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Cultural visualization through architecture

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Title:
Cultural visualization through architecture
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Pizarro, Fernando
Publisher:
University of South Florida
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Puerto Rico
San Juan
Colonization
Domination
Fusion
Dissertations, Academic -- Architecture and Community Design -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
Genre:
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Summary:
ABSTRACT: As an important part of our lives, stories help us to form both our personal identities and the identities of the social groups that make up our society. They facilitate us to be in contact with our beliefs, our feelings, our knowledge, our perception, and what is significant to us. Similarly, we understand those very things from the stories of others. These stories are obtained through different ways: family, friends, literature, poetry, religion, teachers, movies, art, and so on. Through these, our culture is born and sustained. There is no doubt that architecture is an important defining element of our culture. For that reason, we must decisively evaluate its essential role in the communication of these stories.Being more than just the planning, design and construction of a building, the architecture design process involves the manipulation of mass, space, volume, texture, light, shadow, materials, program, and other elements in order to achieve an end which is aesthetic as well as functional, and if taken further architecture can be experienced through the senses. When thinking about what architecture involves, I have to ask myself a question, can architecture take a more dynamic role in the transmission of our culture; generally, symbolically, and more particularly, by encouraging and reinforcing the dissemination of stories? In our modern-day western built-environment, museums have taken a most active role programmatically in the transmission of our culture and stories. My thesis will focus on this building type. During the last 30 years, museums have experienced a change from presenting real things to the creation of experiences.In essence, exhibitions have transitioned from object-oriented to story-centered. How can architecture better provide this recently modified museum experience? Furthermore, what can architecture do to push this focus even further so that people are better able to absorb these stories and experiences? Before attempting to answer these questions however, I must explain how my thesis question will be explored in actual terms. Consequently, I will investigate how the architecture of a museum can further activate, reinforce, and promote a set of stories important to our culture and country as a whole. My thesis project will be a museum that portrays the sequence of events and cultural history of Puerto Rico. With this in mind, I would like to explore an effective method to convey and inform people about who we are and where we come from.All the elements that had contributed to its creation give this culture the distinctive attributes to set it as the perfect model to use architecture as the tool that will disseminate our cultural history. Given the fact that it is very compelling for people to learn through visualization, the creation of a museum that reflects the Puerto Rican culture would be an outstanding tool to educate people. However, instead of designing a museum that merely houses artifacts, I want to create a museum that tells a story about about Puerto Rico's past and present.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.Arch.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System Details:
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Fernando Pizarro.
General Note:
Title from PDF of title page.
General Note:
Document formatted into pages; contains 62 pages.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002069427
oclc - 608476081
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0003242
usfldc handle - e14.3242
System ID:
SFS0027558:00001


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Full Text

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Cultural Visualization Through Architecture by Fernando Pizarro of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture School of Architecture and Community Design College of The Arts University of South Florida Date of Approval:

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To my wife that has been an unconditional support throughout this Dedication

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support during the last semester Acknowledgments

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i Table of Contents

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ii List of Figures Figure 1. Puertorican dish. Yellow rice & pastelon 1 Figure 2. Dancing salsa 2 Figure 3. Group of kids Dancing Bomba y Plena 3 Figure 4. El Morro Fort 4 Figure 5. Old San Juan street 4 Figure 6. Vedic Mandalas symbol 8 Figure 7. Island of Puerto Rico in Relation To Spain, Africa, and the U.S. 11 Figure 8. Map of San Juan with historic places highlighted in purple 12 Figure 9. Map of PR. with San Juan highlighted in orange 12 Figure10.Map of San Juan with selected site highlighted in orange 13 Figure 11.Map of San Juan showing pedestrian & vehicular circulation 14 Figure 12.Aerial view of San Juan 15 Figure13.Topography of San Juan 15 Figure14.Topography of selected site highlighted in orange 15 Figure15.Site description: size, vegetation, ect... 16 Figure16.Jewish Museum 17 Figure17.Inside view. The void 18 Figure18.Inside Holocaust Museum 19 Figure19.Aerial view of Canadian Museum of Civilization 21 Figure20.Light study Jame Turrell 23 Figure21.Sketch model I 25 Figure22.Sketch model II 25 Figure23.Sketch model III 25 Figure24.Diagrams. Site analysis in terms of view 26 Figure25.Sketch model of tri-parti concept 27 Figure26.Diagram I. Interpretration of Colonization 28 Figure27.Diagram II. Interpretation of Slavery 28 Figure28.Diagram III. Interpretation of fusion 28 Figure29.Initial bubble diagrams of development of schematic plans 29 Figure30.Section diagram of the three buildings 30 Figure31.Diagram of the fusion of cultures to create the Puertorican culture 31 Figure32.Sketch of proposed museum in relation to the capitol building 31 Figure33.Overall project 33 Figure34.Taino statue, dwelling, symbol 34 Figure35.Tainos dwelling 34 Figure36.Tainos building methods &materials 34 Figure37.Tainos village 34 Figure38.El Morro Fort 35 Figure39.Old San Juan street 35

