Notice of M.Arch. Thesis Defence (Spring 2014)

Michael Bootsma


Of the thesis entitled: The City Delimited

Abstract:

Positioning itself as an investigation into the affective capacity of transport, this thesis argues that the potential of a city is both composed and revealed through its systems of movement, contending that the sensorial and expressive qualities of a city’s transit govern how its citizens perceive and access the scope of experiences available to them.  Essays on movement and identity, the delimitation of the city, immobility, adaptation, and eccentricities, move in parallel with meditations on departures, arrivals, and the time of transit toward a mandate for an amplification of motion and energy.


The thesis traces a route from Ontario through London, Rome, and northern Europe before returning to Toronto only to founder in the region’s gridlock.  To free the city’s constricted potential, a new passenger rail line running from Pearson Airport, through Toronto on the Canadian Pacific Rail corridor north of Dupont Road, to the site of Pickering’s future international airport is proposed.


The key interchange of the new line, Lake Iroquois Station, is developed in detail, feeding on an intense overlap of historic and contemporary infrastructures.  Located just south of the historic First Nations trading trail of Davenport Road at Dupont and Spadina, the station gathers the primary midtown electrical corridor, extensions of the Bathurst and Spadina streetcar lines, the existing University/Spadina subway, and expansions of the city’s cycling network, knotting them together with regional passenger rail in order to transport the city and its imagination.
 
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Dereck Revington, University of Waterloo

Ryszard Sliwka, University of Waterloo

Anne Bordeleau, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:                       

Taymoore Balbaa, Ryerson University       

 

                   

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

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014                    4:30PM           Architecture Main Lecture Theatre

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

Back to defences



Meredith Vaga



Of the thesis entitled: Divided Cities & the In-Between

Abstract:

All cities set up a condition of disjunction as they are inherently manmade ‘built’ places separate from the natural wilderness they abut.  The cities that emerge over time are then places held in tension between the kinetic and static forces of civilization, nature, people, ownership and infrastructure.  These conflicting pieces manifest as division within the city.  The division can be physically seen in specific gaps in the physical infrastructure: urban slips that act as thresholds for a city by gathering and revealing the in/visible dueling qualities, and can ultimately prove to be important spaces and cultural magnets for the city. 

The analysis is centered on three specific slips within three northern European cities: the South Bridge in Edinburgh, the Charles Bridge in Prague and the Berlin Wall.  Looking from the perspective of both the physical, visible infrastructure and the unconscious, invisible cultural realm, these architectural objects are then charted through historical, literary, cartographic and urban analyses to come to an understanding of both the specific ‘characters’ or ‘spirits of place’ and the broad predisposition for division within cities.

 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Tracey Winton, University of Waterloo

Terri Boake, University of Waterloo

Rick Haldenby, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

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:  

Thursday, May 8, 2014             11:00AM          Architecture Main Lecture Theatre

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

 

Back to defences

 

Timothy Wat


Of the thesis entitled: Moments of Spiritual Engagement: a search for awareness of life and architecture

Abstract:

In my encounter of Peter Zumthor’s Seniors’ Home and Kolumba Museum, I found architecture to affect well-being within the daily course of life. I saw the Seniors' Home contribute to the dwelling of the entire being of the elderly residents within the challenging yet hopeful season of life they face in aging, while at Kolumba Museum. I encountered an experience of aesthetic embodying meaningful knowledge that addressed not only my mind but also my heart. Centered on the inherent operative dimensions of aesthetic at these two buildings—as an intervention, as a material reality, as an image, and as something we are positioned in and move in—and deepened by aesthetic philosophy and spiritual readings, I seek for an awareness of the way architectural decisions influence the human journey through space and time, and for principles and considerations that supplied and realized this architecture to be vitally contributive. The thesis is a meditation on the vitality of the medium, searching for a relevance that can justify architecture not as mere shelter that barely satisfies nor as inessential excess, but as an efficacious act that can satisfy the human being who encounters it and truly improve well-being in its existing. The thesis posits that architecture is fundamentally a craft and an act of giving a gift to the other. Its created existence in space and time is capable of producing lasting good in the world, if the design of architecture, through love, is primarily concerned about its affect on the other and the world rather than its object.

