Title page for ETD etd-06152005-135833

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Boal, Bradley A
Author's Email Address bboal@vt.edu
URN etd-06152005-135833
Title Connections: Material Time & Place
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jones, James R. Committee Chair
Galloway, William U. Committee Member
Rott, Hans Christian Committee Member
  • stone
  • time
  • nature center
  • history
  • place
  • material
Date of Defense 2005-05-13
Availability unrestricted
The way things connect with each other plays an important role in our everyday life. A work of architecture is inevitably a series of connections between objects, people, and places. This study is an exploration into the idea of strengthening the connections to a place, and perhaps it is possible to give the visitor a heightened awareness of the history of that place. As a part of what allows a building to connect with a place, history and memory play a vital role in the strength of the connection. A building can be a physical manifestation of the story of history and connect people to the past.

The materials we use to construct built environments play a crucial role in the connection of a building to a place. Inherently some materials embody the history of a site, and through the passage of time this history can be brought to the surface. The question then becomes can the material subtly project the history of the place to a visitor in such a way that it can be clearly understood. One way this can be accomplished is to make the material react with multiple senses. Obviously materials play a major role in our visual and tactile experience of a place, but how can the other senses be made aware of the surroundings.

Each object we touch has a story to tell, perhaps how it was made, or maybe how it came to be in a certain place. So in this way a building is a compilation of stories of materials, and the relation of these stories can help us to understand a place. The stories embedded in materials can at the same time make us aware of the passage of time through their aging and decay. With these ideas we start to explore how the connections to a place occur.

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