Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Short History of My Personal Thesis Topic

By Nicholas S. Ouellette

Good morning, afternoon, or evening to you that is currently reading this blog entry. If you have been keeping up with my other entries from the previous weeks, you will know that the last entry displayed a poster for the upcoming thesis project that I am currently looking to work towards for the next two semesters before graduation. The poster and associated text described some of the basic facts for my personal thesis topic but I felt as though more background needed to be stated as to why I am interested in this field of architecture.
As an undergraduate student here at Southern, you are required to take three building technology classes each with different material focus areas. The first is over wood, the second on concrete, and the final one on steel construction. During these courses we began to learn how buildings are constructed and assembled and also how to put together a full set of construction documents. I gained a new appreciation for how all the small details of a building work into one coherent system. Instead of working in Revit where all you do is place components into a pre-defined wall section or floor plan I worked in AutoCAD and had to think about how each element was applied to the structural system and draw each element on my own. Through this process I became more and more interested in construction as an assembly process and learned to appreciate the pages and pages of documentation that an architect would create for each building he designed.
For my thesis I wanted to focus on a project that had a lot of assembly elements and really be able to dive into the details for how this building would be constructed whatever it may be. In the end I chose to design an apartment complex for a major city dealing with housing issues because of the rapid influx of people moving into that setting. I chose an apartment complex because when I first started to gain a passion for architecture housing was always an interest of mine. As I continued my architecture career though, the projects I worked on started to shift my interest to a more community base and how these spaces could have a major impact on how people interact and communicate with each other. Putting these two interests together, my thesis developed into an apartment complex that would have a large public space element to it for a major city in the United States. My interest in assembly and construction brought a new pre-fabricated twist to the project with a heavy focus on how the structure is put together and how each apartment unit is attached and placed within that structure.
I chose Seattle Washington as the site for my thesis project. The west coast of the United States has always been an interesting area and a place that I wanted to visit. There are many cities on the west coast in California, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington that are growing exponentially and are in need of new housing solutions. Seattle Washington is also a major center for manufacturing and production which is another reason why I selected it as the city for my thesis project since the prefabricated elements would have to be assembled and produced in a large warehouse and transported to the site when completed.

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