 
The examining committee is as follows:

Co-Supervisors:

Robert Jan Van Pelt, University of Waterloo

Dereck Revington, University of Waterloo

 

Committee Member:

Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader

Arriz Hassam, arriz+co

 

                            

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

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Friday June 6, 2014                 9:30AM           ARC 2026

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

 

Back to defences

 

Anna-Joy Veenstra



Of the thesis entitled: Relinquish to Dust: A Centre for (w)Resting Grief in Toronto’s Community

Abstract:
 

Currently, the spaces designated for death in the city of Toronto are separated from other programmes — in states that range from neglected, full, inactive or marginalized — while any new sites are pushed to the outskirts. The decrease in time provided to grieve and in places to face the mystery of death means Toronto residents are losing their connections to the sacred. The proposal aims to embrace grief in order to integrate this shadow of death into the urban fabric and everyday life of the Toronto community. Without this integration, loss, grief and death will remain on the periphery, increasing the danger of creating a city without memory — a city in denial of both death and its citizens’ mortality.

So how can we acknowledge and address grieving, both as individuals and as a city?

How can we, as a community within the city, grieve together?

How can we make space for grief in the city?

Seeking to implement a new vision for Toronto, this thesis project looks for ways to incorporate the cycle of life, death and rebirth into the city, allowing grief to be part of the urban reality. Locating a new centre for grief on the lakefront, the project learns from a variety of people, built works, data, sketches and books that range in reference from psychology and anthropology to sociology and architecture. All these disciplines are appropriated in order to inform the creation of a new centre that makes room for grief in an individual’s life, a community and the city.

The thesis proposes “A Centre for (w)Resting Grief” that can be employed as a restorative, liberating, learning and socially-cohesive medium to facilitate and embrace each other’s life-long search for meaning after loss through grief work. The “Centre” designates a place for grief in the heart of urban Toronto. “Wresting Grief” describes the intention to regain the proper position of grief as a natural process in our lives. “Resting Grief” refers to then being able to confront and be at peace with loss in our contemporary society.

 
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Anne Bordeleau, University of Waterloo

Rick Andrighetti, University of Waterloo

Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

William Woodworth

 



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

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Thursday June 12, 2014                       6:00PM           ARC 2026

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

 

Back to defences

 

Mark Zupan


Of the thesis entitled: Folly and Fire: a space of play in the Black Rock Desert

Abstract:

In Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, there is a city that appears for one week each year and then vanishes, leaving no trace of its existence except ruts in the dusty clay.  The inhospitable, barren salt flat that the city is built upon is fraught with turbulent dust storms and scorching temperatures.  But this does not stop participants from gathering there to build Black Rock City in order to host the Burning Man festival.   Now in its twenty-eighth year, the festival is constructed and demolished by 70,000 people coming from around the globe to participate in this extraordinary ritual.
 
Burning Man is a space of play that defies the stifling mores of Western civilization, and acts as a catalyst for an outpouring of creative collaboration.  I attended the festival and its affiliated local events as a participant observer to document the stories that are shaping the architecture of this festival tradition.  Through my research I learned about the role of play in fostering innate, creative instincts, and discovered the cathartic value of building and burning for those who are suffering.  Burning Man’s creative rituals invite the redefinition of our modern myths, and embody new narratives in their architecture.  This thesis tells the story of how I came to know a more compassionate, loving approach to making architecture through the festival and its community.
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Elizabeth English, University of Waterloo

Robert Jan Van Pelt, University of Waterloo

Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

William Woodworth

 

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

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Tuesday June 17, 2014                    2:00PM                        Offsite Location: 142 Blair Rd, Cambridge

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

Back to defences

 

James Usas


Of the thesis entitled: ANIMA ÜRBEM

Abstract:

 In 1916 the macrocosmic tensions of global conflict became focused on the microcosm of Berlin, Ontario.  The nationalistic turmoil of the First World War incited a series of destructive events resulting in a schism within the flourishing industrial community and pitting ethnic Germans against the loyalist British.  The outcome of this internal conflict would see one identity forfeited for another, the name Berlin for that of Kitchener.

Over the next century, Kitchener’s downtown succumbed to a series of massive urban fires perforating the dense fabric of the city with echoing voids of collective amnesia.

The historic fires of Berlin/Kitchener are the backdrop of the thesis, with two sites (the Foundation & Schneider’s Creek) forming the stage upon which a shamanic transformation is enacted through an intuitive assembly of historical narrative, photography, archival film, newspaper articles and psychogeographical research, illuminating a liminal plane of personal and collective memories.

Poetically inspired by the late Andrei Tarkovsky’s STALKER, the likenesses of the film’s primary characters have been composited into a series of montage images that stand-in for the author’s perspective while describing a mythic journey through the investigated sites, further blurring the boundary between history and memory, fact and fiction.

