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J. Garrett Martin

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Some Assembly Required: The Structural Condition of Collage in Architecture and Urbanism

Date of defense:
March 28, 1997

Document Type:
Master's Thesis

Master of Architecture



It is my intention through this thesis to investigate the structural condition of collage as a culturally relevant approach to understanding architectural meaning and designing architectural form within the context of the urban environment. Meaning in architecture, as it emerges both implicitly and explicitly within the framework of this condition, will be analyzed as it relates to contemporary cultural and historical conditions. In terms of process and product, collage is construed with meaning through juxtaposition and context. A collage does not convey an essential meaning, as its meaning arises through the deliberate techne - the act of its making, and not through reflection on any pre-existing qualities, as there are none. The whole of a collage does not merely encompass an accumulation of elements, but embraces a greater totality through a fragmentary synthesis. While synthesis denotes a constructive process, it also signi-fies a dialectic relation. The dialectic relation embodied in collage can be understood in terms of inclusivity and exclusivity of meaning. This thesis investigation originates from the premise that the architectural act can never be fully understood in terms of its architecture alone. To ignore the greater social, cultural, and historical framework that sustains both the maker and the made is to deny architecture its full depth of meaning, whether that meaning is ideological, transparent, or bound within a chain of signifiers. This is not to imply that the social deterministically constitutes architecture, as both undoubtedly reciprocate influence upon one another; the maker and the made leave their indelible impression upon the sphere of relations which surrounds them. However, it is ultimately within this sphere - this larger social context - that an archi-tectural form embodies meaning.

dialectic, collage as synthesis, contemporary culture, design, edge-city phenomenon

In 3 months.

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martin.pdf12,512,623 Bytes

Date item approved:

Archiving fee received.

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