Andrew M. Ngure

MArch I

Architecture of Thresholds: Discrete Liminality between Spaces of Different Territorial Claims

Advised by Jeffry Burchard

Boundaries define space. Thresholds define place. Through their crossing, they define both the place you have left and the place you are entering. They have the power to craft expectations and reverse existent hierarchies. Crossing a threshold is an act of transition. It is a rite of passage. It is a willful desire to experience something new. Thresholds are places of learning and mediation; a transition from one state of being to another. 

The definition of a threshold in building architecture is the material forming the sill of a doorway. Its purpose is to prevent the flowing out of interior flooring material. It is also understood as a synonym for entry. The threshold is an object and an experience devoid of ambiance as deep as a door frame. Herman Hertzberger writes of thresholds as “transitional spaces between adjacent areas of different territorial claims” and places of exchange and interaction. They are where two worlds overlap. 

This thesis takes the embassy as its project. Within the embassy, rooms are overlapped with each other to create spatial thresholds. They are dynamic places of transition where boundaries of space are provoked, territories are questioned, and spatial hierarchies are made ambiguous. A previously inert and rigid program becomes an abstract composition of complex experiences.

Bird's eye view of landscape with blue figures