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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Arbutus infill : housing on the edge Saul, David William Lindsay


The theme of this exploration is the issue of habitability. In its most basic sense, dwilling seems to be defined by constructions which carry social values of privacy. At the same time, the many moves of privacying are understood to be relative to public worlds--to the point that ambiguities persist: the fact that pivate percetions can be exchanged for public ones in the very same spaces. Uncovering these relative and, at times, opposite realities means that a great deal of importance is paid to thresholds. By this, I mean the truns in plan, the drops in section, etc. which relate a sequence of unfolding via devices which stimulate subtleties in mood and awareness. Issues of public to private (and its opposite, simultaneous inversion) are investigated using the concept of nested scales . Here, analogous moods shared by movements through scale (eg. street to courtyard; hall to room) are investigated for their synergy. Parallel to these social perceptions are investigations which focus on the elemental specifics of dwellings. What value can hearths be to dwelling? What is a modern control centre for the household? What are the requirements for the bathing ritual? These types of questions permeate the general evalutaion of dwelling design. Sutides which detail abstracted, idealised elements help to inform the larger project-like a kit of parts, they serve as cornerstones which seed and temper the sequential experience of the dwelling. Ultimately, this abstraction absolves the need to make "rooms" but rather to compose dwellings via the integration of elements filtered through public/private dialogues, sequence, and continuity. The site is bounded by 15th and 16th avenues to the North and South and by Arbutus St. and the CPR right of way to the west and east, respectively. Its dimenstions are 270 feet in length and 16 feet and its narrowest, 44 feet and its widest. The site acts as catalyst for the whole project of fitting in thresholds and elements. Like a sandwich, the site compresses thin, discrete, and identifiable componete parts into a whole building. The very narrowness of the site forces a dialogue to surface between the tremendous, double-sided exposure of the building—its public condition, and the construction of nesting scales of prospect and refuge.

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