Summoned by The Call, the Wanderer leaves the common world and travels into the bowels of the city, a fantastic subterranean underworld of shape-shifting humans, shadow figures and mythical beings.  Like the stalker of Tarkovsky’s film, the Wanderer must navigate a shifting labyrinth of matter and memory to reach his final destination and reconcile with the fires of history.  Only by answering memory’s Call can the Wanderer be reborn from the canal of the World Womb.

Part visual essay and part film treatment, ANIMA URBEM is an imagistic/textual document narrating a hallucinogenic unfolding of occurrences throughout the history of Berlin/Kitchener, the personal experiences of the author and a poetic refrain within the memory  weave, original film House of the Gathering.

Link: http://www.nsi-canada.ca/2014/04/house-of-the-gathering/

 
The examining committee is as follows:


 

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Dereck Revington, University of Waterloo

Donald McKay, University of Waterloo                                                Robert Jan Van Pelt, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

David Lieberman, University of Toronto

 



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

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Thursday June 26, 2014           9:30AM                       ARC 1001 – Main Lecture Theatre

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

Back to defences

 

Anam Khan

Of the thesis entitled: [un] Shaded Territories: a design for women empowerment in rural Pakistan

Abstract:

The separation between Pakistan and India in 1947 was a direct result of the struggle between two different religious groups in the region; Hindus, and Muslims. Of all the provinces split, Punjab was the only one province that was split between the two nations. This division caused one of the biggest migrations in history, affecting about 10 million people. People left behind their homes, their lives,  and beloved religious buildings to start fresh in a new, unknown land. This intermingling of people at the time of the partition, resulted in a displaced variety of cultural and religious practices.
 
To this day, Punjab’s rural population suffers from caste system marriages, female infanticide, and oppression of women, including a lack of educational opportunities for females. Many rural families believe that if their women are educated, social risk can rise. In some cases, these ancient cultural traditions are mistakenly thought to be religious obligations.
 
77.1% of Kasur district’s population lives in rural areas and 47.64% of Kasur’s population is female. Of the rural female population, only 32.7% are literate, compared to 55.2% of the males. More than half of the female population in Kasur is thus deprived of an education as a result, and many are married at a young age with expectations to start a family. These young women cannot read or write the language they speak, and many become victims of domestic violence.
 
A design for a skill development institution is suggested to address the social, cultural and economical challenges faced by the impoverished female population of rural Punjab, Pakistan. The proposal is situated in the town of Kasur with a program aimed at teaching independence.
 
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Rick Haldenby, University of Waterloo

Ryszard Sliwka, University of Waterloo

Tammy Gaber, Laurentian University

 

External Reader:

Janna Levitt, Levitt Goodman Architects 

 


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

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Monday July 21, 2014              6:00PM                                   ARC 2026

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

Back to defences

 

Amanda Motyer


Of the thesis entitled: My Other Eyes that See, My Other Ears that Hear

Abstract:

Disability is a part of the human condition and has existed since the beginning of time, yet the vast majority of people with disabilities are still expected to live in a built environment designed for what society has designated as the human ‘norm’. This has created a built world that is actually contributing to disablement. The past twenty years has seen many positive changes in terms of removing physical barriers to those with disabilities, in particular allowing wheelchair users much better access to buildings and participation in society. However, wheelchair users only represent a fraction of people with disabilities. Current standards of accessible design address only the direct barriers to participation, and do not attempt to understand the ways in which impairments change how people experience and use space, or the social implications of disability. Negative attitudes towards disability are one of the causes of disablement in our society, and changing them needs to be part of the solution.

Architecture has been used for millennia as a means of communicating with the masses because our surroundings can shape our perceptions of the world and how we understand it. This thesis explores the origins and nature of both disability and the service dogs that accompany a number of those with disabilities, and proposes possible approaches for designing for service dogs and people with disabilities that use the power of architecture as a language to transform the societal constructs surrounding disability.

Working dogs of all varieties are increasingly present in our built environment, from detection dogs to therapy dogs and potentially even to cancer detection dogs in the near future, and service dogs are increasingly becoming a part of the lives of people with disabilities. Trained to mitigate the so-called ‘impairment effects’ of a variety of disabilities including autism and epilepsy, these special dogs make invisible disabilities visible. As such, they are a key part of a broader architectural strategy of inclusiveness that aims to accommodate and facilitate the dog-human partnership and normalize the existence of disability in our society.

