Con-figuring

UC Berkeley

M.Arch Thesis

2020-2021

The thesis investigates the practice of material conservation, conversion and reconfiguration.

The building is treated as a material resource, in which materials and components are reconfigured to formulate a new version of the building. Instead of overly romanticizing its history, the building regenerates itself. This introduces an aesthetic sensibility of the unfinished, incomplete and impermanent. Here, a long-span building is incrementally transformed into cellular units of non-specific programs.

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Building components, grouped by their traditional functions, are transformed to extend the components’ lifespan as they can be reused in multiple ways over the years.

Eventually, the units shrink, expand, and are replaced by other programs. As this happens gradually, each unit experiences growth and decay at different rate. When one unit is completed, another is renovated. When a window is removed, it emerges elsewhere as floor, door or furniture. 

While the units appear rational in plan, these units are formed by a collision of different architectural elements. The next perspective images blur the boundary of permanence as the site is permanently in a state of construction, and misused architectural elements create ambiguity of whether they will ever be polished or finished.

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