Concentration and Dispersion: a brickyard experience


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Virginia Tech


This thesis investigates the architecture of perceived boundaries, formed by architectural and phenomenological elements of concentration and dispersion. Inspiring this investigation was a site located on the property of the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC. This was the site of the historic United Brick Corporation, where the grass grows and the snow falls on the ruins of once-active brick kilns. This thesis investigation culminates in the design of a structure, which houses a now-active ceramic studio and facilities for viewing the brick kilns and interpreting the brick making process that once occurred on the site.

In the past, select elements of nature -clay, water and fire- came together to make bricks. When the bricks were sent to their final destination, they were stacked to form a wall, which is a creation greater than the sum of its parts. Currently, elements of nature -soil, grass, trees, light and wind- come together to create the unique landscape surrounding the brick kilns; a landscape also much greater than the sum of its parts.

Similarly, select elements -columns, beams, glass and bricks- come together to make Architecture, which again strives to be greater than the sum of its parts. However, it is only when these elements are considered uniquely, that the phenomenon of concentration and dispersion can be investigated. The intent of this thesis is to bring distinct elements together, forming the Architecture of Concentration and Dispersion.



Concentration, Dispersion, Brickyard