Notice of M.Arch. Thesis Defence (Fall 2015)

Patricia Beaulieu

Of the thesis entitled: Forgotten Landscapes: Restoring our Rural Imagination

Abstract:

As our world becomes increasingly interconnected through technology and global trade, consumers are more and more detached from the realities of our consumption and the cultivated land that supports us. These food producing territories, vastly exceeding the space used for human habitation, are structured in such a way to displace environmental systems and human life, while simultaneously being degraded by the growing requirements of today’s urban living. Advancements in industrial agricultural technology, alongside the subsequent migration towards urban centers, has played an important role in reinforcing these systemic changes and the growing disconnect between urban and rural. Despite this, consumers retain a strong influence over land management and food production techniques, though often without an awareness of their impact. Thus, redeveloping human relationships with rural landscapes is a vital element to addressing land remediation.

This thesis challenges the existing remediation approaches to problems of dryland agriculture in Western Australia by attempting to address the disconnect between consumers and their rural footprint. By examining and documenting site history, psychology of rural places, local wildlife habitats and ecological functions, performance requirements for remediation and long-term salinity management, the design of a new framework for land restoration using social infrastructure is developed. This design proposes an intervention that engages human and environmental dynamics to catalyze discovery and responsiveness towards rural systems and health. It promotes a diversity of social and environmental conditions within farming landscapes, leveraging under utilized land, flexible implementation strategies, cultural vestiges and existing infrastructure. Through research and design methods, this thesis hopes to reveal how an improved understanding of rural landscapes – by engagement with human scale intervention – can create cross collaboration and heightened awareness between urban and rural to develop a new consciousness of farmlands and the larger environment, for the benefit of ecological and human systems.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Co-Supervisors:

Matthew Spremulli, University of Waterloo

Lola Sheppard, University of Waterloo

 

Committee Member:

Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:

Dr. Fiona McKenzie, University of Western Australia



The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Thursday, September 10, 2015              9:00AM          ARC 2026

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Karan Manchanda

Of the thesis entitled: RAM | Remote Arctic Memory     

Abstract:

The modern world is defined by networks. One network, specifically, has become the core component in how our societies function; the Internet. While the Internet may seem ubiquitous, seamless, and imperceptible, it is only made possible through a physical connection – hundreds of cables running through our oceans unseen by the user. Fibre-optic undersea cables are the backbone of our age, joining together cities and continents through a hidden network.

This infrastructure of fibre-optic internet has been scheduled to make its way through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago via the fabled Northwest Passage, in order to connect the cities of London and Tokyo to facilitate faster financial trading. However, this long distance connection does not consider many other users. In its current projection, the “Arctic Fibre” cable will only serve a handful of settlements on the Canadian Arctic coast, with the rest of the coastal settlements remaining connected only through high-cost, low-bandwidth satellite technologies. Excluded, these communities will inevitably be further from the advances of the modern world.

There remains an opportunity to expand the use of this cable network by reaching out and connecting to these remote settlements, creating a greater purpose beyond its narrow mandate to shave milli-seconds off trading systems. An improved connective network in Canada’s Arctic Archipelago is necessary to provide better healthcare, educate through remote access technologies, create efficient communications frameworks for emergency situations and most importantly, give equal access to inhabitants of the Canadian Arctic for an improved quality of life. Specifically, the relationship found between this enabled connectivity, the needs and work of Arctic researchers, and the unique cultures of the regions’ Indigenous communities is of particular interest.

The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is a key site in understanding the consequences of climate change on the environment.  However, the vastness of the Canadian Arctic, the lack of a fast and reliable internet connection, distant communication and data, at times non-existent research infrastructure, and the cultural barrier between researchers and the Indigenous population all contribute to the problems of research in this region. There must be a way to create access to these technologies in remote territories, while respecting the existing cultures, rituals, needs of the Arctic landscapes, and restrictive resources to provide for both Arctic researchers and the Indigenous communities. Indigenous knowledge is now a key resource for understanding how climate change is progressing. If this knowledge is partnered with modern science methodologies through innovative technology networks, there is the possibility for greater and more accessible study into the global environmental future.

For these reasons Remote Arctic Memory [RAM] was envisioned. In developing a design proposal for a connected Arctic condition, this thesis investigates coupling communications and research infrastructure together to create a flexible and scalable connective network for the North. The proposal describes a “New North”, an Arctic networked through a series of occupiable, intelligent monitoring towers deployed across the North to foster gathering of data and sharing of knowledge between researchers and the indigenous communities.  This thesis aims to investigate the possibilities and benefits found through architecture, technology and advancing networks collaborating together to connect the Arctic frontier.            
 

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Co-Supervisors:

Lola Sheppard, University of Waterloo

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo

 

Committee Member:

Donald McKay, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:

Ali Fard, Op.N



The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Thursday, September 10, 2015              11:30AM          ARC 1001 - Cummings Lecture Theatre

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Sarah Gunawan

Of the thesis entitled: Synanthropic Suburbia

Abstract:

Animals are invading the city. Coyotes are sighted on downtown streets with greater frequency, raccoons notoriously forage through greenbins as their primary source of food, and all forms of animals inhabit the surfaces, edges and cavities of the built environment. Once wild animals are now adapting to the urban ecosystem and a new human animal relationship is emerging. Between the domestic and the wild are the synanthropic species, defined as animals who benefit from living in close proximity to humans yet, remain beyond their control. Since these animals are neither beloved pets, nor wild beasts, synanthropes are often deemed pests. However, they are the urban mediate, capable of living alongside the pervasive human population by adapting to anthropogenic behaviours and environments. As the conceptual division between city and nature dissolves, architecture is called upon to negotiate the physical boundary between human and synanthropic animal. Synanthropic Suburbia therefore reimagines human animal interactions, using architecture to structure hybrid relationships that positively contribute to the urban ecosystem.

