Switch Facade: Seriality and Urbanism
Master of Architecture
The thesis proposes re-cladding the Smithson’s Economist Building to demonstrate a heterogeneous serial facade and explore the relationship between facades and urbanism. Modern curtain wall designs are prescriptions for seriality: seriality of members and components. There are different architectural paths for serial facades and serial facades have different trajectories at an urban scale. Contemporary metropolitan urbanism is a heterogeneous product of homogeneous serial facades. With more complex heterogeneous serial facade assemblies, performative and aesthetic variation becomes possible, but whether homogeneous or heterogeneous, a serial facade is typically unique to a singular building. At an urban scale, the values that are attributed to seriality switches. Where as homogeneous seriality at an architectural scale is monotonous and variation is preferable for visual complexity and interest, at an urban scale homogeneity produces urban territories and heterogeneity becomes a proverbial collection of architecture. A multi-layered heterogeneous seriality offers the opportunity to produce a more nuanced and responsive facade. Although the resulting facade is a product of complex systemic variation, the components remain recognizable through repetition. The new heterogeneous serial facade replaces the homogeneity of the Smithson’s serial facade with more performative urban sensitivity.