Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Reactivating Dynamic Architecture: A Strategy to Inject Relevant Bodily Imagery Back into Architecture

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posted on 2021-11-10, 21:43 authored by Gesterkamp, Claire

The building-body analogy, which used to be crucial in the designing of buildings, to the exception of a few, is fading. This broken link leaves us with a melancholic yearning; a sense of loss. Reactivating Dynamic Architecture readdresses the use of the body in architecture by the application of an intervening design process. The processes we undertake in order to design architecture are too often assumed, and go unchallenged. In this thesis the design process is seen as a protagonist for change. Representation, both architectural and artistic, is a central theme as the thesis guides images of the human body through abstraction. Both the dynamic body and fragmented body are investigated for their potential to create a relevant expression for the human condition. Dalibor Vesely’s theory of the positive fragment is identified as a way forward for bodily fragmentation, and Analytical Cubism, which resonated with this theory, is explored. The thesis initially moves through the investigation of historical interpretations of the body before drawing on contemporary theory. Past depictions of the fragmented and dynamic body are assessed in order to establish what they can offer us for future analysis. A representational mode is established, based on Cubism’s methods, from here the transition from drawings to architecture begins. Rowe and Slutzky’s text Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal is used to unravel the intricacies of Le Corbusier’s Villa at Garches, and their reading of this building is used to channel a successful conversion process. The resulting architecture was created as a trial of the strategy and is posed as an expression, or speculation, for what can be achieved through this method. Three different scale interventions are explored within the chosen site of Ava Train Station, Wellington. Carlo Scarpa’s techniques guide the last transition to architecture, as his processes are recognised for their ability to fold meaning into design. The described design process gathers complexity as it gains momentum; there is much to negotiate through the realms of bodily perception, modern art and architectural representation. However, the architectural expression carries that density of meaning in a simple expression


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Architecture

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Campays, Philippe