The thesis is positioned within a landscape of rapid ecological transformation – the suburbs – and engages the space of greatest tension between human and animal – the domestic territory of the house. The objective is to investigate the interrelationship between scales of design and ecological impact. How can the multiplications of small scale, architectural interventions influence large scale territorial systems and patterns? Synanthropic Suburbia seeks to answer this question through a series of telescoping design experiments that position six animal species as active players by engaging their habitat requirements, biological behaviours, and seasonal patterns. Three architectural prosthetics re-imagine conventional building components into hybrid systems that augment the single family home and define the physical interface between human and non-human species. The multiplication of the prosthetic systems engages the broader biological requirements of a species and integrates the spatial development patters to define new synanthropic suburban typologies. These syn-urban building blocks are then proliferated across the territorial scale to create a robust, novel ecosystem that is capable of supporting a diversity and density of human and non-human species. The design process seeks to unpack the interconnectivity between complex socio-ecological systems through the multiscale design of the suburban biome.

In the current context of global urbanization and socio-ecological change, Synanthropic Suburbia takes the opportunity to restructure human biological and cultural relationships with non-human species. Animals are now equal citizens with the agency to contribute to the dynamic processes of production, consumption and inhabitation of the syn-urban biome. Synanthropic architecture blurs the spatial definition between human and non-human to maximize the mutual benefits of cohabitation. Eventually human perceptions could shift and more hybrid conditions of human-animal living could emerge, yet, one question will always remain, how close is too close?

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Lola Sheppard, University of Waterloo

Matthew Spremulli, University of Waterloo

Robert Corry, University of Guelph

 
External Reader:
Joyce Hwang, University at Buffalo
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Thursday, September 10, 2015              2:00PM          ARC Loft

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Zachary Fish

Of the thesis entitled: Opportunity in Absence: Activating Vacant Space in The Temporary City

Abstract:

The vacant buildings in Cambridge await new uses as traditional commercial activity has shifted to the sprawl that defines the landscape between the city’s historic cores. Downtown businesses have been replaced by big-box suburban developments, leaving the question, what will fill the city’s urban voids? In declining manufacturing-based economies, like Cambridge, governments focus on attracting the “creative class” for economic growth. Cambridge selected the creative sector as a development target; however, the city has implemented few of the proposed changes from the economic development strategy commissioned in 2008. Further reports identify that the region lacks the physical creative sector space required for creation and networking within its existing building stock, despite statistics showing the commercial vacancy rate in downtown Cambridge climbed above 40 percent in 2013.1 The vacant buildings in Cambridge create an opportunity for potential programs to promote community engagement. Mobile architecture can be designed to support new activities, leveraging the vacant space into an urban laboratory for experimental programs.
 
Vacant land is both ubiquitous and diverse and both a problem and a resource... 2
 
Bottom-up activism presents the opportunity to act quickly and empower citizens to contrast and complement the top-down, long-term policy strategies. Community initiatives that engage the public can play a role in developing social capital and civic identity. In a year of experimental work with BRIDGE (a student-led nonprofit initiative), a model program was developed to activate the vacant spaces on Main Street in Cambridge. These community activities, within the city’s waiting lands, illustrate a translation of theoretical principles and tactics to transform vacant spaces. Informed from the evolving temporary programs, a mobile architecture is proposed to activate empty spaces, bridging from short- to mid-term occupancy, while creating a unique identity with the ability to adapt as users’ needs and desires change.

Conceived to occupy absent space, the proposed mobile architecture is designed as a portable, reconfigurable toolkit that can aggregate and disperse to support different spatial programs. Filling a void in the core, the space for production experimentation and community initiatives creates a temporary public asset from the city’s unused private capital. Building partnerships at the street level, the work aims to create discernible change within the limitations of the community by capitalizing on its strengths, while developing social capital and organizational capacity between citizens, nonprofits and public-private institutions. The absent space in the city presents an opportunity to prototype mobile architecture and new programs, transforming unused vacant space for productive community building.

1    Colliers Macaulay Nicolls (Ontario) Inc., Brokerage
2   Ann O’M. Bowman and Michael A. Pagano, Terra Incognita: Vacant land and urban strategies (Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2004), 1
 

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Mona El Khafif, University of Waterloo

Rick Haldenby, University of Waterloo

Donald McKay, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Rod Regier, City of Kitchener
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Friday, September 11, 2015              2:00PM          
BRIDGE Centre for Architecture + Design – 35/37 Main Street, Cambridge, ON

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Prianka Debosree Smita

Of the thesis entitled: Render Authenticity

Abstract:

“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for our use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will look upon with praise and thanksgiving in their hearts.”

