NewSchool of Architecture + Design

NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, CA


NSAD Final Thesis Projects: “A Glimpse Through Shut Eyes: Manipulating Perceived Bounds in Transitional Spaces”

By NewSchoolSanDiego
Aug 9, '12 6:18 PM EST
Rendering Credit: Craig Howard/NewSchool of Architecture and Design
Rendering Credit: Craig Howard/NewSchool of Architecture and Design

One in an occasional series of final thesis project summaries from recent graduates of NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego.

Final Thesis: “A Glimpse Through Shut Eyes: Manipulating Perceived Bounds in Transitional Spaces”
Author: Craig Howard, NewSchool of Architecture and Design, Class of 2012
Program: NSAD Bachelor of Architecture program

Craig Howard’s final thesis at NewSchool of Architecture and Design evaluates the role of transitional spaces within the interior scenarios of contemporary architecture by outlining ways to bridge different rooms to create a smooth transition from one space to another while ensuring that each space holds a unique experience for the user. The intent is to negotiate the program requirements that architects design with the spatial perceptions that user's project within a space. The project uses as a scenario a hypothetical two-level building in La Jolla (San Diego) located just east of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography that is made up of three separate spaces that meet at a common central point on both levels: an art gallery, faculty offices and an auditorium. The thesis investigates how these transitionary spaces are formed based on a specific spatial perception, the expansion and contraction of space and how the user's spatial experiences and line of sight are affected.

Excerpt from thesis by Craig Howard:

 In the contemporary setting, space is created as a response to program. How the response develops is determined per specific design intentions and agendas, yet the end result remains the same. The contemporary ideals of what constitutes a good space are almost always rooted in the projected perception of physical space. A dichotomy exists between a program-first agenda and spatial perceptions. What then gives meaning to space? Negotiation needs to occur successfully so that program fades away, allowing the user to project their experiences and spatial perceptions. It is these spatial perceptions developed by the user that establish meaning to a projected program.

An inaccurate perceptual quality occurs as a resultant of a program-first stance that contemporary architecture promotes through the fusion of private and public programs. The perception of public and private space blurs as a variety of programs attempt to co-exist within the same container. Each program experiences the encroachment of spatial bounds depending on the hierarchy of established or developing programs. This negotiation in turn uses the perception of spatial expansion and contraction as an attempt to create a transitional container between public and private bounds.

The focused perception through spatial interiority is due to the encroachment of adjacent bounds being perceived through a singular perspective within an existing space. Sectional geometries derived from the perspective create a sequence that link adjacent public and private spaces together and at the same time allow for the framing of spatial moments. The perception of the blur between two spaces now becomes tangible through the contraction and expansion of space.


About NewSchool of Architecture and Design
NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD), founded in 1980, is located in San Diego, California. NSAD is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). ACICS is listed as a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. NSAD’s Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture and Executive Master of Architecture programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NSAD also offers a pre-professional Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, a Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, a Master of Landscape Architecture, a Master of Construction Management and a Master of Science in Architecture. NSAD was ranked among the top 10 undergraduate architecture schools in the western United States, according to the DesignIntelligence report “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools 2012.” For more information, visit

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