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iii Figure 40.Street pavers in old San Juan 35 Figure 41.Perforated steel used as the skin of the African bldg. 36 Figure 42.African weaving technique 36 Figure 43.African symbol of slavery 36 Figure 44.Type of African dwelling 36 Figure 45.Diagram showing relation between the three bldgs. 37 Figure 46.Timeline of cultural history of PR. 38 Figure 47.Core and boxes system used in each bldg. 38 Figure 48.Exploded axo of the Taino bldg. 39 Figure 49.The core 40 Figure 50.Top part of the core showing how the different materials are connected 40 Figure 51.Section model of Taino bldg. showing spaces and materials 41 Figure 52.Section model showing the spaces & bambo skin 42 Figure 53.Roof structure Taino bldg. 42 Figure 54.Study model of bamboo roof system of Taino bldg. 43 Figure 55.Interior view Kimbell Art Museum 43 Figure 56.Skylight of Kimbell Art Museum 43 Figure 57.Bamboo roof systems and componets 44 Figure 58.Section model showing the different materials 45 Figure 59.Site Plan 46 Figure 60. Section perspective west view 46 Figure 61. Section perspective east view 48 Figure 62. Section perspective north view 49 Figure 63. Floor plans condition spaces 50 Figure 64. Floor plans uncondition spaces 50 Figure 65. Floor plans voids 50 Figure 66. Floor plans condition spaces 51 Figure 67. Floor plans uncondition spaces 51 Figure 68. Floor plans voids 52 Figure 69. Overall project showing the three bldgs. in relation To capitol bldg. 52 Figure 70. Overall project looking from the Altlantic Ocean towards the capitol bldg. 53 Figure 71. Interior view of Taino bldg. 54 Figure 72. Exterior view showing the plaza and Taino bldg. on the right 55 Figure 73. Interior view of Taino bldg. showing proposed channel for water collection on the left 56 Figure 74. Interior view showing lobby area 57 Figure 75. Interior view showing how the boxes are connected to the core 58 Figure 76. Interior view showing circulation, the core, the structure, the bamboo skin, and voids 59 Figure 77. Summary of three cultures concept 60

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iv Fernando Pizarro ABSTRACT As an important part of our lives, stories help us to form both our personal identities and the identities of the social groups that make up our society. They facilitate us to be in contact with our beliefs, to us. Similarly, we understand those very things from the stories of others. These stories are obtained through different ways: fam ily, friends, literature, poetry, religion, teachers, movies, art, and so on. Through these, our culture is born and sustained. There is culture. For that reason, we must decisively evaluate its essential role in the communication of these stories. Being more than just the planning, design and construction of a building, the architecture design process involves the manipulation of mass, space, volume, texture, light, shadow, materials, program, and other elements in order to achieve an end which is aesthetic as well as functional, and if taken further archi tecture can be experienced through the senses. When thinking about what architecture involves, I have to ask myself a question, can architecture take a more dynamic role in the transmission of our culture; generally, symbolically, and more particularly, by encouraging and reinforcing the dissemination of stories? In our modern-day western built-environment, museums have taken a most active role programmatically in the transmission of our culture and stories. My thesis will focus on this building type. During the last 30 years, museums have experienced a change from presenting real things to the creation of experiences. In essence, exhibitions have transitioned from object-oriented to story-centered. How can architecture better provide this recently do to push this focus even further so that people are better able to absorb these stories and experiences? Before attempting to Cultural Visualization Through Architecture

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v answer these questions however, I must explain how my thesis question will be explored in actual terms. Consequently, I will investigate how the architecture of a museum can further activate, reinforce, and promote a set of stories important to our culture and country as a whole. My thesis project will be a museum that portrays the sequence of events and cultural history of Puerto Rico. With this in mind, I would like to explore an effective method to convey and inform people about who we are and where we come from. All the ele ments that had contributed to its creation give this culture the dis tinctive attributes to set it as the perfect model to use architecture as the tool that will disseminate our cultural history. Given the fact that it is very compelling for people to learn through visualization, would be an outstanding tool to educate people. However, instead of designing a museum that merely houses artifacts, I want to create a museum that tells a story about about Puerto Ricos past and present.

