Design Thesis Project 2016 - 2017
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IN ABSENTIA

Mackenzie Sinclair
Advisor: Eduardo Aquino

Few structures embody the isolation and cultural severance of offshore oil platforms. In this thesis, the oil platform will be appropriated as a model of absenteeism whereby an architecture can respond to the secluded condition of inhabitance. This proposal culminates with an offshore research facility for the monitoring of wave harvesting devices and their surrounding ecosystem. Ultimately, I will develop a series of interventions that investigate notions of scale, materiality, and context. Together these inquiries examine how an unacquainted site can be critically and evocatively engaged through its studio surrogate. The constructs established by the initial inquiries will provide the foundations for a hydraulics research and production facility situated at Point Conception, California.

The intent of this thesis is to discover how a situated and engaged design process can compensate for one’s physical absence. My observations deal with absenteeism on two scales 1. The societal isolation of platform inhabitance and 2; the deficiencies of identity/empathy that accompany remote design.  Ultimately, I am questioning how architecture can reposition the absentee through observant representation and exploration. The underlying belief of this project is that Architecture should not be sterile, innocuous and confined; it should dare us to question, reconsider and progress. This thesis pursues a critical design process in which the dreams of the student can propagate in absentia.

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1. Site analysis
2. Chair and Site Model
3. Offshore Research Facility
4. Offshore Research Facility Section
5. Wave Harvesting Device no.1: Luscinda
6. Wave Harvesting Device Rooftop

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