The thesis culminates in the design of a new service dog training facility for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides in Oakville, Ontario. This national organization trains six different kinds of service dogs, and trains future service dog handlers along with their new dogs at their Oakville site. As a source of one of the most symbiotic partnerships between human and dog, the thesis seeks to demonstrate how through inclusive design a building can essentially eliminate the disablement imposed by society and change our perceptions of disability and the role that architecture can play in these issues.

The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Rick Haldenby, University of Waterloo

John McMinn, University of Waterloo                                               Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

Barbara Miszkiel, Stantec Architecture     

 

                            

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

The Defence Examination will take place:   

Monday July 14, 2014              5:00PM                               ARC 2008

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

Back to defences

 

 

Henry Murdock


Of the thesis entitled: Constructing Our Environments: A Material Comparison

Abstract:

Our built environment is constantly adapting to changing factors: technology, the state of the economy, material resource availability, and, in turn, environmental conditions. The latter has gained notable importance in popular discourse, and especially in the architecture and construction professions. However, as much as we see terms such as “sustainability” and “green” in our everyday lives, government and industry are slow to take action investing in our future environment. Material resources in the building industry are worth investigating.
Timber, used as a structural material to compete with concrete and steel, brings more energy efficient and natural renewable resources to our growing cities. In order to provide a broader perspective of how we as a society use concrete, steel, and timber, I will compare the three building materials in a four part guideline: Environmental Performance, Ease of Manufacture, Organized Assembly, and Design Flexibility. Each section provides insight into how we shape these three materials. I argue, based on the rating evaluation, for the benefits, using cross-laminated timber in cities like Toronto.
 
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Donald McKay, University of Waterloo

John McMinn, University of Waterloo

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

David Dennis

 

 

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

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Monday July 28, 2014              9:30AM                                   Main Lecture Theatre

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

 

Back to defences

 

Pamela Cottrell

Of the thesis entitled: Evocative Infrastructure: An Urban Cave at Yonge-Eglinton Station

Abstract:

The cellar dreamer knows that the walls of the cellar are buried walls, that they are walls with a single casing, walls that have the entire earth behind them. And so the situation grows more dramatic, and fear becomes exaggerated.
-Gaston Bachelard
 
The transition below grade demarcates a portal into a different realm. Underground architecture calls for a unique approach to design. The thesis is interested in looking at underground architecture through a phenomenological approach: looking at the cultural perception of the underground, informed by both physiological and psychological motivators; as well as the cultural expectations and use of the underground in the metropolis. It seeks to answer the question: What defines an architecture which celebrates the conditions inherent in being underground? The downwards descent into the earth carries with it negative cultural associations which have plagued the construction of underground architecture in the past. Due to these negative associations, programs relegated to the underground city typically consist of places where people are not expected to dwell for long periods of time. While the negative associations can be difficult to overcome, there is also a certain magic to the underground found in its more positive associations. These include: fertility of the earth, protection offered by the cave, the advent of technology, and the possibility of a fantastical realm past the portal demarcated by the grade line. These positive affectations have begun to be exploited in more recent architectural precedents. As the underground network of transit stations has become more formally recognized as an important part of the urban realm, more investment is made in the design of these transit stations. The thesis project will explore the role of the underground in Toronto and its impact on its architecture through the design of a new Yonge-Eglinton Station at the intersection of the historic Yonge Subway line and the new Eglinton LRT. The thesis proposes a design which is beautiful for its melding of two dialectic pursuits: the pursuit of an evocative experience, and the pursuit of a functional construction: the urban cave.
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

John McMinn, University of Waterloo

Donald McKay, University of Waterloo

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

David Lieberman, University of Toronto   

 


 

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


The Defence Examination will take place:  

Wednesday August 6, 2014                    10:00AM                                 ARC Loft

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

 

Back to defences

 

Caitlin Perry

Of the thesis entitled: The Mountain and the Valley
                                 A Planning and Conservation Approach for the Annapolis Valley

Abstract:

The Annapolis Valley Region is home to a rich and varied landscape. Agriculture, historic sites, the Bay of Fundy Shore, and the inland forests are just some of the aspects that together make up this unique region. Yet this exquisite region is under threat from the dual challenges of depopulation and unconsidered development leading to the loss of its essential historical and environmental character. These are quintessential rural problems and feed off of one another in a vicious circle: environmental character decreases and makes a less pleasant place, so people leave for other regions; people leave for other regions and the financial resources of the region are reduced, so environmental character decreases; etc. Action needs to be taken to break such an escalating loop.

