2022

SUBSEQUENT MATTER OF SUBSTANCE

a short story on casting the strand

A speculative play about the choreography of materials in deep time, specifically within the community of the Strand Theatre in Boston. The project examines circulation as a means to explore the future repercussions of architecture.

CONTEXT

Core II Studio,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

LOCATION

Strand Theatre, Boston

 

SOFTWARE

Rhinoceros3D, Photoshop, Illustrator, LiDR Scanning

 

COLLABORATORS

L. Sloan Aulgur

 

SUPERVISORS

Silvia Illia-Sheldahl, Cristina Parreno

 

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Today the the Strand Theatre sits proud in the heart of Dorchester- Built in 1918, the theatre has been a part of the community for over 100 years. If time is of the essence in the theatre itself, the same should apply to the building and the residence beyond. This performance proposes each phase of the building is just as important as the last. The past, the present, the future, and so on. The scene sets in the year 2050- as the BPDA has predicted the year to be of noticeable change in the greater Boston area, Sea levels will have continued to rise and the functions of our buildings will begin to change. Boston will have begun constructing retaining walls, designing for flood zones and reimagining the infrastructure. A large portion of the land mass will begin to experience the ebbs and flows of water rise. In the cases of larger coastal storms, Boston buildings are already being advised to prepare for 3-5’ feet of water to invade the built environment. Those higher in elevation would be bought more time, and would provide momentary relief until the waters passed. The Strand is one of those buildings. While the surrounding neighborhoods will begin to feel the pressure, the theatre will take on a larger role. While remaining the center for performing arts, the strand would also become the physical center of the surrounding area.

 

Sitting as one of the largest buildings, at one of the highest elevations the Strand will gradually shift from being a theater to its new function as the center of the community. Elected city planners have produced public guidelines on how to think about the future- and three of which are as follows: Remove all Impermeable Surfaces, allowing the earth to absorb overflow.-Relocate Below Grade Services, electricity, heat, etc. And to Abandon the first floor, meaning the raise of all critical program above potential flood lines. How could the strand be impacted by these environmental negotiations? The basement currently provides powers, heats the building, and more. Plus the entry brings those from the street inside.

 

What if- we moved those systems along with any other material that would no longer have use. Perhaps those found or collected materials could be reimagined in many states. To give new purpose for the future, but with thoughtful consideration of the inevitable decline over time. And could these saved materials and programs begin to hybridize into a new form together. The pavement could be our lead, as they could form the treads of stairs. Original iron pipes selected as our supporting roles, providing structure to a new form. What if these functions and materials moved in search of higher ground, and manifested into an new vertical lobby. provide for the context that remains once people have left.

 

We have considered the strand as a set of materials, and when they have lost their purpose we use them to build a new. The theatrical study proposes a “Planned obsolescence,” or the morphing of architectural space based on degradation of material over time. The set plans for its own deterioration over time. For instance, a paving tile could begin its re-used life as a ramp, but due to degradation of lower materials it can restructure itself as stairs, then platforms, and so on until the material itself degrades and becomes rubble. What if by 2100 this vertical addition continues to evolve in material as the program shifts based on needs. The wall section would reflect their times of collection, and their reimaged state. We are interested in the larger timeline of the strand, in regards to the climate changes, and speculative material reimagines as a reaction. Material life cycle continues beyond humanity.

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