-John Ruskin

Shakhari Bazar in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh, was one of the first streets to be built in the region of South Asia, using the river network as major transportation route and home to invaluable artisans in the 17th century. It is a sanctuary to a very specific ethnic group, and the only known home to some craftsmen. Therefore, this street is a rich treasure of both tangible heritage and ‘intangible heritage’. Unfortunately, the survival of these crafts is under threat, as the artisans seem to be changing their livelihood due to disconnected cultural ecology. 

With the help of its artisan inhabits, Old Dhaka has been an area with buildings of architectural beauty as well as historical, religious and cultural significance since 1608. “They are eloquent testimony to the history, culture and tradition. These buildings are ‘images’ of the past with which people still identify Old Dhaka”. But sadly, most of these historical buildings are either diminishing through ignorant renovations or collapsing due to neglect, resulting in hazardous living conditions for the unique artisans and migrants. If these present conditions persist, it will not be long until many of these structures, along with the intangible heritages they house, are lost forever.

Comprehensive research has led me to propose multi-disciplinary schematic strategies of spatial interventions that aim to rationalize the decentralized elements of craftsmanship through formalized institutionalization thereby encouraging dialogue, as well as additional  schematic strategies that could authentically restore heritage structures and promote inclusion of the locals and artisans of Shakhari Bazar. To establish a sustainable educated restoration of the tangible and intangible heritages of Shakhari Bazar, and maintain the integrity of the live heritages they house, it is essential to pursue both these strategies simultaneously. This thesis proposes to promote a healthy and informed dialogue between the formal bodies and informal systems of Shakhari Bazar to attain a common goal of sustainable micro economy that refuses to accept uniformity and the disappearance of memory.

 

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

John McMinn, University of Waterloo

Adrian Blackwell, University of Waterloo

Mona El Khafif, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Dr. Luna Khirfan,  School of Planning University of Waterloo
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Tuesday, September 15, 2015              6:30PM          
BRIDGE Centre for Architecture + Design – 35/37 Main Street, Cambridge, ON

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Saba Amini

Of the thesis entitled: "Hybrid Thresholds" : Redefining the Don River’s Edge

Abstract:

My proposal envisions the threshold between the built urban fabric and the natural environment at the water’s edge. It focuses on the development of public space at the water’s edge, and tries to transform that space into a new interface that can be experienced as a valued and essential part of urban life. Rather than subscribing to the conventional understanding of infrastructure as a service-based utility, this thesis intends to weave infrastructure and public works at this threshold. It addresses the question of  how might urban groundwater filtration, normally considered a toxic function requiring separation from the public, be integrated within low-density public recreation areas involving full immersion and exposure to the environment.

Specifically looking at the Lower Don River area, the basic principle of my thesis agrees with Michael Hough’s proposal for the restoration of the Don. In addition, the proposal’s interest in creating an intimate relationship between public life, infrastructure, and ecology aligns with the ideas of architects and landscape architects such as Mohsen Mostafavi, Elizabeth Mossop, Pierre Belanger, and Douglas Farr. The design proposal tackles existing environmental and ecological issues of the Don River by envisioning a series of three programs along the Don that offer dynamic community interactions, and foster the discourse on social and environmental responsibilities. These three programs are all defined by the same design strategy, which relies on a hierarchy of water systems with different volumes to develop a corresponding architectural program. The water is absorbed, retained, and purified through different basins, water remediation cells, and soft landforms during its journey to the river, while people have the opportunity to enjoy that process within the system of boardwalks, elevated decks, and seasonally accessible walkways. These habitable landforms provide room for different public recreational activities which could foster a unique character and renewed experience of a public work along the water’s edge.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Philip Beesley, University of Waterloo

Rick Andrighetti, University of Waterloo

Terri Boake, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Lisa Rapoport, PLANT Architect Inc.
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Wednesday, September 16, 2015              10:00AM          ARC 2003 - Photo Studio

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Kassandra Miedema

Of the thesis entitled: Urban Agriculture as an Agent for Social Change in London, Ontario

Abstract:

London, Ontario was once closely tied to its local food production and distribution. Since 1835, this close connection with food was facilitated by places like the Covent Garden Market. London and many other cities were affected by technological advancements primarily in transportation that created the rift between producer and consumer in its food network, causing the processes and systems of food to become invisible. The goal of the thesis is to offer the residents of the Hamilton Road neighborhood in London, Ontario an affordable alternative to their commercial food system.

Urban agriculture is also the lens through which broader themes such as inter-disciplinary urban design, biophilia, social equality, and socio-environmentalism are analyzed. The exploratory research and analysis evaluates the food system currently in place in London, and more specifically the Hamilton Road neighborhood. The thesis outlines the advantages of the inherent strengths and proposes interventions to address the weaknesses of London’s food system.

The final design proposes to use an integrated systems approach at a city-wide and then a neighbourhood scale to re-imagine the food system as a part of a larger urban network. A strategy for the implementation of urban agriculture in an existing urban setting at the scale of the neighbourhood is the proposal of this thesis. Hamilton Road is the chosen neighbourhood for implementation because it displays the ideal social conditions for promoting the uptake of an urban agricultural movement. By creating healthy, socially inclusive public spaces and private spaces that reconnect people to nature—to heal the gap between producer and consumer within the food network—the project seeks to improve the quality of life by improving food consciousness in London, Ontario.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo

Elizabeth English, University of Waterloo

Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Ingrid Cryns, soma earth Natural Building
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Wednesday, September 16, 2015              11:00AM          ARC 3003 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Yiming Wang

Of the thesis entitled: Sentient Matter: Towards Affective Human-Architecture Interaction 

Abstract:

Interactive design has been embedded into every aspect of our lives. Ranging from handy devices to architecturally-scaled environments, these designs have not only shifted the way we facilitate interaction with other people but also actively reconfigure themselves in response to human stimuli.  Following in the wake of interactive experimentation, Sentient Matter, the idea that matter embodies the capacity to perceive and respond to stimuli, attempts to engage in a challenging arena that few architects and architectural researchers have ventured into. In particular, the creation and simulation of emotive types of interaction between the architectural environment and its inhabitants.