However, to develop effective strategies to combat these intertwined problems, the genius locus of the region must be better and more comprehensively understood. The methods described in the work propose an image bank and cartographic analysis to break apart the qualities of the region and enable an in-depth knowledge of its entirety. This information, presented in a consistent format, allows better informed decision making for the Annapolis Valley Region’s future which will allow its people to embrace its unique combination of circumstances. This new type of database will prepare the region to chart an alternate path and better deal with the issues facing the Annapolis Valley.

The proposed design scenarios utilize strategies developed around the genius locus of the region as a whole and for a set of specific case study sites. An approach of the type developed in this work is not only applicable to such individual scenarios or to the Annapolis Valley Region. It is a method that is adaptable to other regions around the world. The strategies presented are a starting point, able to be mixed, recombined, added to, and modified to address the wide range of rural situations. The commonality of rural regions in general is the great issues they face in an urban-dominated society; reconnection with genius locus will offer a path to overcoming these threats.

 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo

Rick Andrighetti, University of Waterloo

Mona El Khafif, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:                        

Michaela McLeod

 

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

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Thursday August 7, 2014                     10:00AM                                 ARC 2026

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

Back to defences

 

Claire Lubell



Of the thesis entitled: Johannesburg: the urban mediate

Abstract:

Object _ This thesis draws from the specific universality of Johannesburg to develop a theoretical framework that critically examines the opposing forces of its urbanization. In just 130 years the city of Johannesburg has in fact been many different cities. As the embodiment of rapidly shifting economic and cultural ideologies, each identity was expediently manifested, leaving little time for sedimentation. Built through accumulated juxtapositions, Johannesburg has continuously evaded categorization despite popular perception as a divided city. Throughout its history it has simultaneously embodied both normative and exceptional trends of urban development considered common to either the emerging city of the global south or the competitive city of the global north, but rarely both. And today, its unique cosmopolitanism reveals the need for theoretical frameworks which focus less on categorization and more on complexity.
 
Theory _ Like Johannesburg this thesis straddles popular approaches of urban study and uses a theoretical lens of mediation to position itself between aesthetic architectural research and territorial geographic research and frame urban forms as mediate spaces. Mediate spaces are the product of opposing forces of city building and subsequently become the site of contestation over those forces as well as the agent by which those forces evolve. The urban mediate, or device, is therefore the product, site, and agent of perpetual feedback between process and future state. This product is always unique for, though the opposition may be similar in diverse contexts, its mediation will be calibrated by the specificity of territory, economy and society. This research draws from Henri Lefebvre to frame the urban as a space of struggle between homogenizing global forces of ideology and individualizing local forces of everyday life and Frederic Jameson to understand mediation not as a midpoint but rather that which is produced through the unity of a relationship of oppositions, or a juxtaposition. By mobilizing a theory of mediation to inform a research methodology, this thesis frames Johannesburg as a differential totality rather than a neutral field of juxtaposed fragments, thereby exploring the convergence between these fragments rather than their divergence. This is a critical agenda in polarized cities.
 
Method _ This thesis examines primary oppositions of Johannesburg’s urbanization and the critical urban devices that have produced the city over time. These oppositions emerge from economic transitions on one hand, typical of cities of the global north, and cultural or demographic transitions on the other, typical of cities of the global south. The evolution of these transitions is illustrated through a periodization of the city’s development; from the discovery of gold to the colonial town, from the industrial city to the divided city, from the African metropolis to the world class region. Within each period a pair of urban devices are framed which both exemplify and subvert perceptions of Johannesburg’s apparently normative or exceptional development; the compound and grid, the township and tower, and the taxi rank and suburban complex. The re-calibrated periodization decentres apartheid as the primary analytical lens, which has generally led to research isolating Johannesburg as extreme and absurd, in order to integrate the city into broader urban discourse and challenge existing approaches to urban research and theory.
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor: 

Committee Members: 
   

Adrian Blackwell, University of Waterloo

Mona El Khafif, University of Waterloo

Robert Jan Van Pelt, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

Kanishka Goonewardena, University of Toronto   

 




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


The Defence Examination will take place:  

Thursday August 7, 2014                     3:00 P.M.                                 Main Lecture Theatre

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

Back to defences

 

 

Farzin Misami Azad



Of the thesis entitled: The Average Best Solution : A Generative Design Tool for Multi-Objective  
                                 Optimization of Free- Form Diagrid Structures

Abstract:

This research describes the generative modeling method implemented in an open-source program (Grasshopper) as a computational tool for performance evaluation and multi-objective optimization. It explores the initial steps of the design process to find the most fit design, based on goals defined by the designers, from among all possible solutions. In this context, this thesis uses the computational tool to propose a form-finding model for maximizing structural efficiency and constructability of diagrid structures with complex geometries.

