Beyond Sea-Walls

Centered around concepts of architecture parlante, this thesis explores the possibilities of environmentally responsive architecture. Architecture parlante is architecture that denotes its purpose through form or appearance. The term was first used to refer to architecture designed during the time…

Beyond Sea-Walls

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Centered around concepts of architecture parlante, this thesis explores the possibilities of environmentally responsive architecture. Architecture parlante is architecture that denotes its purpose through form or appearance. The term was first used to refer to architecture designed during the time of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. An example is his Royal Salt Works, where we see moments of erosion from the production of salt or the waterworks building with water running through it. Using these ideas, the project reimagines what today’s architecture parlante would look like if focused on the environment. The architecture is reacting to its environment and this is evident in the facades as the encroaching seawater allows the buildings to evolve, grow, and age in its presence. Much like our ever-erratic environment and climate, the aesthetic of the buildings are constantly in flux.

In 2050, it is predicted that sea levels will rise 2 feet, affecting thousands of coastal homes. One such place is San Mateo. Through the incorporation of resiliency and adaptability, homes are placed at the periphery of the city along the beachfront, forming a levee. Together they create an infrastructure that resists the rising sea levels, yet individually they are adaptable structures, changing with the environment and allowing water to permeate. Through the process of hydroelectric power generation and desalination, they harness the latent potential of the ocean to generate electricity and fresh water, allowing the homes autonomous, sustainable function. These homes have remnants of architecture we are familiar with such as windows and doors, but this is an unkempt area that speaks to the viewer about shifts in the environment.

The built and natural worlds often find themselves at odds with one another; adapting to constant change through aesthetic provides a unique chance to redefine the relationship between climate and domesticity.

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