This ambition is made possible by the collaboration of multiple disciplines. Cybernetics, specifically the legacy of Pask’s conversation theory, inspires this thesis with the question of why emotion is needed in facilitating human–architecture communication;  emotion appraisal theory(P.Desmet) within psychology supports the feasibility of architectural environment to elicit emotional changes on its participant as well as the possibility of generating a next-step response by having their emotive behaviors observed; and, movement notation systems, especially Laban Movement Analysis (movement rating scale system), helps to understand  how emotions can be identified by motion elements that signify emotive behaviour. Through the process of decomposing movement into several qualitative and quantitative factors such as velocity, openness, and smoothness, emotions embodied in motion can be detected and even manipulated by altering those movement factors. Moreover, with the employment of a Kinect sensor, live performance can be analyzed in real time. 

Based on the above research and inspired by the Kinetic sculptures of Margolin, the final product of the thesis is the development a prototype that translates human movements that are expressive of emotion into continuous surface transformations making evident how such emotive states might be transcoded into architectural form. In this process, four typical emotive architectural expressions—joy, anger, excited, and sadness—are researched. This thesis also documents three virtual scenarios to examine the effect of this interactive system. Different contexts, kinetic types, and behavioral strategies are presented in order to explore their potential applications.

Sentient Matter outlines a framework of syntheses which is built upon the convergence of embedded computation (intelligence) and physical counterpart (kinetics). In the entire process, it considers people's participation as materials that fuel the generation of legible emotional behaviors within an architectural environment. Consequently, there is potential for an architectural learning capacity coupled with an evolving data library of human behavioral knowledge. This opens doors for futuristic designs where the paradigm shifts from “What is that building?” to “What is that building doing?”

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Philip Beesley, University of Waterloo

Rick Andrighetti, University of Waterloo

Ila Berman, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Tom Bessai , Denergi Bessai Studio Architecture and University of Toronto
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Thursday, September 17, 2015              7:30PM          ARC 3003 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Edwina Chen 

Of the thesis entitled: 

LIBRARY PLUS+
Towards the Self-Curation of Healthcare
 

Abstract:

Our heavily populated world is facing exponentially increasing healthcare demands that challenge existing healthcare infrastructure. Struggling to respond to the rapidly changing spatial needs of healthcare, the architecture of healthcare facilities, undergo frequent cycles of building renovation, reconfiguration and expansion. The relevant financial stress and resource expenditure has impelled both publicly and privately funded healthcare institutions to seek the most effective and cost effective ways to deliver quality healthcare results. However, these current resolutions such as facility focus on outpatient services and decentralization of clinical functions, imply a certain shortsighted view that architecture’s only role in healthcare is the facilitation of medical procedures.
 
Whether on the individual or collective level, healthcare is a continuous and comprehensive event that extends far beyond medical procedures that are predominately reactive in nature. Such is architecture that is capable of contributing to successful healthcare results, by providing a variety of other spatial functions and conditions. With the noticeably growing value of preventative healthcare and interest in the self-curation of healthcare, this thesis intends to redefine the traditional role of architecture in healthcare by exploring the possibility that, healthcare and the public library can be effectively integrated through architecture. By spatially conditioning the combined access and experience of diagnosis, consultation, awareness education and anticipatory data collection, architecture can become the means to maximize the potential of preventative healthcare, and proactively improve the overall health of a population.
 
Using Brooklyn Public Libraries’ Pacific Branch as an opportunity of investigation, this thesis first examines the needs and trends of both healthcare and the public library, to align their mutual interests as institutions and as building types. An unconventional program and a list of qualitative criteria are then created as the basis of a design proposal, which attempts to resolve these two apparently incompatible functions.
 
Finally, a theoretical analysis of the proposed library renovation with added healthcare functions seems to confirm the prospect of this hybrid architecture as an appropriate strategy to begin resolving current and future healthcare challenges.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Adrian Blackwell, University of Waterloo

Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo

Matthew Spremulli, MIT

 
External Reader:
Patrick Spear
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Tuesday, October 13, 2015              5:00PM          Musagetes Library

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Stephanie Fleming

Of the thesis entitled: Buildings and Wind: A Software-Based Design Methodology

Abstract:

There is a reciprocal relationship between wind and buildings, as they each affect the other. Building form affects wind by altering its speed and flow patterns, and can be used to create desirable wind conditions around the building. Wind, in turn, exerts load on the building, which can be reduced with aerodynamic forms and resisted with structural systems. This establishes a relationship between wind conditions, the building form that creates these wind conditions, and the structure that stabilizes the form against these wind conditions.
 
