UnBuilding Building | 2020 Post-Professional M.Arch Thesis Virtual Exhibition

Princeton School of Architecture is pleased to announce UnBuilding Building, an online exhibition by the 2020 Post-Professional M.Arch Thesis class coordinated by Professor Jesse Reiser. The website showcases projects by five students—Catherine Ahn, Esra Durukan, Sarah Etaat, Kyle Weeks, and Olga Zakharova—collectively named "V".

UnBuilding Building

Our built environment is in a constant state of destabilization by changing environments, influences, and functions. In a landscape where architecture is often pushed to sublimate into other types of creative practices, permanence in architecture is no longer something that can be taken for granted. We confront this question of permanence of buildings through actively constructing and deconstructing them. To the provocation we present a gradient of positions that range from the very permanent to the very temporal, which all seek to destabilize an explicit binary between the two.

The five projects exhibited here are conducted in the context of the Post-Professional M.Arch program at Princeton University School of Architecture where there is a unique opportunity for professionally trained architects to return to the university to pursue a two-year program culminating in a year-long thesis. Here, design itself is considered a form of research, and in this sense, the work shown here is unfinished—a first expression rather than a last. Hovering between academia and professional practice, these projects strive to open up new directions for architecture and offer a collective position on the future of our built world.


A Porous Poche by Catherine Ahn
Advisor: Paul Lewis

This thesis investigates forms of excess, heaviness, and porous thickness, made possible by the current surplus of low-quality concrete and brick rubble. Sited along the edge of a decommissioned landfill in Jamaica Bay, Queens, the project proposes an expansive field of pixelated rubble structures, which reclaim an abandoned waterfront for community activities and formalize the unconscious act of dumping for the creation of habitable spaces. The compressive and tensile elements are structurally integral but kept materially separate as an acknowledgement of potential future cycles of de-construction and re-construction.

Cakes for Sale by Esra Durukan
Advisors: Michael Meredith + Sylvia Lavin

"Hi! Welcome to CakeTV. CakeTV is a cook show for cakes of architecture. But also it is a place for conversations, learning from cakes and from each other. You can bake anything that looks like a monument from Victor Emmanuel II to John Hejduk. Please check our drawing sets, bake one and send it to us. Don't forget to subscribe, give us a like and share."

Seam Houses by Sarah Etaat
Advisor: Stan Allen

Seam Houses looks at the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Los Angeles, and proposes to adapt existing detached garages into homes through a series of parts. By foregrounding that buildings are an assembly of parts, this project uses the logic of seams to explore the condition of adding something new to something old.

The (other) Shed by Kyle Weeks
Advisor: Monica Ponce de Leon

The (other) Shed is a project about the role of specificity in architecture when designing for public space with a shifting identity and purpose. Rather than being about temporality and changeability, this project strives to create permanence and stability while leaving room for an evolution of program and activity to occur; a condition best described as fixed, but flexible.

Theatrical Urbanism by Olga Zakharova
Advisor: Cameron Wu

Seeing the city through the lens of theater and time is an effective way of comprehending an urban setting. This project is centered on a proposal for an open air heritage center located on the waterfront area in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. The design is an example of outdoor theatrical urbanism that conceptually extends and bifurcates Metropolitan Avenue, which visually connects Brooklyn to Manhattan and draws the viewer’s attention to the area’s industrialized past.

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Cite: "UnBuilding Building | 2020 Post-Professional M.Arch Thesis Virtual Exhibition" 12 May 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/939432/unbuilding-building-2020-post-professional-march-thesis-virtual-exhibition> ISSN 0719-8884

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