing multiple forms of environmental agency. Through this representation, the public is invited to experience and debate the result of environmental ideologies and their hybrids being brought into form. Rather than a search for Architecture’s role in environmental problems being limited to a single answer, a production of new possibilities is opened to the general public and the discipline of Architecture.

William F. Smith, MArch II. Interior view of a model of a cage-like structure. One end is formed from an amorphous structure with an opening.
William F. Smith, MArch II.
A City Hall representing four environmentalisms and their hybrids.
William F. Smith, MArch II.
Four environmentalisms: The Prosthetic (top), The Machine, The Index and The Aesthetic (bottom).
William F. Smith, MArch II.
Three hybrids: The Machine/Aesthetic (top), the Aesthetic/Prosthetic and The Prosthetic/Index (bottom).
William F. Smith, MArch II.
Isometric section of building systems through the four environmentalisms and their hybrids.
William F. Smith, MArch II.
Ground floor plan of the City Hall.
Font Resize