This relationship is investigated through the development of a design methodology that allows architects to consider, in the early design stages, how wind and buildings affect each other. The thesis does not serve to propose a building; rather, it will use a building as a means for developing this method. The method consists of a pairing of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software and finite element analysis (FEA) software. While this pairing has not been widely explored within the context of architectural design, the combined use of these software programs allows architects to integrate wind engineering considerations into their current architectural practices, without having to acquire extensive engineering knowledge. Software also provides architects with a means of quickly testing multiple design iterations in relation to these engineering considerations, because the software can perform engineering calculations or simulations much faster than if the architect were to learn and perform these calculations themselves.
 
For each building design iteration, CFD software is used to simulate the speeds and patterns of wind flow around the initial building form design. This tests the appropriateness of the wind conditions for the exterior programs that must be accommodated around the building. The speed with which these results are provided allows the architect to refine and re-test many iterations of their design until the building form creates the desired wind conditions. The CFD software is then used to evaluate the aerodynamics of the building form by providing information about the wind pressure that is exerted on each building face. The architect can change the building form to reduce the wind pressure acting on it, and then re-test the form with the CFD software to ensure that improved aerodynamics have been achieved without compromising the surrounding wind conditions. Then, the wind pressure information that is provided by the CFD software is input into the FEA software to predict how the building will react to combined wind and gravity loading. This information informs the schematic design of the building’s structural system, which is developed through another iterative process using the FEA software. 
 
The production of accurate wind and structural data is not the goal of this thesis, since accurate results are not currently available due to software limitations. Instead, this thesis seeks to develop a design method that will increase in accuracy as CFD and FEA software programs continue to be improved. In the future, CFD and FEA software programmers could potentially draw from this method to create programs that can be used together, to allow architects to consider wind as a generator of architectural form within a streamlined, software-based workflow.
 

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Elizabeth English, University of Waterloo

Lloyd Hunt, University of Waterloo

Matthew Spremulli, MIT

 
External Reader:
Dr. Thomas Mara, University of Western Ontario
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Thursday, October 15, 2015              6:00PM          ARC 2026 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Nada Ibrahim Nafeh

Of the thesis entitled: [in]formal Pattern Language | A guide to Handmade Improvitecture© in Cairo

Abstract:

The thesis takes place in Cairo, a city governed by extreme informality with 64% of the population living in [in]formal settlements. Cairo's informality transcends, however, the boundaries of these areas and manifests itself daily in spatial and temporal appropriations by community members taking charge; improvising their way through the battle for resources and social justice, and claiming their "right to the city."
 
In contrast to many misconceptions, [in]formal settlements in Cairo don't depict the typical characteristics of slums and respond to the needs of the lower-middle class. The uncontrolled expansion of informal settlements on scarce agricultural land in Egypt constitutes a nation-wide environmental and self-sufficiency problem. Moreover, it triggers the following issues: lack of open green space, insufficient infrastructure, accessibility and garbage accumulation. Forced eviction and relocation of [in]formal communities, undertaken by the government, result in their further marginalization, loss of vitality and lack of communal responsibility.
 
In this context, where the [in]formal has become mainstream, the thesis raises the following questions: How can the [in]formal be  redefined? What is the role of the architect in self-organized communities? What are the tools to optimize current and future informal growth, while empowering communities and celebrating their improvisation?
 
The thesis introduces the term Improvitecture© (improvisation + improvement + architecture) as a catalyst for development and the architecture from, and for, informality. Improvitecture redefines traditional borders between architect and community member, planned and improvised, and, finally, formal and informal. Inspired by Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language, and through the case study of Ard El Lewa, the thesis proposes a process and an [in]formal Pattern Language manual, which serves as a guide to improve [in]formal areas and embed productive green spaces, sustainability and ownership in the resident's daily life. Within the framework of an open-source website, a workshop with children and an exhibition on site, community members, architecture students and experts collaboratively broke down the complex physical reality of informal settlements and their urban narratives into 101 patterns. Patterns were then analysed and combined with a set of tools and in-situ design solutions, which optimize them and allow for a more sustainable built environment. To further document and compile patterns for the manual, the wider community is encouraged to take part in this on-going open process by completing a pattern template and/or posting geo-tagged images of patterns to the website, which will then appear on an interactive map and a catalogue that communicate the identify of [in]formal areas. For further details on the [in]formal Pattern Language initiative, visit www.informalpatternlanguage.com.  

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Mona El Khafif, University of Waterloo

Adrian Blackwell, University of Waterloo

Magda Mostafa, The American University in Cairo

 
External Reader:
Dr. Luna Khirfan,  School of Planning University of Waterloo
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Friday, October 23, 2015              12:00PM          ARC 2026 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences

 

Tahoora Alimohammadi

Of the thesis entitled: Urban Design and Development of a Public Space at the City of Kitchener’s Intermodal Transit Hub

Abstract:

This thesis uses a case study approach at the proposed Transit Hub for the City of Kitchener to focus on opportunities for a high quality public space/square to better integrate a new LRT line and a new GO/VIA rail station into the surrounding city. The conceptual framework of this thesis is to create a public space at Kitchener transit hub in order to transform the space into a new interface where people can experience a fulfilling urban life. This design proposal seeks to create an intimate relationship between public life, infrastructure and people. In addition, this proposal envisions a series of diagrams of the Edward T. Hall’s Proxemics strategy, a non-contact communication, to experiment with the adequacy of all the defined spaces.