In architecture and related disciplines, such as structural engineering, the complexity of the both project and the defined goal, that is caused by several design variables and the myriad of relationships between them, play crucial roles in the design process. For the successful handling of such complicated design processes, the consideration of specific goals, requirements, and overall design quality is central. Therefore, this thesis addresses the need for identification and application of computational methods to effectively handle several issues in this design process: the complexity of parametric modeling of diagrid structures, of those computational modeling issues related to analyzing, evaluating, scoring the performance objectives,
and of making the decisions needed for the process of multi- objective optimization. To achieve such a goal, this thesis proposes a generative algorithm that includes a parametric model, computational model and a feedback loop. This kind of form-finding method deployed in the generative algorithm draws from existing research on multi-objective optimization. Most importantly, established articles from the Arup team make up the core concepts used in the algorithm-design process.

This thesis uses the generative algorithm as an integrally researched computational tool in its formal and operational research. As such, it proposes a conceptual design for a steel diagrid structure with fixed joints of the New National Gallery in Budapest. Such a form-finding method is based not only on structural efficiency, but also on constructability and architectural goals. In the decision-making process, the complicated relationships between considered objectives make it impossible to find the absolute best design solution that has the best performances in all of them. Instead of finding just one result, the generative algorithm eliminates a number of possible solutions based on their performances. The final decision “average best solution,” which scores high in all objectives but that does not score the highest in all of them, needs to be made by the designer from the limited number of design solutions.

The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:  

Philip Beesley, University of Waterloo

Terri Boake, University of Waterloo

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

Peter Olendzki, Entuitive

 


 

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


The Defence Examination will take place:  

Monday August 11, 2014                      10:30 A.M.                               ARC 2026

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

Back to defences

 

 

Leanna Lalonde


Of the thesis entitled: Curation: Representation in the Reclamation of Sudbury, Ontario Landscapes

Abstract:

“…last came the prospector and the mining company, but when they came they made the region theirs, and what they found, made all other industries seem of no account.  Even the sulphur that blasted all things living, only made nature’s grimness grimmer still, substituted, as it were, deadly purpose for beautiful desolation.”
 
         - Stephen Leacock, My Discovery of the West; cited in John M. Gunn, Restoration and Recovery of an Industrial Region, 1995.
An operating mine can last as many as several decades, though individual projects have an average lifespan between 15 and 20 years.[1]  This is a relatively short amount of time, and may result in the misconception that mining is ‘temporary’ or short term, when in fact the entire mining process from open to close lasts much longer.  Long-term monitoring and maintenance activities – required to avoid or mitigate environmental contamination – can continue for generations beyond the actual closure of a mine, and the ownership of these landscapes is exceedingly difficult to relinquish when it is accompanied by ongoing liabilities.  The legacy that a mine leaves on the landscape can be permanent, “which raises the question of who will be responsible once the mining company is gone?”[2]
 
In Greater Sudbury, Ontario the restoration efforts of the last 35 years are renowned for their extraordinary re-imagination of the local landscape. What was, at one time, disparagingly referred to as an inhospitable moonscape is, today, veiled beneath a blanket of green which has effectively erased the scars of a long and ongoing history of resource extraction.  Where extensive mining landscapes were once the picture of progress, the indispensability of industry has necessitated a new aesthetic trope (regreening) which: responds impartially to stereotypical public criticisms of health, utilizes anthropogenic force for the superficial manipulation of symbolic landscapes, and prioritizes aesthetic preoccupations of ‘natural’ history over a cultural approach.  Communities’ social, spatial and historical structures continue to be affected by mine development, and will be even long after mining operations end.  Sudbury must consider radical alternatives to prescriptive measures which assess quality of health by degrees of greenness.  Who is to say that the reverberations of a hard rock city are singularly unnatural or unhealthy?
 
A strategy of mediation, landscape curation, is explored to intercede in the usual either/or spatial practices: land reclamation or industrial planning.  Rather than erase sites of industrial operation via regreening, the following design devises a landscape/architectural strategy which embodies an argument for broadening our knowledge of affected sites and the practices that we use to manage them in the contested sites themselves - as an “arena of speculation”[3] - to generate new knowledge and engender new responses: paving the way to radical new conceptions for the future of the Sudbury landscape fabric.

