Archinect
Jason Orbe-Smith

Jason Orbe-Smith

Los Angeles, CA, US

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Contemporary Vernacular

This thesis examines elements of vernacular architecture as a means to influence and generate contemporary form.

As society moves towards an unprecedented state of interconnectivity, heterogeneity and the globalization of politics, culture and economy, this thesis reinvestigates the discussion concerning the native, indigenous and local with notions of the cosmopolitan, global and foreign.

Vernacular architecture can typically be understood to be a region’s indigenous local building customs, materiality and the milieu in which it arises. It can therefore simultaneously refer to both the spontaneous, commonplace or otherwise primitive construction as well as ornate and embellished building traditions.

However this thesis chooses to understand the vernacular through a contemporary material approach of abstraction where photographs of vernacular elements chosen for their textural, material and color attributes are combined, reconfigured and repurposed to create non-referential textured imagery.

The result is a de-contextualization of the vernacular which allows it to be understood in an abstract manner rather than in terms of its initial typological, tectonic or architectural logic. This de-contextualizing is further emphasized through its dislocation from its Ecuadorian context of origin and placement within the foreign environment of New York City. The project is a reimagining of the central library of New York.

As this dislocated vernacular adjusts to its surroundings the ground is the means with which the contemporary vernacular is established, and where the foreign entity begins to reintegrate with, assimilate to and influence its new contextual environment.

A contemporary vernacular works towards an understanding of the role of the ground in creating place and site while also challenging current idealistic notions of perfection and control by saturating contemporary architecture with novel characteristics of unusualness, irregularity and imperfection.

The project is a redesign of the New York Central Library. The design begins by tracing and extrapolating two-dimensional linework from the composite vernacular imagery and then introducing imperfections and carving the mass along planar surfaces revealing the folding and weaving interior spaces.

The design drawings question the standard drawing process. These drawings acknowledge the limitations that traditional two dimensional line drawings have in their ability to represent the spacial and experiential qualities of a project. By allowing the drawings to become textural themselves, the possibilities to engage depth and shadow to produce a spatial experience are studied in an effort to provide a contemporary interpretation on the static drawing.

Study models aim to visualize colors and textures three-dimensionally, and the use of shadow, depth and detailing are crucial to how they are perceived.
 

 
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Status: School Project
Location: New York, NY, US
Additional Credits: Advisor: Hernan Diaz Alonso
SCIARC Graduate thesis project, 2012

 
Vernacular textures
Vernacular textures
Decontextualized vernacular
Decontextualized vernacular
Extrusion of inherent curves
Extrusion of inherent curves
Layering study model
Layering study model
Figural extrusion study model
Figural extrusion study model
Color striation study model
Color striation study model
Extrusion study model
Extrusion study model
Massing study model
Massing study model
Stduy model
Stduy model
Study model
Study model
Study model
Study model
Building generative diagram
Building generative diagram
Site plan diagram
Site plan diagram
Multiple floor plan composite
Multiple floor plan composite
Multiple section composite
Multiple section composite
Aerial view
Aerial view
Site model
Site model

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