Within the city of Kitchener, much has already been done to establish the presence of urban design at the human scale, to integrate contemporary ideas into the design of buildings, and to enhance historic natural retreats like Victoria Park. However, little has been done to integrate the expanded opportunities for new design of work and living opportunities in the city center with the proposal of a new intermodal transit hub in the heart of that growing downtown core.
 
The combination of both of those aspects will look at how to create a healthy, people-oriented public environment that will also transfer people from one mode of transit to another. With the surrounding new mixed-use developments and the heritage architecture of Kitchener’s industrial past, the case study demonstrates the typical situation facing most urban centres undertaking transit expansion in Ontario.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo

Terri Boake, University of Waterloo

Reema Masri, Masri O Inc. Architects

 
External Reader:
Patrick Simmons, Robertson Simmons Architects Inc.
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Thursday, November 26, 2015              1:30PM          ARC 2003 (Photo Studio) 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

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Hyunjoon Yang

Of the thesis entitled: The Making of Chang-Shin District : A Study in Top-Down and Bottom-Up Urban Development

Abstract:

This thesis studies the process of urban development as a mass phenomenon involving top-down and bottom-up paradigms, which work as a whole to achieve distinct characteristics seen in urban neighbourhoods. In this study, the top-down paradigm describes the ways in which the governing authorities frame a neighbourhood’s development by controlling major urban factors affecting the overall city, whereas the bottom-up paradigm describes the ways in which individuals collectively build up their own neighbourhood through emergent patterns resulting from the decisions of each resident. In the final analysis, the workings of top-down and bottom-up urban development can be described as a cooperative process, where the on-going dialogue between the two paradigms allow them to work synergistically.

As a key place of industry and commerce throughout Seoul’s history, Chang-Shin has maintained its historical and cultural characteristics even in the midst of the powerful forces of modernization that have changed the face of the city as a whole during the twentieth century. Remarking on the district’s unique characteristics and its complex urban structure, this thesis probes around three questions: how did the district come to be? How does it function now? And how could the existing urban characteristics be effectively utilized to enrich the urban life in the district?

The intent behind the thesis is to analyze the rich and intricate urban phenomena observed in Chang-Shin, and further, to propose a design strategy that could improve the use of the district as a whole through working with local, small-scale components within the existing urban environment. The design proposal distinctly focuses on public space as a key urban element where both the urban characteristics and social functions of the district are most strongly manifested, highlighting the advantages of the bottom-up paradigm in fostering the cultural character of a given space, as well as those of the top-down paradigm in providing overall assessments of the district, out of which more substantial levels of resources and commitments can then be directed and focused. At a time when the cultural authenticity of Seoul’s urban environment has diminished drastically, current management of Chang-Shin could lead either to the gain or loss of the meaningful cultural heritage in the city.
 

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Rick Andrighetti, University of Waterloo

Adrian Blackwell, University of Waterloo

Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Donald Chong, Williamson Chong Architects
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Monday, December 7, 2015              2:30PM          ARC 2026 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

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Yasir Amr

Of the thesis entitled: Expanded Enclosure : Utilizing Conditioned Micro-Climates and Spaces to Develop Gradated Envelopes

Abstract:

Architecture is more often than not in the habit of creating spaces separated by impermeable partitions that give occupants a high level of control - whether it is directed at achieving shelter, privacy, etc.... While this does address basic human needs, it tends to lead to structures with subdivided interiors. Such a system is useful in programs that call for a high degree of control with regards to privacy and climatic control, however in certain programs, this can result in a loss of singularity in the design as well as a loss of connectivity between key elements and moments in the architecture.

Alternatively, some architects have explored the notion of an architecture that is laid out in an open gradated condition as opposed to being defined by strict barriers. Such a proposal opens up the possibility for a program that is transparent and free to fluctuate under certain conditions. Conversely, it loses the privacy and control provided by a typical partitioned and enclosed design.

This thesis proposes that architecture does not need to be solely laid out in either subdivided spaces or open gradated ones. Instead it puts forth the possibility that architecture can be enriched by making a careful amalgamation of both autonomous zones that develop key independent moments alongside fluid spaces that lend to the creation of continuous transitions and gradated program. Each system has its merits and disadvantages, and thus each can be carefully applied to programmatic elements that call for one over the other. This provides continual transitions and shifting programmatic potential, simultaneously transforming areas of high control from blocked off rooms to key architectural moments emphasized by a sudden degree of separation in an otherwise fluid system. To help ‘dissolve the wall’ in fluid spaces, the qualities normally hidden in wall space such as systems and insulation are translated into the habitable space by means of microclimatic augmentation.