 
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor: 

Committee Members:

Adrian Blackwell, University of Waterloo

Anne Bordeleau, University of Waterloo

Tammy Gaber, Laurentian University

 

External Reader:

David Warne, LGA Architectural Partners

 

                                   


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


The Defence Examination will take place:  

Tuesday August 12, 2014                   2:00 P.M.                                 ARC 2026

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

 

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Kam-Ming Mark Tam


Of the thesis entitled: 50:50 Sovereignty, Price, Density, Efficiency - Housing-led Economic Urban Expansion in Hong Kong

Abstract:

Hong Kong is an ideal laboratory in which to study relationships between economy and architecture.  In this city, tremendous power is held by both the state and in private capital.   Urban form may be read as a tangible spatial manifestation both calculated and inadvertent, of a historic model of economic development since its origins as a colonial outpost living in borrowed times.   Significantly, housing dominates the urban landscape and the city’s economic underpinnings.

The housing-led economic urban system is not a reflection of market rationality.  Instead, it is a complex and protracted attempt to preserve its land system.  In colonial history, British authorities relied on the leasing of lands to control its ongoing development and to benefit from its ongoing economic growth.  Today, although the model allows administrators to finance the government and maintain low direct taxation, it also requires the perpetuation of spatial distortions and the inflation of housing prices. These distortions result in a housing system that divides its population into two equally populous economic classes: defined by the difference between public and private home ownership.

Using a combination of photographs, illustrations, textual documentation, and spatial and statistical analyses, this thesis explores the social, economic and spatial impact of value maximization in four key areas: Sovereignty, Price, Density and Efficiency.  These measures of productivity respectively address the domains of power, market, urban geography and architectural morphology.  Hong Kong’s housing infrastructure is framed as a calibrated production, optimising all four aspects identified at the cost of chronic housing unaffordability.   As space is designed for the abstract value it represents, Hong Kong has refined a rigorous process of spatial design that is paradoxically non-spatial, which has led to a homogenization of spatial forms amidst growing socio-economic polarization.   The identification of spatial distortions and operations integral to the model’s logical irrationality is the primary intent of this thesis.

 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Adrian Blackwell, University of Waterloo

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo

Larry Smith, University of Waterloo

External Reader:

Andre Sorenson, University of Toronto      

 

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


The Defence Examination will take place:  

Thursday August 14, 2014                   4:00 P.M.                                Main Lecture Theatre

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

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Cassandra Cautius

Of the thesis entitled: Rammed Earth: Adaptations to Urban Toronto

Abstract:

Rammed earth is an ancient and imperishable material-process. Traditionally associated with rural construction and underdeveloped settings, the material has begun to enter the modern vernacular. While its use is not yet wide spread in the contemporary built environment, its benefits and positive applications to that setting are numerous. Rammed earth as a building material possesses ripe aesthetic qualities and hard geometric forms which frame the basis of the material's compatibility with the contemporary urban vernacular. As a building process, rammed earth has an exceptional opportunity for mechanization, allowing for its integration with the conventional modes of contemporary construction. Because of these advantages over other natural building strategies, rammed earth is poised as a viable building technique for the industrialized urban built environment. The desire for raw, unprocessed building materials should not be limited to the rural settings which hold most natural buildings. That need is present in all of global building culture, but especially in the developed built environments where resources for materials are consumed in their most concentrated abundance. Rammed earth satisfies the pressing demand for low impact materials, along with the goals of efficiency, longevity, and energy autonomy of architecture; the fundamental goals of sustainable architecture.

This thesis explores the contributions of rammed earth to the built environment of urban Toronto. The material can be adapted to suit the cold, wet climate and used as an effective exterior wall assembly. It can be used as an interior service and demising wall, providing an ideal sound and fire barrier to the typical semi-detached dwelling typology of Toronto's urban environment. It can also be employed within a trombe wall to capitalize on its solar thermal applications, for a climate with both severe winters and humid summers, in a setting where full solar exposure is unlikely. These three specific applications of this abundant, low-carbon material demonstrate its viability, desirability, and compatibility with the contemporary urban dwelling. Exploration of the benefits of this material, and its value within the urban environment, attempts to establish the advantages of this material-process compared to the conventional, contemporary wall assemblies which dominate Toronto's built fabric.
 
