A thesis towards the degree requirements of Master of Architecture I
Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
May 16, 2013
Emmet Truxes (Master of Architecture I, 2013)
Advisor: Felipe Correa
Urban architecture inhabits sites of radical dynamic interchange, often acting as the focal point where a variety of visible and invisible flows converge. Global networks and processes transcend immediate notions of site and adjacency, forcing the restructuring of relationships around new definitions of scale, boundary, and spatiotemporality. Current networked and mobile infrastructures have not only radically redefined communication, but also how we interrogate and see our surroundings. For users of these networks, the whole idea of urban legibility and navigation has become immediate and much easier. But for those who study the contemporary city, these networks and processes only make the study of urban legibility that much more complex.
This thesis examines how architecture, as a primary participant in this stage, can serve as a legibility platform for the modern urban condition. Towards this goal, this thesis will begin by introducing a literature review into four overlapping tracks of research:
1.) Urban legibility 2.) Cartography 3.) Media Platforms 4.) Cineplastics
The thesis work will then focus on Latin America, widely acknowledged to be the most urbanized region in the world. Out of necessity, this region has re-established and advanced the necessary toolkit for radical urban transformation in the 21st century.
The research content will look at the idea of mapping networked forms of imageability within the context of three Latin American cities: Caracas, Venezuela; Medellin, Colombia; and Quito, Ecuador.
The interrogation of the research data at multiple scales and mediums in Quito, Ecuador will serve as primary driver for an architectural proposal sited in that city
The ambition for this thesis is to present a platform --- within the context of urban Latin America --- through which the dynamic contemporary urban condition --- and by extension the dynamic architectural condition --- can be put in focus.