Occupying the Window

Date:   Fall 2014
Course:  Advanced Topics Studio
Institution:  UCLA M Arch I
Critic:  Guvenc Ozel

In this design proposal for a house, the window is “refigured” from surface to volume.  More specifically, the window operates as a three-dimensional entity that is both an aperture and vantage point; negotiating the visual and physical proximities of variable programs within the house.  While the traditional window “as surface” may have been static, the volumetric window offers the possibility to mobilize perspective.     


Aperture House

Within the single-family home, partitions and aperture play an important role in delineating degrees of privacy and publicity within the domestic environment.  As individuals inhabit particular spaces, sensations of interiority or exteriority are perceived as result of spatial divisions at play.

The window, in particular, is a device that both delineates and regulates boundaries between spaces.  As an aperture, the window functions as a frame—delineating a definite other—that is, an interior or exterior spatial condition existing beyond the physical limits of a room, space, or individual.  As perhaps the oldest element in the history of architecture that is operable, the window also negotiates this frame or threshold; weather it is open, closed, transparent or opaque, the window initiates opportunities for variable degrees of physical or visual connection.

In this design proposal for a house, the window is “refigured” from surface to volume.  More specifically, the window operates as a three-dimensional entity that is both an aperture and vantage point, negotiating the visual and physical proximities of variable programs within a house.  While the traditional window “as surface” may have been static, the volumetric window offers the possibility to mobilize perspective.  Rather than looking through a fixed frame, individuals occupying the window, in a sense, occupy a camera.       

 
 
 

Perspective in Motion

In lieu of designing a house composed primarily of windows with fixed frames, this house instead features a primary interior volume that moves.  A concrete shell containing the main living room area of the house slowly rotates; tracking a full panorama over the course of a day. As the interior shell rotates, Vantage point and aperture constantly change rendering the primary volume of the house a sort of giant aperture or window.

 

DYNAMIC Interior Shell

To determine a range of motion for the interior occupiable shell, a circular opening at one end is positioned to frame the landscape beyond. To capture the full extents of the site panorama, in plan, the occupiable interior shell rotates around a central pivot point 150 degrees.  As the shell rotates, it pauses in three distinct positions (Positions 1-3).  Upon reaching Position 3, the front half of the interior shell separates from the rear and rotates 75 degrees towards the shell interior. The circular openingtips up pausing, finally, to frame the sky above (Position 4).

 

STATIC Exterior Envelope

To determine the form of the exterior envelope, the motion of the interior rotating shell is tracked and marked with simple extrusions that document desired views and points of access.  At Positions 1-3, two extrusions are modeled–a cone and a cylinder.  These extrusions, plus a wrapped silhouette of the rotating interior shell, are subtracted from a solid mass producing a form that is inscribed with the specific voids that will accommodate the rotating interior shell and preserve desired views and points of access.