Penetrable walls

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


This thesis explores the architecture of openings between and through layered, parallel walls. Light, orthogonal form, and layering is used to create a rich palette of spatial events. Arural dwelling is the vehicle for this inquiry.

The openings that cut through the layers maintain an orthogonal edge. They are designed to frame views, regulate moments of light and reinforce the scale of the exterior walls. The openings between the layers are larger and more complex in shape. They open the ends of the house to greater vistas, define the public and private sectors and allow for horizontal and vertical movement through the house.

The exterior walls are positioned to compress the inner portions. A change in material clarifies the distinction between the two sections. Concrete block gives mass and strength to the container, and plaster expresses the contained. The exterior walls assert their presence by allowing for clean edges on the exterior and glimpses of their entirety on the interior. The shifting of the walls permits one to see the layering from each elevation.

The service core is positioned to divide the house into a narrow portion to the north and wide cavity to the south. The public rooms step down along the south side and are easily accessible from each landing of the stairs and entryways. The private rooms are stacked. Passage along hallways and through the service and storage core lead to the private rooms.