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1 Architectural works are perceived as cultural and political symbols and works of art. Historical civilizations are often known primarily through their architectural achievements. Such buildings as the pyramids of Egypt and the Roman Coliseums are cultural symbols, and are an important link in public consciousness, even when scholars have discovered much about a past civilization through other means. Cities, regions and cultures continue to identify them selves with and are known by their architectural monuments. The Puerto Rican culture is somewhat complex, -others will call it colorful. This culture is the product of the fusion of differ ent cultures; the native indigenes (Tainos), the Spaniards, and Europeans, Asians, and Middle Easteners. However, the presence of Spanish, African, and Caribbean groups have had the greatest identity, but a political and social exchange with the U.S. has also helped to shape the local culture as well. This fusion has led to a unique food, music, language, religion, architecture, arts, crafts and living style (Mid deldyk, 1975). When addressing European involvement in Puerto Rico, the em phasis must be on Spain, the islands colonizer. Spanish heritage has left an indelible mark on the island and signs of this cultural exchange can be 1. Introduction Figure 1. Puertorican dish. Yellow rice & pastelon

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2 development of the performing arts on the island, especially in music. Many of the island's musical genres have their origins in the Spanish culture, which is responsible for such genres of music like decima, seis, danza, mamba, and so on. Puerto Ricans even adopted Europe's classical music, which was popular among the members of the elite upper-class society (Middeldyk, 19975). With the introduction of African slavery to the colony, the island and most recently in reggaeton. language is spoken in Puerto Rico. More subtle ties also exist, such as those that connect Puerto Ricos literary history with the Figure 2. Dancing Salsa

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3 Figure 2. rich African tradition of oral storytelling. The shared heri dance as well as in local culinary styles. The neighboring islands music are Cuba and the Dominican Republic. A number of Latin particularly in helping the island to develop its own distinct cultural identity (Middledyk, 1975). Culturally, Puerto Rican sentiment for the U.S. tends to vary be tween emulation and opposition, a result of the complicated socioas jazz can be found in the development of the islands unique musical style, but there is also evidence of cultural antagonism, particularly in areas such as literature. Although Puerto Rico has been part of the United States of Ameri Figure 1.03 Group of kids dancing Bomba y Plena Figure 3. Group of Kids dancing Bomba y Plena

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4 ca for over a century and its culture is a product of the fusion be the cultural fabric. Therefore, it is immediately clear to see that of its history when its architecture is examined. For example, the narrow winding cobblestone roads are reminiscent of Andalusia, South of Spain. San Juan is said to be home to over 400 historic sites ranging from examples of classic architecture and old mili tary power. Puerto Rico houses some of the most interesting 16th and 19th century architecture in the Caribbean and indeed, in the medieval-style and baroque architecture in close proximity to one another. There is even an example of true Gothic architecture in the San Jos Church which was built in the 16th century (Middel dyk, 1975). Figure 4. El Morro Fort Figure 5. Old San Juan street

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5 tions with the environment that make a region and/or a group of people different from the rest of the world. Puerto Rico, without a doubt has several unique characteristics that distinguish our cul ture from any other. Skin color and other physical characteristics are used by residents in the island of Puerto Rico to identify themselves in terms of race. The terms trigueo ( olive-skinned, golden-brown), blanco (White skinned) and moreno (dark-skinned) are perceived by Puerto by other societies. Race as a form of identity is a recent concept in human history ac cording to Audrey Smedley of the Department of Sociology and An thropology at the Virginia Commonwealth University. She goes on to say that race has become equivalent and the dominant source of human identity, in many cases surpassing all other aspects of i dentity. The problem Smedley sees with that is that no social ingredient in our understanding of race has allowed for mixed-races expres sions of which are recognized by many Spanish-speaking cultures as in the Puerto Ricans trigueos and morenos. This problem is highlighted by the misunderstood attempts in other societies such the American to establish a mixed-race category. The result is that a large group of Puerto Ricans are left feeling an absence of iden tity because they do not exist formally. Puerto Ricans as a unicul tural, multicultural, integrated group entering a multiethnic, biracial, segregated society is intriguing, for instance, nearly every Puerto Rican has heard, at least once in his or her life, you dont look Puerto Rican. The implication is that there is a Puerto Rican look although, given the racial diversity of Puerto Ricans, it is hard to tell what this would be. Are Puerto Ricans black or white because of their skin? Do Puerto Ricans have an American culture? What 2. Problem

