Time-Space: Constructing Meaning Through Temporal Phenomena

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Virginia Tech

This thesis is an examination of the significance of time and temporal phenomena in the conception and construction of the built environment. It began as a question regarding the aging and life-span of contemporary buildings, in contrast with those that have at present survived long enough to earn designation as 'historic' buildings.

The term'temporal phenomena' is defined here as sensory experiences which make the passage of time accessible and meaningful to those interacting with the built environment.

Le Corbusier wrote that an original intent of painting was to record, to create permanent evidence of events and things that passed away with time and were forgotten, or couldn't be seen later. He suggests that the camera is a much better tool for this, and so painting has lost part of its purpose. Buildings and cities have always had the effect of retaining memory and creating cultural meanings. Cultural reliance on continuous improvements in environmental and building technologies have obviated the building's ancient place as a datum through which human beings understand the passage of time. And perhaps it is the loss of that sacred duty that leads to short-lived, disposable buildings, and the proliferation of placeless-ness in contemporary environments.

A design for a brewery on the banks of the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia became the vehicle to explore strategies for making time meaningful and present through the physical reality of the building, the brewing process, and the interrelated lives of the brewer and the city.

Time, Beer, Brewery, Event, Waterfront