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Authors: ONG WEE JIN
Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
Erik Gerard L’Heureux
2013/2014 Aki DT
Issue Date: 20-Nov-2013
Citation: ONG WEE JIN (2013-11-20). THICK ENVELOPES. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The seduction of the glass box takes form in many masks - transparent, reflec¬tive, and translucent. Borne of the temperate amidst the heat of modernism it has nimbly adapted to the constantly shifting trends and standards of culture, aesthetics, and performance. Over time, it has become equated to a standard of quality and excellence and the de facto mode of producing the iconicity so desired today. The legacy of thin, flat, and closed envelopes first perpetuated by fixations with transparency continue to hold true even as representations change. Energy is relied upon to create insular and separate environments from nature with glass providing the illusory connection to it. The domain of the glass box has thus extended to reach to all geological locations and climatic regions today, its possibility in tropical heat and humidity enabled. While the ability of the glass box to function adequately is proven by its ongo¬ing utility and almost a century of progress, the assumption of it as the default building envelope has greatly diluted the pool of archetypes found in the urban fabric. Major landmarks of the city show predeliction for the glazed envelope and embrace the sculptural outline it emphasises; the projected image of the city now a collective of shiny objects. Against this grain of the current normative, this dissertation seeks to remove assumptions and search of an envelope more consistent and coherent to the tropics. With Singapore as the site of inquiry, it aims to derive an alternate way of producing the building envelope - one that pans out inversely to the glass narrative and its ambitions. Thick, textured, and open are the properties sought to define this counter-narrative; not so much as a deliberate antithesis to transparency but rather for the allowances it makes towards a more optimal and suitable envelope. The thick envelope consists of several core characteristics but remains open to further intervention and modulation. It returns the envelope to an interroga¬tive state as to the limits of its potentials and the possibility of its definition; and hopes to find sustained validity and ignite a dialogue of the envelope as a site for architectural innovation.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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