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6 kind of culture do they have? Why do they all look so different? These are only some of the questions that many societies have about Puerto Ricans. Puerto Ricans of all colors and ancestry would say that they are just Puerto Ricans. The most telling fact about Puerto Rican culture is its emphasis on difference, and most notably, on the distinction between cultures of colonial peoples and that of imperialists society. Puerto Ricans are neither black nor white, they are simply Puerto Ricans, as illustrated in the following poem: Were encountered by the discoverers, There in my lost land. Women of bronze complexion, Of the Borinquen tribes, With her encouraging gaze, that She displayed to the white man. Resulting in their crossing: The Puerto Rican Race. Those sons of the Iberic lands, Upon arriving at my shores, Conquered the love Of the charming Indian maid. In the brook and the hill, To the white man who was her ruin, She gave her enchantment and charm. And from both was born the mestizo Of Latin lineage. Responding to his destiny, The Indian brave succumbed; Then the Landino Spaniard Brought the black slave; He was treacherous with the black woman

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7 And against divine law Made her his concubine Within his household. So then was born the brown-skinned man Between Africa, where the sun scorches And Siberia, with its frozen lava, Amongst opulence and misery My race was established. Where it is not rare to see married A white man and a brown-skinned woman Or, a northern blonde With a dark prestigious man, Because that is rightly the vestige Of the Puerto Rican race. (By Placido Figueroa) It is nearly impossible to explain with simple words the Puerto Ri understand our origins, diverse race and cultural composition. This is the problem that Puerto Ricans have faced for 500 years.

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8 the sequence of events and cultural history of Puerto Rico, it will result in a compelling tool to educate people by disseminating our cultural history and all the elements that contributed to its creation. Architecture as a profession contributes to different aspects of society, but more importantly, it also plays an important role in a culture of a country. For that reason, there are institutions with great responsibility to collect, preserve and exhibit our tangible and non tangible heritage and culture. Every city has at least one, and great cities often have more. From the Louvre to the Bilbao Guggenheim, the museum has had a long-standing relationship with the city. In such circumstances, museums as integral part of society can play an important role by showing people the cultural aspects of a country. Museums are one platform where one can learn about different cultures throughout the world by viewing intriguing exhibits, which display artifacts and art and showcasing the history and diversity of multicultural communities, and foster ing greater understanding, appreciation, tolerance and pride of our heritage. One of the missions of the museum is bridging the gap through exhibits and programs, by providing visitors the opportu nity to foster an understanding and appreciation of diverse ethnic and cultural heritages. If well designed, museums can certainly become more than just a plain structure that merely houses artifacts. The architecture itself should provoke emotion in even the most careless visitor. To achieve that, the use of symbolism must play an important role in such a task. Symbols have always been an important part of an architects design vocabulary. For example, in recent years some architects in India have used an cient symbols such as Vedic mandalas as a basis for planning and design of buildings. This can be seen 3. Hypothesis Figure 6. Vedic Mandala symbols

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9 in the way we use symbols to give meaning to the world around us. Human cultures have also seen meaning in many geometric shapes often associated with religious and spiritual concepts. The effect of such symbols is usually subconscious therefore; it can be very powerful and instinctive. When using symbolism, architecture ebration of the stories (Fegshui Seminars with Roger Green).

