University of British Columbia (Courtney)



Aug '08 - May '09

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    Help me decide on a site for my thesis project?!?!?!?

    Courtney Healey Oct 16 '08 5

    I know I'm asking for it, but....

    Two days ago I handed in the "mid-report" of my thesis research, or "Appendix_B" in UBC SALA terms. In it, I had to give a statement of the current state of my project, an outline and bibliography of what I have completed and a proposal for future work and a future bibliography. I also named my chair and committee members (a few TBAs on that one) and wrote a proposal for a design project for next semester...

    Been running down more than a few research cul-de-sacs... Feeling mired in my own muddy musings right now and thought I'd head down the dangerous road of asking my fellow Archinecters for advice...

    So, without offering too much background information on the project, I did mention my working title a few posts back "Kulturfabriek: Old, New and the Politics of Use, Historic Preservation and the Creative Class... maybe you get the picture already...

    I've spent the past six weeks doing case study visits and analysis, defining a theoretical position via reading and writing and am about to embark on a formal study on "the relic and the insertion" so you can get a sense of what I'm looking at/interested in...

    Development Case Studies include: Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, Kulturbrauerei and Pfefferberg in Berlin, Arsenale in Venice, Fabryka Trzciny in Warsaw, MassMoCa in North Adams, MA and DIA Beacon in Upstate NY.

    Formal Case Studies (relic/insertion) include: H&deM's Tate Modern, Scarpa's Querini Stampalia, Chipperfield's Neues Museum and Rossi's entrance gate for the 1980 Architecture Biennale.

    Art Precedents include Gordon Matta Clark's Day's End, Rachael Whiteread's House, Hiroshi Sugimoto's Color of Shadows Photo series, and Sarah Oppenheimer's Mattress Factory installation...

    Please pick one of the following two options:

    1. Former Michelin Tire factory in my hometown in central NJ, a variously abandoned and partially destroyed 20-acre site on a river that bisects the 1.5 sq mile town of 7,000 inhabitants. There is a development proposal put forth by a local developer that would tear down most of the structures to build a village for senior citizens... I might imagine more of an unconventional "civic centre" and to use the site as a testing ground for the town's future development and architectural intervention with a less deterministic end condition, you could say it’s an exploration of physical and cultural voids.




    2. 2. Former small-scale industrial buildings on E. 4th Street btwn Bowery and 2nd Ave in Manhattan, since the 70s its been home to about 15 non-profit arts organizations in 9 city-owned buildings, 145,000 sq ft of cultural space. In 2002 the block was designated a cultural district called Fourth Arts Block "FAB"and they claim it is the only one in Manhattan... not quite sure what that means... and the city sold the buildings to the organizations in 2006 for a nominal price. I worked for one of them from 1999-2004 and was present for most of the battles for space, but now there is no clear comprehensive plan for redevelopment, and many of the organizations have annual operating budgets under 100,000. I imagine exploring a linking structure (physical, organizational and experiential) between the buildings, the organizations, and the public, but also between the past, present and future of the site and its shifting identity from industrial production to grassroots ad-hoc adaptation to recent moves towards institutionalization...




    Thoughts? Opinions? Constructive Criticism?



    • Candace MountainCandace Mountain
      Oct 16, 08 11:00 pm

      Great ideas... I prefer the NJ plan because it may also allow you to go down the road of Urban Planning as well as Arch. and could possibly create a more interesting and broad topic. You would be able to bring something to the community that would otherwise not be accessible.

      Oct 17, 08 9:56 am

      I would definitely go for the 20 acre dilapidated site!
      The name Former Michelin Tire factory already sounds suggestive. And bisecting a town of 7000 inhabitants? Couldn't be better. Plus, that development they want to do there, well, to put it politely, it definitely deserves an interesting alternative.
      viele grüsse!

      Courtney Healey
      Oct 17, 08 2:23 pm

      crap... i was leaning toward the NY one... having trouble making the NJ one fit with my research on creative class stuff... and not sure if i want to go down the planning road, sort of wanted to keep the project about building interventions, though the landscape possibilities of the NJ site do appeal to me... hmmmm...

      Dec 14, 09 3:00 pm

      I would 100% go for the Michelin Tire factory. The site being so close to the river makes this a very appealing site to me. What did you decide to go with in the end Courtney?
      free cricket games

      Feb 3, 10 4:03 pm

      University of British Columbia is a killer school and I've known quite a few of their graduates that live here in London. They've both been major advocates of Tai chi classes in London

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