Push, Pull, Bend, Bind: Enacting Architecture Through Behaviour and Consequence
LANCELOT COAR, University of Manitoba
Informality in Bogotá: Housing, Rapid Urbanization, and Public Space
JORGE COLÓN, University of New Mexico
Poetic Action for Autism: An Intersubjective Approach
Black Contemporary: Act of Construction
PETER P. GOCHÉ, Iowa State University
Experiencing the Three-Legged Stool: Social, Economic and Environmental Education
Through the Mariposa Redevelopment

MARIANNE BELLINO HOLBERT, University of Colorado-Boulder


Clouds of Action: Rethinking Urban Contexts as Differential and Participatory Fields 
HANNAH HOPEWELL, Auckland University of Technology


Inhabiting Difference: Integrating Rule Based Design and Cultural Ritual
JASON S. JOHNSON, University of Calgary
Exposing Experiences: Research Based Placemaking
JENNY KEMPSON, Framework Cultural Placemaking (Seattle)
Turbulence and the Creation of Home
GRAHAM LIVESEY, University of Calgary


Heaven on Earth: Transient Dwelling and Adaptation in Downtown Houston
GREGORY MARINIC, University of Houston


The magic of ruins persists, a near mystical fascination with sites seemingly charged with the aura of past events, as if the molecules of the sites still vibrated with the memory of their history.
- James Edward Young, The Texture of Memory.



In the early 1970s, Houston boomed as the impact of the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 fueled expanded employment opportunities in the US petrochemical industry. An influx of mostly Northerners initiated a wave of population growth and speculative building construction stretching from the city center to the suburban periphery. The burgeoning economy transformed downtown into a state-of-the-art global energy hub complete with modern office towers, an extensive pedestrian tunnel system, and several mid-rise hotels. Leveraged on oil, Houston epitomized optimism, opportunity, and opulence—while its unregulated growth philosophy became a popular mantra across a sprawling metropolitan area. By the mid-1980s, however, fortunes began to fade as oil prices plummeted and Houston experienced its first major recession. In a dramatic turn of events from boom-to-bust, businesses closed and a significant portion of the population left the city en masse.


Echoes of this first oil recession continue to haunt the built environment of downtown Houston. An abandoned 31-story structure on the western edge of downtown originally designed as a Holiday Inn attests to changing consumer tastes, shifting urban perceptions, and disinvestment. This proposal examines the rise, fall, and reincarnation of the Holiday Inn into a high-rise ashram in the 1980s—renamed the Heaven on Earth Inn—that served practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and the homeless community. Its adaptive re-use narrates a pivotal time of social, economic, and demographic change in Houston, while providing a speculative opportunity for the Interior Architecture studio curriculum at the University of Houston College of Architecture.


Using the existing 31-story abandoned shell of the Holiday Inn/Heaven on Earth as the site for a new capsule hostel for downtown Houston, the studio examined dwelling multiplicities to propose an alternative, intermingled living environment. Capsule hotels, low-cost travelers' accommodation, SRO (Single-Room Occupancy), backpacking culture, migration, and nomadism were considered in the development of hybrid residential environments exploring the temporal and ecological parameters of adaptive re-use, as well as the broader social agency of interior architecture.


Shifting focus toward adaptation and incrementalism, while taking cues from various histories, this project engaged interior architecture through the lens of building renewal, considering performance, perception, and phenomenological conditions. Students designed interior dwelling interventions ranging in scale from the human body to multiple occupancies, addressing co-operative living concerns and blended programs that blurred the boundaries of time, space, and materiality. Activating a diverse new community based upon adaptation—this project allowed students to engage architecture at the scale of the interior, prompting them to reflect upon alternative futures for disinvested territories and cast-off buildings within the built environment.

Digital Surrogacy in Ephemeral Sites
URSULA EMERY MCCLURE, Louisiana State University
Returning Anew: Sequential Experience in the Jewett Art Center
KEVIN MOORE, Auburn University
Patterning Temporary Atmospheres: Installations for the Experience of Sound and Light
CLAY ODOM, University of Texas
Photography as a Phenomenological Tool in Architectural Representation
ERIKA PETRIC, Technical University of Graz
Apocalyptic Architecture: Designing Within Resilient Detroit
ZIAD QURESHI, Iowa State University
Free Zoning: Designing a Framework for Typological Evolution and Continual Building Acts
GEORG RAFAILIDIS, State University of New York at Buffalo
Blind Spot: The User Usurps the Dwelling Act and the Designer’s Attention
NATALIJA SUBOTINCIC, University of Manitoba
Toward Anonymity in Architecture: An Augmentation of the Historical Project of Autonomy
JOSHUA M. TARON, University of Calgary
Call Before You Cut! The Importance of Tree Protection
ANNA THURMAYR, University of Manitoba


The Lightest Material

AARON J. WEINERT, Wentworth Institute of Technology


The Architectural Lessons of Anselm Kiefer’s La Ribaute: The Material of History and the Space of Dramatic Representation
STEPHEN A. WISCHER, North Dakota State University


Reclaiming Space

PAOLA ZELLNER, Virginia Tech


The 2014 Atmosphere Committee consists of: Lisa Landrum, Chair (Architecture), Rae Bridgman (City Planning), Alyssa Schwann (Environmental Design), Lynn Chalmers (Interior Design), Marcella Eaton (Landscape Architecture); with web design and graphics support from Thalia Andreoglou (Masters of Architecture student), and administrative support from Brandy O’Reilly (Faculty of Architecture, Partners Program).


Questions? Please contact Lisa.Landrum@umanitoba.ca


Atmosphere is generously supported by the Faculty of Architecture Endowment Fund and the following professional associations: the Manitoba Association of Architects (MAA); the Manitoba Association of Landscape Architects (MALA); and the Professional Interior Designers Institute of Manitoba (PIDIM).                  

Aspects of Atmosphere 2014 ACTION are being presented in collaboration with StoreFront Manitoba and aceartinc.9