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10 There are three concepts that are projected to communicate to one another in order to inform the characteristics qualities of the overall design. 1. Symbolism 2. Materiality 3.Circulation It is essential to state that one element on its own cannot develop a successful cultural museum. The central design method of the three is the concept of symbolism ing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings derstanding how the culture of Puerto Rico was created it is crucial in order to successfully manipulate the architecture of the building in a symbolic way. The second method entails in depth the understanding of material ity in architecture. Materiality in architecture is the concept of, or applied use of, various materials or substances in the medium of building. Materials are endowed with meaning, can evoke feelings, trigger connotations and address deeper levels of our understand ing. Putting materials to best use involves an appreciation of their innate sensory qualities as well as their technical potential. ture, circulation refers to the way people move through and Interact with a building. In public buildings, circulation is of high importance; for example, in buildings such as museums, it is key to have a necessity to retrace ones steps, allowing a visitor to see each work in a sequential, natural fashion. Structures such as elevators, escalators, and staircases are often referred to as circulation ele people through a building. 4. Methodology

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11 The proposed site will be located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Juan is the capital and largest municipality in Puerto Rico. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 433,733, making it the 42nd-largest city in the United States. San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico (Rich Port City). Puerto Ricos capital is the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic.[3] Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the citys former defen sive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristobl, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas. 5. Site Analysis Figure 7. Island of Puerto Rico in relation to Spain, Africa, and the U.S

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12 Today, San Juan serves as one of Puerto Ricos most important tourism center. The city has been the host of numerous impor tant events within the sports community, including the 1979 Pan American Games, 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics and the Caribbean Series. During the Spanish colonial times most of the urban population resided in what is now known as Old San Juan. This sector is located on the western half of a small island called the Isleta de San Juan, which is connected to the mainland by two bridges and a causeway. The small island, which comprises an area of 47 mi (122 km), also hosts the working class neighbor hood of Puerta de Tierra and most of Puerto Ricos central govern ment buildings, including the Commonwealths Capitol. The main central part of the city is characterized by narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque colonial buildings, some of which date back to the 16th and 17th century. Sections of the old city are sur rounded by massive walls and several defensive structures and notable forts. Figure 8. Map of Puerto Rico with San Juan highlighted in orange Figure 9. Map of San Juan highlighted with historic places high lighted in purple

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13 Figure 10. Map of San Juan with selected site highlighted in orange

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14 The main central part of the city is char acterized by narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque colonial buildings, some of which date back to the 16th and 17th century. Sections of the old city are sur rounded by massive walls and several defensive structures and notable forts. These include the 16th century Fort San Felipe del Morro and 17th toric Site, and the 16th century El Palacio de Santa Catalina, also known as La Fortaleza, which serves as the governors mansion. Other buildings of interest predating the 20th century are the Ayun tamiento or Alcalda (City Hall), the Diputacin Provincial and the Real Intendencia buildings, which currently house the Puerto Rico Department of State [20], the Casa Rosa, the San Jos Church (1523) and the adjacent Hotel El Convento, the former house of the Ponce de Len family known as Casa Blanca, the Teatro Tapia, the former Spanish barracks (now Mu seum of Ballaj), La Princesa (former municipal jail, now head quartering the Puerto Rico Tourism Company), and the municipal cemetery of Santa Mara Magdalena de Pazzis, located just out side the city walls.[21][22][23] The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista (construction began in the 1520s) is also located in Old San Juan, and contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer and settlement Figure 11. Map of San Juan showing Pedestrian & vehicular circulation

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15 founder Juan Ponce de Len Old San Juan, also known as the old city, is the main cultural tourist attraction in Puerto Rico; its bayside is lined by dock slips for large cruise ships. Figure 12. Aerial view of San Juan Figure 13. Topography of San Juan Figure 14. Topography of selected site highlighted in orange

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16 Figure 15. Site description: size, vegetation, ect.....

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17 Jewish Museum At this level, the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind is a good example how this could be achieved. The Danish Jewish Museum is based on the unique story of Danish Jews who were saved by the Danes in October 1943. The concept for the Museum was developed from the Hebrew word Mitzvah an obligation or a good deed which is symbolized in the form, structure and light of the Museum. Also the design has a foundation on a rather involved process of connecting line between locations of historic events and loca tions of Jewish culture in Berlin. These lines form a basic outline and structure for the building. The design of the Danish Jewish Museum has both urban and architectural aspects. On the urban level it ties together the new library and the old library by activating the pe destrian walk along the Proviantgrden in the interior of the Royal Library courtyard. It does so by turning one of its internal planes, Exodus, into an urban space in which water and a symbolic row boat dramatically speak to the uniqueness of the survival of the Danish Jewish community. Libeskind also has used the concepts of absence, emptiness, and the invisibleexpressions of the disappearance of Jewish culture in the cityto design the build ing. This concept takes form in a kinked and angled sequence through the building, orchestrated to allow the visitor to see (but not to enter) certain empty rooms, which Libeskind terms voided voids. The ideas which generate the plan of the building repeat themselves on the surface of the building, where voids, windows, and perforations form a sort of cosmological composition on an otherwise undifferentiated zigzagging zinc surface. Figure 16. Jewish Museum 6. Case Study

