materials, adaptive reuse, densification of materials, 'fake preservation' opposition, material conservation
Through disassembly and reconfiguration, this thesis proposes to create new relationships between existing materials and their typical forms, using a material-focused densification specific to the site. This radical approach to adaptive reuse contrasts the current over-designed and over-theorized architectural projects, aiming to use a pragmatic approach in how materials on historical sites can be reclaimed. Situated on a site with forgotten architecture, the building’s “ruins provide the incentive for restoration” where one can re-immerse themselves with the grand, sublime space. But sites like these are typically demolished for new construction due to costly rehabilitation, with new designs ignoring or not using enough of the existing context. But this raises the question why so many people praise the deliberate re-building of historical environments, even if they recognize the artificiality of them. This thesis opposes this “fake preservation” of buildings and instead aims to conserve, but not preserve, the sublimity of the existing ruins, by densifying the materials within the site to engage the user in their physicality, learning from Burke’s ideas as well as Piranesi’s printing process to darken images. The new materials create dense intersections with the awe of the grand spaces, guiding viewers through the material masses which take on an architectural form, allowing you to walk around, through, over or under.
Laberge, Madeline, "Material Density: A Radical Approach to Adaptive Reuse" (2019). Architecture Senior Theses. 432.
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