This is the main component of my graduate thesis in architecture at the University of Michigan. Below is the descriptive text that I spoke during my review. The supplemental drawings that I used are not here, but I think the film speaks well enough on its own. Enjoy.
Architecture is the grand, but eternally provisional frame of human meaning.
The film screen is a stage that is used to depict and interpret cultures as they evolve over time. Each film embodies a particular cultural interpretation from a specific vantage point in the context of the near-now. While each film differs greatly from the next, the screen has one unchanging quality, its blankness. Similarly, architecture only conveys the meaning that we impose upon it; it is inherently indifferent. Yet, architecture is often viewed as a pre-existing condition. This chicken-egg relationship causes confusion as to our cultural authority and authenticity.
Screen Architecture: A Pseudo-documentary seeks to find ways that architecture might provide a blank screen for emerging cultural and social paradigms while simultaneously breaking down those that it pretends to purport.
This thesis is composed of two distinct aspects: the pretentious and the informative. The subject is a blank, nondescript piece of architecture that looks south over the city of Cincinnati from an adjacent hill. The building, on its face, has only one prospect, to provide a single privileged perspective view of the city. The form of the architecture functions to both draw users to a particular point in the structure as well as provoke a mental formulation of the view prior to the moment of arrival. The laborious journey from the city to the site provides ample reinforcement of these functions and sets an appropriate stage for the architectures imminent deception.
The assumption of the viewer is that the building will deliver upon its pretentions directly and without resistance. It does quite the opposite; architecture acting against its obvious and intended use. The structure, utilizing filmic and projection techniques acts as a blank screen that portrays alternative ways of viewing the city, subverting the view it pretends to provide.