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18 The intellectual narrative which generates Libeskinds work is complicated and inaccessible to the uninitiated, the building itself should stir emotion in even the most casual visitor (Schneider, Bernhard and Libeskin, 1999). Conclusion: Certainly, the importance of the museum was as much to inform of the historical struggle of the Jewish people in Germany as it was an icon situated in the heart of Berlin. It is simultaneously strange while being wonderful; it is the architectural construct of Libes kinds symbolic representation of the Jewish struggle. The ideas that formed the foundation for the museum are succesfully seen in the way the architect manipulated architecture. Using sybmolism the Jewish Museum exhibits the social, political and cultural his tory of the Jews in Germany from the 4th century to the present. The design of the Museum engenders a fundamental rethinking of architecture in relation to its program. Figure 17. Inside view. The Void

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19 Holocaust Museum Likewise, The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC by Architect James Ingo Freed, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, created an architectural relationship between the museum building and the exhibitions within. To inform his design, he visited a number of ho locaust sites, including camps and ghettos, to examine structures and materials. The result is not a neutral shell. Instead, the archi tecture, by a collection of abstract forms invented and drawn from memory refers to the history the Museum addresses. make their own interpretations. Freed wants the visitor to experi understanding, the building is not meant to be intellectually understood. Its architecture of sensibility is intended to engage the visitor and stir the emotions, allow for horror and sadness, ultimately to disturb. As Freed says, It must take you in its grip. The subtle metaphors and symbolic remi niscences of history are vehicles for thought and introspection. In Freeds words, There are no literal references to particular places or occurrences from the historic event. Instead, the archi tectural form is open-ended so the Museum becomes a resonator of memory (22). 7. Case Study Figure 18. Inside Holocaust museum

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20 Conclusion: What is interesting about this Holocaust museum is what the ar chitect intentions were. This museum is about creating a rather dif ferent experience characterized by or dealing with coarse or base emotions. The museum emotional response deliberately takes on the visitors blending their emotions in a way that will perhaps result in a variety of unique judgments depending on each individual. Therefore, using architecture to tell a story is really important for this type of building, but also evoking emotions to make visitors feel the anxiety of the architects intetions will certainly make the experience to a certain extent more remarkable.

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21 Canadian Museum of Civilization In another case, designed by native-Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal, the Canadian Museum of Civilization is considered one of the most striking architectural masterpieces of the twentieth century. The award-winning building, with its dramatic, curved lines, attracts admirers from all over the world and is considered When asked about his design for the Canadian Museum of Civi lization, architect Douglas Cardinal replied, The Museum will be symbolic in form. It will speak of the emergence of this continent, its forms sculpted by the winds, the rivers, the glaciers. It will speak of the emergence of humanity from the melting glaciers, of man and woman living in harmony with the forces of nature and evolv learned to cope with the environment, then mastered it shaped it to the needs of their own goals and aspirations. The project to build CMC brought Cardinal squarely into the national architectural arena. His understanding of his task was embod ied in the opening paragraph of his conceptual design proposal: Symbols are the way we communicate. Words and sounds are symbols and writings are symbols of words and sounds. 8. Case Study Figure 19. Aerial view of Canadian Museum of Civilization

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22 Pictures are symbols of feelings, events, and can communicate impressions beyond words in two dimensions. Sculpture goes be yond pictures to symbolize impressions. Architecture, perceived as living sculpture, symbolizes even more the goals and aspirations of our culture. My challenge is to evoke images, creating images in sculptural and architectural forms that symbolize the goals and zation). Conclusion: In the expression of form, the architect is free to communicate his own personality and concepts. However, the architects principal responsibility in the formation of style is to create meaningful form. That is exactly what the architect achieved in this particular build ing. It is really interesting seeing how the architecture of the Ca nadian Museum of Civilization was manipulated to actually tell the story of the Canadian civilization. Its architecture speaks of the materialization of the Canadian shield and the elements that contributed to its creation. The way that the architect understood the task and how he used symbolism to create this building whose architecture tells a set of stories will certainly be very helpful for my project because it gives me a better understanding how to deal with forms and how to make the forms of my project meaningful.

