The Transparent Frontier

Advisor/ M. Casey Rehm

Model Photo 1:100

"When you separate materials as a way of looking at architecture wood, steel concrete, fabric. Projects constructed out of glass seemed to resist to be characterized by such materiality. They really consisted of an anti-material- one with no fixed character - and somewhat empty image it wsas a material that wanted to be something that it couldn't be necessarily by itself." 1

This Thesis examines the exaggerated characteristics of transparencies. I am endeavouring to understand how an architecture of the transparent, relates time, gravity and environment. The project explores the artificial tension of distortion that is created between spaces through the misuse and overuse of materiality. These distortions are achieved through lenses and atmospheres and filtered by various types of climates. Ultimately, this leads to an alternative territory of the picturesque organization; thereby destabilizing the "hegemony of the object." 2

The project destabilizes the status of the object by eroding/blurring boundaries formed by seams, edges, surfaces, and separations. This approach to architecture primarily focuses attention on the surface of the architecture and diminishes the importance of the overall form. Engendering a discussions of unruly and ruled, misuse or overuse, mass and surface. In contradistinction to the modernist logic, the project builds on the work of the early 2000's and a linage of glass construction from Mies Van Der Rohe3 through K. Sejima4, furthering the critique of top down approaches and offering an alternative design that embraces the gray areas of digital fabrication, as well as the unstable, thick, ephemeral, and anexact.5

The project, a thermal bath situated in Liepaja Latvia, becomes a vehicle to explore the consequences of ambiguous boundaries. The programmatic aspect of 'extreme nature' strains the role of transparency, as issues of privacy become paramount. Promoting contextual repositioning within the site, an intersection defined between the urban edge and the unruly quality of the landscape. The architecture makes an effort to preserve or enhance the natural environment. Additionally, the brief presents an opportunity to critique the complex horizontal sequence of the bath house6. The program of the bathing house is such that every space has to be doubled to segregate the sexes. This programmatic doubling of spaces leads to a spatial organization that tends to be sparse and horizontal. This Thesis explores the results of densifying, and stacking system in the architecture which allows the bathhouse to appear to be programmatically layered. A kind of atmospheric control prioritizes privacy as layers or filters that create transparent, veiled or opaque environments.

The status of a transparent object, as conventionally defined within modernist discourse, is destabilized in this project through the artificial tension and distortion it induces. This is coupled with the programmatic stacking and layering of the bathhouse to accommodate the demands of privacy and opacity, which would seem to challenge the role of transparency.

1.Riley, Terence. Light construction:. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1996. Print.
2. Mies Van Der Rohe Tugendhat House. Prague.
3.K. Sejima; (Sanaa) Lens Louvre, Lens France.
4.Kipnis, Jeff. Introduction. The Light Construction Reader. By Todd Gannon. New York: Monacelli, 2002. N. pag. Print.
5.Lynn, Greg . "Probable Geometries: The Architecture of Writing in Bodies ." Any Magazine, no 0. May & june 1993: 44-49. Jstor. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

6. The Latvian or Baltic tradition of the bathhouse stems from an overlap of the Finnish Sauna, and the Russian Wellness centre. In comparison to our association of Turkish or Roman baths; scale, ornament, and Leisure separate them; The Sauna small and unassociated, The Roman other large highly sequenced. However, they all equally sharing values of the segregation of sexes.