The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Lloyd Hunt, University of Waterloo

Terri Meyer Boake, University of Waterloo

Anne Bordeleau, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

Paul Dowsett, Sustainable TO        

 



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

 

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Friday August 22, 2014                       2:00 P.M.                                 ARC 2026

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

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Karen Kwan Hang Li

Of the thesis entitled: The People’s Cart
                                               

                                               “One Country, Two Systems

                                                One Public Space, Two ideologies

                                                One Public Sphere, Two Perspectives”                                           

Abstract:

In 1842, China signed a treaty that leased Hong Kong back to Great Britain for 99 years as a result of China’s loss in the Opium War and its trading of tea for opium. This agreement changed the fate and destiny of the Chinese that lived in Hong Kong compared to those who were living in Mainland China. The territory was stripped of the traditional Chinese characteristics of politics and ideology and the old systems were replaced by the influence of the Western culture.  Hong Kong’s unique identity is created with a combination of traditional Chinese cultures and the British influences that shaped the city from law, politics, education, language, food, and the way of thought.

In 1997, the British returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty and there began the introduction of the concept of “One Country, Two Systems”. The concept, with the combination of China’s “Open Door Policy” since 1992, helped create a new character of Hong Kong that attracted much attention across the world with the anticipation of how Hong Kong could become a bridge for China to connect with the rest of the world.  Hong Kong became a territory that held many differences to Mainland China in terms of character of spaces, density of architecture, personalities of people, and the disappearing of Chinese traditional culture that were very much affected by the capitalist mindsets that controlled the society and the life of the people.  The attractiveness of Hong Kong and the Open Door Policy attracted many Mainland Chinese to visit. Due to the cultural differences of the two groups of Chinese, many conflicts began to arise in public spaces which became an issue for the “One Country, Two Systems”.

Most of the conflicts between the two groups of Chinese arising in public spaces in Hong Kong are born from the differences in the ways of behaving, speech, and thinking. Accordingly, the conflicts can be said to originate from the differences in ideology between the Hong Kong Chinese and Mainland Chinese societies. Hong Kong’s public spaces can be divided into two groups: the first are government owned and the second are private enterprises.  The ideology reflected in the two spaces are often affiliated with capitalist influence, where it is either surrounded by towers of architecture that reflect the businesses and investments in Hong Kong by foreign companies or surrounded by advertisements, small retail, and big shopping malls.  My thesis explores ways to connect the two cultures so that they can exist alongside each other and provide a common ground for them to voice their differences and commonalities. I want to introduce an intervention that can be inserted into public spaces in Hong Kong that will help the Hong Kong Chinese to connect and redefine with the Chinese culture that is disappearing and at the same time, help the Mainland Chinese to appreciate the hard work that Hong Kong Chinese have invested into their society. This intervention is to stimulate a process to help Hong Kong Chinese to distinguish their own unique identity that has been lost in the process of colonization and one that will truly reflect the concept of “One Country, Two Systems”.

The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Rick Haldenby, University of Waterloo

Adrian Blackwell, University of Waterloo

Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo

 

External Reader:

Yam Lau, York University

 

                                   

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

The Defence Examination will take place: 


Friday, August 29, 2014                     10:00 AM                                ARC 2026

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

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Shane Neill



Of the thesis entitled:
                                                                  On the Border
                                   Antagonistic Architectures | Evanescent Territories

Abstract:

The Northern Pass || El Paso del Norte spills through the narrow Rio Grande Valley that separates the southern most extent of the Rocky Mountains from the Sierra Madres, dividing the bi-national metropolis of El Paso, Texas || Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. The two halves of this border landscape are interlaced in an intricate choreography of disparities that mine the strategic overlap of territories—physical territories: geological, ecological, built; contextual territories: historical, political, social, legal; and scalar territories: global, regional, local, etc. Regardless of the many forms of interdependence, an extensive, ineffective, and costly new border wall follows the pass, a symptom of an exclusionary and fearful national politic, blind to local realities and histories. Along this border sits the former ASARCO smelter, which for over a century acted as a manifold that tapped into the flow of resources passing through territorial overlaps: labour migration, trade and tariff dispensations, rail lines, to name a few. This thesis takes the remediation of the former ASARCO smelter offers a testing ground on which to negotiate the generic global crisis of border politics and architectures against specific shared needs of the region. Skirting the wall and occupying the narrowest gap of the pass, the project approaches the smelter’s territory as an archive, wherein excavations become a strategy to point at anthropocene anxieties that are employed toward the subversion and reshaping of politics. Looking deeply into the territory, ecology, and history of the site, I seize upon two ecological flows that the apparatus of the border cannot impede, invasive species and subterranean aquifers, speculating on different ways in which the environment can be tuned to articulate a border crossing as a space of appearance between the two cities.


The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Anne Bordeleau, University of Waterloo

Maya Przybylski, 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:  

Friday August 29, 2014                       10:00 A.M.                               Main Lecture Theatre

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

 

Back to defences