Deviant Bodies

This work was completed in 2015 as part of a Thesis project for a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree.

This thesis investigates architectural prosthetics as “auxiliary organs” by examining the contemporary body and how it inhabits architecture.

Fig.1 – Equipment for the spine and posture of children. Wellcome Library. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Greg Lynn in Body Matters states, “There are many variations of ideal or whole bodies in architecture, all of which result from a search for a universal model of symmetry and proportion for the regulation of whole bodies”.

To once again reintroduce the body in architecture, one cannot simply continue examining the body as an ideal to extract proportions. This re-introduction of the body in architecture is studied by establishing primitive relationships of how a body inhabits space.

The body is examined within two classes; the prosthetic body (use of prosthetic to replace a lost or damaged limb), and the post-body body (a normal body that wishes to extend its abilities through prosthetic devices).

Fig. 2 – Digital Collage, aux-lab. 2015

Early research of this thesis was interested in notions of an architectural machine interface that would negotiate the interactions of the body and architecture. Studies focused on developing these machines that would document the conditions of the human body as it moved and interacted with the architecture. There was also early interest in developing an analogue drawing methodology to develop and critique the thesis.

Fig.3 – UCSD Aerial View, aux-lab.2015

The site at UCSD in La Jolla, California is currently used as a ‘fitness trail’ for walking, running, and biking, it contains a seven mile stretch of trails and over 10,000 eucalyptus trees. The site selection was initially influenced by the decision of prosthetic research lab in program. Upon further investigation and analysis of the site, several conditions of the site were revealed.

An understanding of the site as a field of trees that inhabit the land and have relationships to the land as well as adjacent trees was established. This relationship was later translated to bridge the subjects of prosthetics and body space habitation.

Fig.4 – Digital Collage, ‘Body Figures’ aux-lab, 2015

The body in this thesis is investigated under two conditions; the prosthetic body and the post-body body. The prosthetic body is defined as a body that is missing a limb or has a damaged limb. The prosthetic body accepts an external device into its initial frame to replace a lost or damaged limb. A prosthetic body requires separate programmatic elements to assist this body in the “correction” of their body. The post-body body is defined as a body free of impairment in their skeletal or muscular organization. However, the objective of this body class is to augment their abilities to inhabit space, through means of orthotic and/or prosthetic devices.

The deviant body classes present a new dynamic to how the body inhabits architecture; the following relationships of how a body inhabits space established a primitive to investigate the contemporary body and how it inhabits architecture.

Fig.5 – Body Relationship Diagrams. aux-lab, 2015

Three spatial relationships where defined for this thesis; primary, secondary, and tertiary. A primary relationship (left) is defined by a body inhabiting a single volume. A secondary relationship (middle) is defined as inhabiting this same volume but at a higher or lower elevation. A tertiary relationship (right)is defined by moving through a transitional volume, for example walking through a door. The door has two basic positions, open or closed. A bodies relationship to this volume changes based on the position of the door. These relationships measuring how our bodies inhabit space, currently exist within the built environment; this thesis further highlights and amplifies them within the context of the deviant bodies.

Among the troves of eucalyptus trees there stood a plinth, a single volume, with a single entrance. A horizontal band slicing across the single volume.
As the body nears the entrance the height of the volume increases. The horizontal band reveals walls inside. The body enters…

The first architectural confrontation between the two body types and the interior volume is in the form of a primary relationship, the single volume is occupied, and the subsequent spaces are suggested as platforms and solids above.

More coming soon, digging up old hard drives…

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