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23 James Turrell tions in light and space that speak to viewers without words, im pacting the eye, body, and mind with the force of a spiritual awak ening. I want to create an atmosphere that can be consciously plumbed with seeing, says the artist, like the wordless thought The Artists). Informed by his studies in perceptual psychology and optical illusions, Turrells work allows us to see ourselves see ing. Whether harnessing the light at portal, Turrells art places viewers in a realm of pure experience Situated near the Grand Canyon and Arizonas Painted Desert is Roden Crater, an extinct volcano the artist has been transforming into a celestial observatory for the past thirty years. Working with cosmological phenomena that have interested man since the dawn of civilization and have prompted responses such as Stonehenge and the Mayan calendar, Turrells crater brings the heavens down to earth, linking the actions of people with the movements of plan ets and distant galaxies. His fascination with the phenomena of light is ultimately connected to a very personal, inward search for 9. Case Study Figure 20. Light study. James Turrell

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24 which he characterizes as having a straightforward, strict presen tation of the sublime, Turrells art prompts greater self-awareness through a similar discipline of silent contemplation, patience, and meditation. His ethereal installations enlist the common properties of light to communicate feelings of transcendence and the Divine. In essence the use of symbolism seems as the most dominant strategy used to create an environment that tells a series of stories without words. Therefore, exploring light and space in depth will actually strengthen the creation (Art in the Twenty-First Century: The Artists). Conclusion: incorporate both conceptual and aesthetic issues as well as techni cal issues. The importance of considering lighting at all stages of the design process is stressed by presenting lighting as part of a cohesive design approach. Therefore, the works of James Turrell are examples of how light is explore depht to actually strength the entire creation.

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25 At this stage of the thesis process, the introduction of possible building schemes begins to take shape. The initial schematics of The sketch models depict a bridge that either rests on the site or extends from the existing plaza to the water. After the parti was developed, three distinct schematic concepts were devised. Using the main parti and site as the driving force, each schematic began as a diagram. The next step was too further evolve the schematics into physical models. 10. Conceptual Design Figure 21. Sketch model I Figure 22. Sketch model II Figure 23. Sketch model III

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26 The consideration of the view was an important factor for the development of the scheme because right in front of the pro posed site is where the capitol building is. Therefore, immediately I started responding to the site conditions and the surroundings. Figure 24. Diagrams. Site analysis in terms of views

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27 In this sketch model the building in the center eventhough in terms of height is lower than the other two, still was not enough to actu ally frame the view for the Capitol building. Therefore, I continued with the exploration. Figure 25. Sketch model of tri-parti concept

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28 Colonization Slavery Fusion Figure 26. Diagram I. Interpretation of colonization Figure 27. Diagram II. Interpretation of Slavery Figure 28. Diagram III. Interpretation of fusion

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29 Figure 29. Initial bubble diagrams of the development of schematics plans

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30 The solution to frame the view was to actually design the building in the center from street level going down while the other two raise from street level up. Figure 30. Section diagramo of the three buildings scheme

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31 The sketch below shows how the view has been framed for the Capitol building without disrupting the existing plaza that will act as the inviting element. 1 1 2 2 3 3 Figure 31. Sketch of proposed museum in relation to the capitol building Figure 32. Diagram of the fusion of culture to create the Puertorican culture

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32 2,800 sq. f.t 1,800 sq. f.t 500 sq. f.t 1,200 sq. f.t 600 sq. f.t 700 sq. f.t 800 sq. f.t 800 sq. f.t 9,000 sq. f.t 9,000 sq. f.t 9,000 sq. f.t 1,300 sq. f.t 1,300 sq. f.t 3,500 sq. f.t 600 sq. f.t 200 sq. f.t sq. f.t 6,000 sq. f.t 4,000 sq. f.t 2,000 sq. f.t 4,000 sq. f.t 2,500 sq. f.t 1,500 sq. f.t sq. f.t sq. f.t 500 sq. f.t Total approx. for each bldg. 49,200 sq. f.t sq. f.t 11. Program

