SUB/WAY

ABSTRACT

As human interaction is changing form, increasingly becoming based in a secondary non-physical reality, public spaces offered by cities have continued to follow modernism’s emphasis on efficiency and security, often leaving a basis of natural human desires unconsidered. This monotonous public environment results in an unfulfilled gap of human desire and collective achievement, not only endangering established democracy, but also humanity’s collective future. With a growing population, scarcity of natural resources, densification of cities, expansion of digital technology and a largely unrestrained, instantaneous information transfer across large distances, the world as it is known today is becoming more interconnected and mentally disengaged in the same stroke. Irrelevant of location, time or distance a large majority of the human population can connect with one another in an immediate but mediated manner. Information initially taking time to transfer can now be shared instantaneously, by whomever possesses a device with access to the internet. While the internet aids us in connectivity across great distances, it underplays the importance of interpersonal interaction in the established social life of the city. As discussed by Robin Evans, the modern strive for comfort, and reduction of social unpleasantries, enlists architecture as a preventative measure of security and segregation, resulting in a limitation of the horizon of experience. [1.01] Removing this physical interaction between parties of different backgrounds and beliefs leads to a personal and individual disconnect and misunderstanding of circumstance of the other. Ideally, the public mixing space offers the discomfort, unexpected and unique information about one’s neighbors  which the secondary reality of the internet cannot. However, exchanges between different social groups, financial standings and opposing opinions have become more restricted, as these initially uncomfortable circumstances can be easily avoided. This thesis will therefore demonstrate architectural techniques for encouraging social and spatial curiosity, wonder, intrigue, and engagement. Using a redesigned subway station in Tokyo as a case study, it will show how architecture can disturb the established restrictive monotony and regularity of public space, and purposely create a physical space that allows unexpected circumstances leading to a collective response in movement and action. It will do so through the development of pleasurable spaces of personal reflection and interpersonal interaction, based in places of transitory movement, previously regarded as areas of strict activity and high efficiency. The result challenges the daily routine, thereby rebalancing the human condition of interaction, curiosity and most importantly; wonder.

1.01:  Evans, Robin, Translation from Drawing to Building and Other Essays - Figures, Doors and Passages (MIT Press, 1997) 88.

1.02: Design Experiment. Channeling movement by creating impassable streams of water at irregular and intervals.

With a growing population, scarcity of natural resources, densification of cities, expansions of digital technology and a largely unrestrained, instantaneous information transfer across large distances, the world as it is known today is becoming more interconnected and mentally disengaged in the same grand gesture. Irrelevant of location, time or distance a large majority of the human population can connect with one another in an immediate manner, often times in the form of a face-to-face conversation. Information that once took a long time to transfer can now be shared without restraints, by whomever possesses a device with access to the internet. This technology has an innumerable number of upsides, largely diminishing the negatives when regarded from an economical point of view, but from a humanistic standpoint the downside at the forefront of the technological envelopment of our society is shown in the diminishing public sphere. Whilst the internet aids us in connectivity across great distances, it underplays the importance of face-to-face interaction in the established social life of the city. Removing this physical interaction between parties of different backgrounds and beliefs leads to a personal and individual disconnect and misunderstanding of circumstance of the other. The public mixing space offers the discomfort, unexpected and unique information about one’s neighbors which the internet cannot. The question remaining is whether non-physical, digital interaction and exchange can dehumanize society as it stands today. Exchanges between different social groups, financial standings and opposing opinions become more restricted, as these often times initially uncomfortable circumstances can be easily avoided. No need to listen to a differing opinion or continuously be exposed to political propaganda from the opposing side, with the click of a button this moment of the uncomfortable can be resolved and forever avoided. A space purposely configured for physical interaction with the self and others, will implement a change in sensation no longer know to the average daily routine. Possessing a feeling of the now, the vulnerable and different will bring out an individual free of barriers and allow true freedom in action and speech.

1.03:  Anima-tor. Stacked render showing, from top to bottom, entry space, sun tubes, connector tunnels, terrain room and subway arrivals and departure.

RESEARCH

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