Cast of Civic Characters
Master of Architecture
The Cast of Civic Characters is a civic complex for Houston that couples municipal service counters with other public amenities including an auditorium, dining hall, outreach center, gym, and pool. Each program is housed in a separate small building that takes on the likeness of an animate creature. The collective “herd” occupies a single city block. This thesis posits that creature-buildings intensify architecture’s communicative and storytelling potential; by soliciting a fictional vitality, they mythologize architecture’s agency and enable public institutions to craft narratives about their identities. Formally, each Character is generated from an extruded profile that is broken along a central seam, hinged, and partially rotated according to a shallow angle. This technique conjures an image-able figure that is graphic and immediate, but also temporal and modulating from multiple vantage points. The simple act of slightly rotating the elevation condenses both pictorial and sculptural perception into a single architectural form.