Mary Purnell

Mary Purnell

Los Angeles, CA, US


Revealed Monumentality

“To forget and to remember are equally defensive moves.” - Freud 

This project was designed for the Technical Communications course advised by the critic Matt Fajkus. The concept of the civic and family courthouse centers on democratic space and how these spaces effect collective memory. The experience of the building’s memory references excavation by submerging it’s physical presence and its program into the soil. The exterior of the building engages the surroundings at the human scale, the market scale, and the city scale by considering these as metaphor for the idea of strata. 

The civic qualities of the courthouse connote monumentality, but does the building need to be a physical representation of that connotation? The design of the travis county civil and family courthouse considers the monumentality of the program at the interior scale. The building unfolds as distinct levels that have clear programmatic hierarchy. While the monumental building typically rests on a plinth, our building seeks to understand the civic value of excavation and existence within the strata of the city.

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Status: School Project
Location: Austin, TX
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: Lisa Feldman