Absolute architecture : scaled experience
Ankeny, Samuel Robert
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Located near the edge of the North American Plate, in the great west of the United States, is an area known as the Colorado Plateau. Encompassing four states Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, it is also known as the four corners region. This Area has been widely recognized as one of the most powerful landscapes in the world and holds special meaning to the Native peoples of America. It is an area which is known to produce irregularities in the earths geomagnetic field. These irregularities have been described as many different things from spirits to extraterrestrials.1 More notably known for it's unique and diverse geology, this area is home to the Grand Canyon. It provides one of the most elaborate timelines of the earths history known. Near the western edge of the Colorado Plateau is an area of Utah known as the San Rafael Swell. It is a dome shaped anticline approximately 70 miles long and 40 miles wide. The area was thrust upward nearly 2000 feet above the surrounding desert and has since been eroded into a natural spectacle which defies verbal description.The forms and powers of this land have drawn people for thousands of years and are at the epicenter of a debate about proper land use. The area is caught in a battle between ranchers, miners, environmentalist, and recreationists. Currently it is under the jurisdiction of the BLM but is being investigated as a candidate for National Monument Designation. The goal of this thesis is to develop a project which exposes the essence of place through a scaled experience of the process of erosion. By eroding through the interwoven layers of human striation upon the land, a theoretical smooth space emerges. At this point the land in understood as a continuously changing entity of large scale systems. The human ability to comprehend the vast scale of these systems is directly related to our ability to recognize rhythms and patterns based on human scale units of measure. We can abstract these patterns in the form of architecture which will then interact with the large scale process of erosion. This interaction will create new patterns which can be re- shaped into architectural form. This cycle will help to reconnect man with nature both physically and mentally providing a deeper understanding of our role in the greater scheme of things and a better understanding of the scale of our place in this universe.