Performance of Scale
Cities are for people. As the scale of modern day cities continue to grow with overbearing homogeneity, the human body has become a disengaged entity among the repetitive monolithic forms. This city environment has come to lack the facilitation of personal, social, spatial and economic connections. Architecture can be seen to be the major facilitator in engaging and shaping urban space and subsequently the connection between people and space. This thesis responds to these static environmental conditions, questioning how ‘shifts in scale’ could influence the performance of space, and resultantly how performative space can create a connection between the body and the city. The thesis identifies a gap in performance research which considers ‘shifting scales’ as a non-human active agent. Active agents are assessed for their effects on the body (subject) and space (form), becoming critical to successive design evaluation and development. The notion of ‘Performance in Architecture’ is defined and grounded through acknowledging current modes of discourse in architectural theory, establishing the relationships between the interconnected theories of ‘subject performance’ and ‘performance of form’. These two theories explore the performative relationships between the body ‘subject’ and architecture ‘form’, setting up the research structure and subsequent conditions for the production of progressive design iterations. The framework for the performance design iterations engages two alternate scaled conditions (Act One & Act Two), both of which are explored through parametric based software in conjunction with physical modelling. This parametric based technology enables the comprehension and fabrication of complex forms, allowing the design process to move between the digital world and real world with ease. Engaging with this technology allows the scaled conditions to become specifically responsive to parameters defined by the architect. Each design iteration ‘shifts in scale’, focusing on a select combination of components, providing feedback on the productive application as to how ‘shifts in scale’ influence the performance of space. The design iterations systematically bring together parameters responding to: Scaled Volume, Intersection, Context, Traversal Movement and Access, Circulation, Speed, and Connection. The resultant design is evaluated for its performative success in allowing the body to shift and move between multiple scaled volumes and floor levels. The production and evaluation of these design iterations grounds the importance of ‘shifts in scale’ as an active agent that generates a connection between the body and city. The uniqueness of each space provides a set of diverse tenanting opportunities where the design strategy begins to address the expansion and densification of cities, re-enlivening and connecting ‘unused’ ‘left over’ space. The design strategy acts as a catalyst for dealing with complex architectural parameters while maintaining its sensitivity to the human scale.