Through the layering, carving, and manipulation of interior space, a new coherency between architectural conditions can be explored where space is created through the excessive layering of mass and volume and the envelope is a bi-product of the hyper-articulation of those elements.
The Aldo Van Eyck pavilion, along with some of his other works, is a clear example of interior space with an implied envelope. There is no envelope and it is still possible to distinguish between the inside and outside of the structure. It maintains a sense of hierarchy, differentiation between space, and a relationship between ground, walls, and roof. All without the use of the typical “envelope.”
Therefore, it is necessary to ask if it is possible to create buildings with this type of inverted design approach and how it could disrupt the existing design approaches we have come to rely upon. Alejandro Zaera-Polo’s “Politics of the Envelope” favors the envelope as a design tool, leaving interior space as a bi-product. This thesis favors interior space in order to change the game and find a new way of organizing space without it being confined to a predetermined condition.
This thesis uses the tower typology in order to set the stage for exploring the potentials of a design approach that favors the interior. Three towers are used and each tower is different from the other in the techniques used to create a layered interior condition. Boston’s government center provides a backdrop and site for the thesis because the existing government center also relies upon a similar strategy.
Layering, Carving, and Hyper-Articulation: Each tower begins as a mass made of three skins layered on top of each other and each skin has a different form of articulation (clean, corrupted, and paneled). Through a process of layering and carving, interactions between the skins creates opportunity for space to manifest. Carving the skins allows for a revealing of the inner-most parts of the towers (such as the cores) to become revealed to the exterior thus dissolving any notion of an envelope. Each tower uses a different technique to relate the three skins to one another. These techniques come in the from of de-lamination, inflation, and bulging. Each technique carries a different hierarchy of spatial arrangements. This process of carving lays the base for creating a new mode of representation and design by utilizing animated carving as a way to visualize, modify, and create new complex spaces in ways that traditional plans and sections could never do.
Columns and Mass to Skin and Volume: Working without an envelope also allows for a new coherency between architectural elements to be explored. Columns can be inflated or de-laminated into volumes seamlessly resulting in a new type of relationship between inside and outside. Central cores can be carved away or bulged out in order create spatial conditions that further integrate the more standard from of design (such as a core) with more unique conditions without having to create separation between the two.
Staggering the Floor-plates: The tower typology also gives the opportunity to disrupt the typical stacked floor plates that almost every tower built utilizes. Designing interior first allows for not only differentiating program vertically but horizontally as well while maintaining hierarchy between spaces. Staggering floor plates also allows for outside rethinking of the typical balcony in that exterior tower space is no longer required to hang on the exterior of the building but nestle itself within the tower as well while the use of carving ensures that those spaces remain exterior rather than being buried and lost inside the tower.
Inverting the Lobby: Finally, the lobby typology has been completely inverted where one is not inside the tower until they enter the elevator. This meant to exaggerate the existing government center that almost does the same thing. The use of stilts to elevate the upper floors of the gov. center allow movement under the building without ever entering the structure. The same goes for each tower. On the ground floor, a forest of columns reaches upward and eventually translates into volumes that create the lowest inner spaces high off the ground.
Use of Glass: The use of glass differs in each tower. One tower has none at all, that is to say it is completely open to its environment. Another tower uses glass as an inlay in order to further separate different spaces from one another while maintaining open space deep within the mass. The last tower uses glass as a shrink wrap around the outside of the tower creating a totally different relationship between what can be read as an outside space or an inside space.
Excessively Interior looks to forward the use of non-conventional tools within architecture such as animated carving as a way to produce new, hyper-articulated form.