These ideas are further explored vis-a-vis a design proposal of a hypothetical a library based in Amman, Jordan that encompasses both kinds of spaces. Modern library programs extend from traditional book storage to include public activity (such as art galleries and event spaces) as well as elements that require climatic control or privacy (such as rare book rooms and digital media centers). This makes it a suitable program for exploration of both kinds of spatial layouts, and the site’s predictable geo-climatic qualities lend to a greater degree of experimentation in layouts and climatic enhancement of spaces.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo

Rick Andrighetti, University of Waterloo

John Straube, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Dieter Janssen, DJA
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Monday, December 14, 2015              10:30AM          ARC 2026 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

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Tristan van Leur

Of the thesis entitled: Spacebook: Networked Public Places in the Personalized Metropolis

Abstract:

Today’s society is more connected than ever; we have constant access to information, to communication, and to various forms of social media. Ubiquitous mobile computing has significantly changed the public realm in a way that cannot be ignored. Socializing no longer relies on face-to-face interaction, and instead, vast quantities of people’s social lives unfold online via virtual platforms such as Facebook, WeChat, or Instagram. These virtual spaces have joined parks, plazas, and streets as spaces of public communication and interaction. However, these spaces create new questions of privatization and segregation, and may erode the public sphere as much as they extend it. Online discourse can be controlled and customized, allowing citizens to voluntarily segregate themselves with people to whom they are similar. This thesis suggests that physical public space needs to function as spaces that bring people of difference together: a role that is crucial to the health of our multicultural metropolises. Spacebook: Networked Public Places in the Personalized Metropolis embraces information technologies as public resources, and suggests a set of urban public space interventions that use interactive and sentient technologies to locate the network in physical spaces. As an attempt to counteract the segregation and privatization of the public sphere, these new spaces encourage greater user participation and agency in public space.

In this research, two components of the public sphere were examined: virtual networks and physical public spaces. Physical public spaces were discovered as having been privatized through a number of policies of ownership and regulation. Virtual social networks were examined at two scales. The first explores these networks at the scale of the individual; in an attempt to understand the spatial implications of social networks, the second part explores the networks at the scale of the metropolis. This research proposes that we have produced a new condition, where the city is augmented and expanded by the individual’s networks, forming a personalized metropolis.

Spacebook proposes a set of public spaces, called Networked Public Places, which localize the global networks, and turn them into an interactive collective experience. NPPs are a set of interfaces operating at the border between online and physical public spaces. NPPs do not completely transform the public realm, but instead offer provocations for a way that architecture and information technologies can come together to benefit the public sphere. By embracing information as a public resource and asking what should (and can) be shared, Spacebook suggests a beginning of a more participatory and open public realm.

The examining committee is as follows:                     
 

Co-Supervisors:

Mona El Khafif, University of Waterloo

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterlo

 

Committee Member:

Ila Berman, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:

Jordan Geiger, University of Buffalo 

The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Monday, December 14, 2015              1:00PM          
BRIDGE Centre for Architecture + Design - 37 Main St, Cambridge

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

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Arturo Enrique Morales Rivera

Of the thesis entitled: Second Home

Abstract:

This thesis proposes the design of a socially-driven building and public space located in a suburban neighborhood in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico. The goal of the project is to provide an environment that assists in the prevention of children entering the world of drug-related violence by encouraging the creation of good holding environments within the community. This element is currently missing from the community as these suburban developments were initially conceived as supporting infrastructure to the newly established light industry factories, colloquially referred to as maquiladoras. This in turn was part of a larger strategy by the government to reactivate the economy and employment in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

These neighborhoods have been home to rising levels of violence and crime over the last two decades. This affirmed historical patterns that saw the working class relegated to the outer-limits of the city, acting as spectators in the process of its evolution and facing difficult conditions, while maintaining minimum-wage jobs in order to support their houses.

The incidence of violence in these neighborhoods does not relate directly to conditions of poverty, but to the lack of institutions that can assist in the healthy development of children, a situation that local gangs easily take advantage of as these low-scale criminal organizations are usually a stepping stone into the world of drug-related violence. Drug cartels have increasingly begun to recruit children in order to restore loses suffered by the war against drugs that the mexican government implemented in 2006.

The final design reflects the complex nature of the problem, and is informed by both the local history and development of the current situation as well as choices of materials, proper distribution of space, and sustainable strategies required by the geographic region in which its located. 

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo

Rick Haldenby, University of Waterloo

Robert Jan Van Pelt, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Scott Sorli
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Tuesday, December 15, 2015              9:30AM          ARC 2026

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

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Rose Linseman

Of the thesis entitled: Imperfect Heart

Abstract:

A personal inquiry and collection of beautiful ruin in an imperfect architectural world.
 
Herein lies a personal journey into abandoned ruin, born out of a curiosity to see what comes of viewing architecture in its darkest hours. This fascination with abandoned architectural spaces brings forth more than a visual sense of decay, it emulates an essence of another world, charged with emotion.
 
This human intrigue, leads to a photographical journey of exploration into ruin from different viewpoints, ultimately focusing on the connection between the individual and home as ruin becomes the symbiotic thread between the two. It is primarily within these photographs that this thesis becomes a personification of the ruined home of an imperfect individual.
 
The personal journey is put forth in three stages. Three books portray different perspectives to exploring ruin, each one delving deeper into an onslaught of ruin in time. The ruin begins by breaking into the world of ruin through views and definitions from the perspective of an outsider in Seeing Ruin (Book 1). The journey into ruin continues in Creating Ruin (Book 2) by an outsider's contrivance of ruin in an imaginary world of ruin, exploring such themes as age, texture, time and loss. Lastly Living Ruin (Book 3) is explored by an insider, feeling ruin and living within it.

This thesis opposes the negative notion of ruin inherent in its dictionary definition. In searching for the light within ruin, this inquiry seeks a place and use for ruin within the world of architecture. This depiction strives to show the beauty of ruin, the light in darkness. It strives for a discussion of a darker side, which is normally withheld among its viewers.
 
Creating art and architecture in part from failure imbues the palpable reality of life within the human household.  

