The architecture from within : a house for a woman from urban scale to specific detail

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Auguste, Maria V.
Palmer, Alvin E., 1935-
Issue Date
Thesis (M. Arch.)
Department of Architecture
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The main goal of this project is to achieve successful architecture regarding its creativity and authenticity. It is always the content, not the aesthetic, that forms the basis for the final evaluation of design. Thus, the main intention is to bring together -in a design- issues from three different circumstances: the 'present' situation -a personal view of femininity and women's permanency in dwelling, the 'past' cultural background -tradition in the "porteria" culture- and its evolution and the 'future' possible direction of society -the critical innovative thought through the project. The reaching of the 'concept' in the architecture makes a design authentic. "True architecture does not just agree with [essence] but also asserts the agreement." (Kaersten Harries, Representation and Re-presentation in Architecture, 1988). Ludwig Wittgenstein, an Austrian philosopher of the 1940's, defines architecture as the 'innovative critical thought' of a given situation summarized in a concept -idea, emotion, intention- which is translated and transformed into visual representation to be understood by the designer, and then communicated and shared with society."Remember the impression one gets from good architecture;that it expresses a thought "(Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1940's)The proposed approach concerns itself with the idea of un-veiling and re-vealing the hidden knowledge in the design actions that architects make in their search for realization. These actions are both conscious and unconscious, where accidents also occur allowing for the limitlessness characteristic of the design process. In this way, the objective of this journey of exploration is to find and visualize those steps that architects take while designing. The process of design is very rich in options and in alternatives. It is also rich in its detours and deviations. When all the stages are seen and visualized to the point of bringing them into the consciousness, the design in itself becomes richer and is taken to a further and more profound definition.The underlying ideas of the creative thesis is segmented into attitudes that give shape to the final project. Each attitude is a constituent concept of the end design. The blending and fusion of these diverse issues are perceptible in the final venture. These components begin appearing with the first attempt, evolve in the next various undertakings, and are finally intertwined in the last design."To explain howsbvctures come to hare specific designs[..) we must examine the design process. In particular, we mustidentify thegeneral causal factors (and their inteffeladonsfirp) that influence the decisions leadingto the designs for specific structures " (McGuire & Schiffer, 1938)The following is an enumeration of the attitudes or 'casual factors' that create the basis for the decisions taken along the design process. The basic foundation is the urbanity, the framework or system where the project takes place. This element comprises the urban context and the history of the place which eventually become the rules -the limits- set by the environment. The idea of dwelling also comes into play suggesting the need of permanency and the understanding of the concept of living and inhabiting a space. Next, the feminine component acts as a basis for reflections on femininity, where protection, subtlety and sensuality play important roles. This feminine attitude is carried not only thematically but also architecturally. Also, the culture is important in regards to tradition and contemporaneousness. The fact that the site is situated in Buenos Aires -Argentina- implies an understanding of its people and the values of its culture. Finally, the architectural component establishes personal beliefs toward architecture and the role of the architect in society along with the personal ability to realize the design. All these attitudes fuse together to become the final project: a house for a woman in Buenos Aires.In this way, the challenge is to work with and within the different limits and find the inherent freedom. "Architects are able to creatively play with these limitations and still achieve great responses to both their own intentions and today's society's needs" (previous research). This search carries various decisions regarding a balanced 'giving and taking', and a great deal of creativity. Certainly, it is in the creative 'way-finding' that architecture can express itself most gracefully and truthful. In conclusion, in this project there are limits regarding the contextual issues, rules and norms (urbanity), society's needs and beliefs (women issues), cultural constraints (tradition) and the architect's social responsibilities. In spite of these limitations and thanks to them, the intention is to 'seek for a solution' manipulating and creatively handling these limitations to achieve an architectural artifact.