Design Thesis Project 2016 - 2017
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PRACTICING ADAPTATION:
An Intervention for Delta Beach & Marsh


Jenn Yablonowski
Advisor: Neil Minuk

Delta Beach and Marsh is located at the southern edge of Lake Manitoba. Delta exists as an ever-shifting and fiercely fragile ecosystem and prairie landscape. Over the past century, the site has been aggressively altered through a combination of human effort and natural forces, resulting in disturbed overall health of the rich and biologically-diverse landscape. Although the wetland is an entity of change and constant flux, human nature has continued to attempt to control its wildness. The shoreline, marsh, and surrounding agricultural lands, have historically been harvested for the benefits of numerous human interests, often at the cost of the ecosystem’s health.

The thesis will explore notions of adaptation in relation to the architectural process. Delta is a site rich in natural, transformative cycles and phenomena that evolve with time. A design framework where adaptation is the central focus - proposes a way of practicing architecture that will re-examine and re-evaluate how to design with a landscape and site, rather than work against it. An intervention for the delicate site proposes that adaptability may provide permanence through its design of impermanence and flexibility. The thesis will propose a mixed program of research station, mobile pods, and community space. The proposal will offer a building that responds to the natural conditions of the site, and enhance and promote local and regional culture.

The thesis will challenge a common historic approach to architecture, designing elements in isolation, and will instead, mimic nature’s approach. The thesis will examine the potentials of systems and interconnectedness in research, design, and architectural responses. Nature is efficient, but also an entity in constant transformation and adaptation. How might architecture adapt and benefit the well-being of a site? How might adaptive solutions eliminate or reduce the thresholds between the natural and the artificial? Design responses will explore the adaptive potentials of foundation, flexible structure, and performance-based building skin. Studies of natural phenomena of Delta will include ‘drawing’ and ‘dissecting’ the site, its materials, and processes. The thesis will propose how adaptability can assist in promoting a restored environmental and cultural site of Delta Beach & Marsh in the Manitoban prairies.

Images:
1.    Delta’s History – Info Map
2.    Lake Manitoba / Delta – Mixed Media Collage
3.    Delta Site Plan – Drawing
4.    Model – North Façade + Plan
5.    Community + Research Building Plan
6.    Main Entrance + Pod Renders

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