This journey is one view of a time filled with ruin, in one person's world.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Dereck Revington, University of Waterloo

Rick Haldenby, University of Waterloo

Donald McKay, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Ginger Sorbara
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Tuesday, December 15, 2015              5:00PM          ARC 2026

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

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Katherine Jackson

Of the thesis entitled: House(Craft) : Mobile Housing for a New Generation

Abstract:

We have been called the “entitled” generation. We want to be your boss before we’ve stepped through the door.  We grew up in the Internet Age; being told we were special, unique, and capable of anything we wanted.  We are between 20 and 30 years old, highly educated and under-employed.  We want to buy houses but we can’t afford them. We are the millennials.

The current housing market is out of reach for first time home buyers. Beyond the price tag, it is not well suited to the mobility of a millennial lifestyle. The design, aggregation, and mobility of dwellings is a reflection of the cultural circumstances in which they are built. The suburbs were built for a different generation.  The last generation was financially able to commute, and was willing to sacrifice time in order to afford a large suburban home.  The millennials face a different cultural context.  Millennials would rather live smaller and more economically in order to live closer to where they work, study, and play.  Also, the desire to remain in a viable job market, or to advance their education, requires millennials to relocate frequently. Therefore, the investment in a static house is further delayed due to the requirement to “settle down”. According to a survey by Fanny-Mae 90% of millennials still do aspire to own a house.[1] However a house suited to millennials will differ from its suburban predecessors. 

Millennials would rather relocate than commute and herein lies an opportunity. Due to the shifting needs of millennials – primarily economy, mobility and proximity to an urban center, a small, urban, mobile dwelling could better provide access to home ownership. Micro houses could slowly take over unoccupied territories such as those which were previously occupied by the cars of the commuter generation. Surface parking lots could be transformed to create house-parking lots resulting in a denser and more vibrant urban fabric. 

Municipal laws around mobile, micro dwellings are complex and highly regional. From their introduction, prefabricated mobile dwellings have been considered a blight due to their relationship to poverty.  City zoning officials have relegated them to the edge of the city through exclusionary zoning laws. An increasing number of urban squatters in mobile “tiny houses” are putting pressure on these laws. These early adapters represent a growing desire for a new housing typology and relationship to the city.

My thesis explores the opportunities provided by this concept of ownership and mobility.  Individual units could become highly tuned to the person(s) occupying them – morphing each unit into an indispensable platform from which users occupy a city. This new concept of home would allow an increasingly mobile population to resituate with ease – finally reconstituting home with our wandering lifestyle.
 
[1] . Fannie Mae, Fannie Mae National Housing Survey(tm): Millennials Look to Income Improvements as Key to Unlocking Homeownership, report, August 2015, accessed November 18, 2015.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo

Ali Fard, University of Waterloo

Matthew Spremulli

 
External Reader:
Jason Halter, Wonder Inc.
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Wednesday, December 16, 2015              10:00AM          ARC 1001 – Cummings Lecture Theatre 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

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Tegan Maccari

Of the thesis entitled: REZONE AND REURBANIZE : Toronto’s Vulnerable Vernacular Urban Main Streets and Maintaining the City’s Local Culture

Abstract:

It is the position of this thesis that the large scale condominium (condo) market in the City of Toronto is reinforcing the eradication of Toronto’s vernacular fabric. There is a growing sense that this is leading to the loss of the unique feeling of city-ness within Toronto, especially when it comes to the streetscape and culture within the main streets of the City.  This thesis will focus on exploring alternatives to the existing and growing condominium typology in Toronto that is eradicating the small grain vernacular fabric along the main streets of the City and answer the question: How can we prevent the large scale takeover of Toronto’s evolved vernacular fabric, while still providing a means of growth and intensification of urban land use and building density without sacrificing the distinctive street culture of that area?

Similar to Christopher Alexander’s findings of identifying patterns in The Timeless way of Building and A Pattern Language, I wish to identify a way to create better community, diverse streetscapes, and a more typologically differentiated densification, enabling higher quality architectural interventions. Toronto’s existing architectural vernacular types will be examined and a more diversified network of possibilities and solutions will be established than is presently offered by the development industry. The current one-size-fits-all approach of densification detracts from the streetscape and culture of the neighbourhoods they are put in and is cause for a disconnect between the existing neighbourhood fabric and the new. This thesis will emphasize the importance of learning from existing fabric and conditions in an effort to provide the growing city with a means for intensification without getting rid of the qualities of the city that makes it Toronto.

This thesis has five sections providing evidence, research and data to support the need for a new, neighbourhood-centric residential typology that will provide the means for city-wide intensification. The purpose of the developed design strategy is to illustrate a design approach that sets out be a neighbourhood-centric intensification carrier, whose design principles can be used as a guideline for further development in other neighbourhoods within the city. The main goal is to better design residential types according to a set of guidelines that will cohesively bring the culture of that area together with a means for intensification and growth. Ultimately, the thesis looks to create a manual or list of guidelines for future intensification that can be easily translated and applied all over the city.

The examining committee is as follows:                     

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo

Terri Boake, University of Waterloo

Rick Andrighetti, University of Waterloo

 
External Reader:
Mark Sterling, Acronym Urban Design and Planning
 
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  


Wednesday, December 16, 2015              10:00AM          ARC 2026 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Back to defences