That may be your initial response after reading this blog post but I have perfectly good reason. I am currently putting together a lecture about my thesis project because this summer, I was invited to be a visiting lecturer/researcher in my Japanese Alma Mater (Kyushu University). I am trying to fix my presentation materials so it can be easily understood by a foreign audience. I am also intending my lecture and workshops to be conducted in Japanese so clear, concise and logical visual aids are important to convey things that otherwise I will be restrained with my elementary level Japanese.
…so the thesis part of my “making-it-right” series of blogs will be an ongoing one…
Back to the thesis/senior/final project… my last blog in Archinect showed a pretty raw side of how stressful my thesis year was. (hint..hint* This is a good opportunity to open another window in your browser check my previous blogs). I knew that successfully tackling the contemporary issues of housing is already challenging, but doing it in conjunction with suuuuuuuuper ( yup that an octo-“u”) low-cost social housing and cemeteries, felt almost impossible. In the beginning I faced the challenged with open-arms… To a certain extent I enjoyed the feeling of being confoundzzeled, (adj. to be confused and profoundly puzzled). I knew that to in order to do this project justice, I have to tackle it using a transdisciplinary-eye which was very new to me. But after weeks and weeks of continuous hard work and barely getting any relevant feedback (thesis evaluation sheet filled-in with a bunch of “Not-Applicable”), I got to me. The early morning of our thesis mid review, I literally passed out from exhaustion. I woke up from a 15 minute nap, drenched sweat and shivering. So my idiot self thought that the best thing to do is to try to quickly stand up and just shake it off, but my legs decided not to work. I was on the verge of falling in the ground convulsing but luckily our studio was packed and my friends saw entire thing and the closest one caught me.. Moments later, I remembered being placed on a comfy seat, tucked underneath a brown, monk-dress/snuggie-like, hooded blanket with a fresh bottle of Kirkland water and Tupperware filled with Prego-sauced spaghetti.
-----You might also ask why I am sharing this seemingly irrelevant experience in such detail... Well first, I want to show how stressful thesis year can be. Secondly, to show it is vital to take a break once in a while. And lastly, I am thankful for everybody that supported me through-out this intense experience.
Now back on track to the thesis… I decided to focus on the architecture part of my insane public housing cemetery project which I thought was a good thing at the time but in hind sight I wish I did not do. Because the project was inherently transdisciplinary that proposing a solution that is so architecturally biased (whatever that means) that now I feel the project was borderline one dimensional. But then again I was not thinking straight at that time… with “Failure” and “Not-Graduating” looming in your head all the time, finding an architectural problem and providing a direct, honest and thought-out solution was necessary to suffice the degree I am getting.
I tackled the issues of low-cost public housing given to informal settlers. In the Philippines especially, I feel that the re-settlement sites provided by the government are impractical and outdated solutions that doesn’t really tackle the real issues, rather just puts a façade over the issues and allow a staged photo-op/ribbon-cutting ceremonies to ensure re-election (but that’s a-whole-nother conversation). But architecturally speaking, the solutions lack the basic necessities of comfortable living the “MODERN” world. Yes, these people are living in very tough slum conditions but this is should not be an excuse for them to deprived of the most basic amenities like access to natural light and ventilation nor plumbing very hard to ask for.
Anyways, for my thesis I developed a housing prototype that provides a temporary solution for this very deep rooted problem.
Each housing unit is comprised by 4 modules that vary in usage, density and flexibility:
The fifth module (Above and Below -100% Open Module), is intended to be shared between 3 or more housing units to ensure access to natural ventilation and lighting as well as allow the re-configuration of each housing unit.
Below are some of possible unit configurations that can be built using the modules:
Then these housing unit configurations were used in the site by using a strict grid system that helps regularize the insanely irregular site.
…and then a section of the project which shows the relationship and interaction of the two separate programs: cemetery and housing.