Title page for ETD etd-10022010-110927

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Clark, Taylor Richard
URN etd-10022010-110927
Title On Sensorial Encounters with Architecture
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Emmons, Paul F. Committee Chair
Holt, Jaan Committee Member
Piedmont-Palladino, Susan C. Committee Member
  • making
  • senses
  • haptic
  • architecture
  • monastery
Date of Defense 2009-10-12
Availability unrestricted
This is a study of the body and architecture, the way in which the two experience one another, the way in which one can inform the other. This thesis was centered around the consideration of the senses not as separate inputs, but as one harmonious quality of perception. The project began as an attempt to explore how the non-visual senses could inform the architectural gestation and developed into an exercise using the visual medium of drawings to illicit qualities beyond sight alone. The attempt to capture material quality through abstraction was likened to the search for the divine through our carnal existence on earth. The results attempted to express sensual qualities through a mixture of different media and their layering to demonstrate the development of the whole through the gestation and gradual realization of its fragments.

A site in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia was chosen for its relationship to the tidal water of the Potomac River and the opportunities its previous life as a shipyard presented, as half of the site was excavated into the shoreline. The proposal of a spiritual home, a Cistercian monastery on a site that straddles land and water fit ideally with the theme of addressing materiality and abstract representation, the phsycial and spiritual, and the mind and body. Both the site and the program provided a fruitful counterpoint with which the thesis developed.

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