This Thesis is concerned with the idea of Architectural Assistance. The thesis began by investigating the flying buttress of the gothic era. People of that time needed to add windows to the gothic cathedral but subtracting material from the masonry construction resulted to its structural deficiency. ¬The flying buttress was there to assist in transmitting the outward and downward thrust of the main walls to the buttress. It existed as a solution to an engineering problem but it transcended itself architecturally. The flying buttress then became one of the major elements that highlight the architectural character of gothic cathedrals.
Taking from the idea of assistance, the thesis attempts to challenge the understanding of tectonics as an expression of compromised structural integrity in contrary to the general conception of tectonics which is the expression of strength and stability.
I looked at 2 building precedents that express assistance in their design.¬
1. World Trade Center by (United Architects) – This building uses multiple building masses that lean on each other for structural support. This building also expresses structural interdependency in the network of thinner structural members in a gridded network.¬
2. Dulles International Airport by Eero Saarinen. This building uses a structural device that goes through the roof and carries it from above. The idea here is a bit ironic in the sense that it simultaneously highlights the idea of the column to roof connection while working to reduce its presence.
I tested this thesis through a series of massing studies of some familiar stances of assistance.
2 of these use a structural device.¬
1. The Crutch- this has a single slender support that provides aid to the primary mass.
2. The walker- this has a device that is larger than the crutch and has multiple points of support.
The other 2 uses dependency for expressed assistance.
1. The Drag- This is the expression of one building mass that appear to be a mobile assistant with a formal posture that indicates a supportive force but it really is just dependent on the body that appears to be the one assisted from tugging on the other mass.
2. The Carry- A complete form of support in which the primary mass is lifted completely from the ground either from below or above.
Expressed Architectural Assistance is a tectonic of weight. Modernity introduced us to the cantilever and often, the goal is to express weightlessness and often an illusion of independence from any support or assistance. The cantilever has created moments of weight recognition but it is usually by making a very strong base that appears heavy and lighter weight structure for the over-hang.
Status: School Project
Location: Culver City, CA, US
Additional Credits: Thesis Advisor: Dwayne Oyler