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33 At this stage of the project it has been already established that the entire composition is based on three buildings that are the representation of the three different cultures: Spanish, Tainos, and African. However it is necessary to state that only the building that represents the Taino culture is the one that has been developed in more detail. As stated before, there are three concepts that are projected to communicate to one another in order to inform the characteristics qualities of the overall design. 1. Symbolism 2. Materiality 3.Circulation Starting with the Tainos building, I looked at Tainosvernacular architecture to understand about the materials and methods used by them. When researching the types of materials it is obvious that what they used to build their dwellings was found in nature. The Tainos used two primary architectural styles for their homes. 12. Conceptual Ideology & Design Development Figure 33. Overall project showing the three buildings in relation to capitol building

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34 The general population lived in circular buildings with poles provid ing the primary support and these were covered with woven straw and palm leaves. Subsequently, The challenge was to carefully select materials that were appropriate for a modern cultural facility and at the same time the selected materials becoming a symbolic representation of the materials used by the Taino culture. Figure 34. Tainos statue, dwelling, symbol Figure 35. Tainos Dwelling Figure 36. Tainos building methods & materials Figure 37. Tainos village

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35 Likewise, the building that represents the Spanish culture was As a result, the building is strongly responding to the axial condi tion established by the capitol building which is front of the proposed site. The main challege was to create a structure with a strong sense of power. That is represented in the way that the building is achored in the ground creating this sense of colonizantion in other words I chored in the ground is to frame the view of the capitol building instead of blocking it. By sinking the spanish building the top part becomes a plaza that actually creates the sense that is a continuation of the imposing colonial architecture of the capitol building. The selection of material for this building was another importan aspect for the development of it. Therfore, concrete is the dominat material for this building because it better relates to the materials used in the colonial architectuere. Figure 38. El Morro Fort Figure 39. Old San Juan street Figure 40. Street pavers in Old San Juan

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36 Figure 41. Perforated steel. Used as the skin for the African building Figure 42. African weaving techniques Figure 43. African symbol of slavery Figure 44. Type of African dwelling Correspondingly, the building that represents the African culture as well as the Tainos and Spanish buildings, symbolism is the design ing guide to create a representation of the African culture and what they faced when brought as slaves to Puerto Rico by the Spanish people. The research for this particular building was concentrated in the way that africans build their dwellings and the weaving tech niques use by them. More importantly, how to translate slavery into this building was crucial in the development of it. That was achieved by the use of a perforated steel sheet that becomes the skin of the building and at the same time is an interpretation of the of the African symbol that

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37 Taino African Spanish Figure 45. Diagram showing the relation between the three buildings Interior platform where buildings connect

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38 Figure 46. Timeline of cultural history of PR. 1493 Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico 1510 Taino vs Spanish 1513 African slaves are Introduced into the island 1873 Slavery is abolished 1900 Puerto Rico is ceded to the U.S by Spain after the Spanish vs American war. 1917 American citizenship Figure 47. Core & Box system used in each building The diagrams on the right shows the core & boxes system used in all three building. The idea of this concept came from the cultural timeline of Puerto Rico. The core represents the timeline and each concrete box represents a different periond of time and how the

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39 Figure 48. Exploded axo of the Taino building Bamboo skin Skylight Bamboo roof Structural Frame Concrete Boxes The Core

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40 Figure 49. The Core. Figure 50. Top part of the core showing how the different materials are connected

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41 Figure 51. Section model of taino building showing spaces & materials

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42 Figure 52. Section model showing the spaces & bambo skin Figure 53. Roof structure of Taino building

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43 Figure 54. Study Model of bamboo roof system of Taino building Figure 55. Interior view Kimbell Art Museum Figure 56. Skylight of kimbell Art Museum One of the challeges of the building that represents the Taino culture was the roof. In order to allow natural light coming from above, I came up with this I idea of spacing the bamboo in such a way that a light pattern is seen when inside the facility as seen

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44 Steel rod Bamboo halves Sunlight Spacers Figure 57. Bamboo roof system and components

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45 Figure 58. Section model showin the different materials proposed. Bamboo. Steel, and concrete Channel for rain collection

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46 13. Final Schematics Figure 59. Site Plan

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47 Figure 60. Section Perspective west view

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48 Figure 61. Section Perspective east view

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49 Figure 62. Section Perspective north view

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50 Figure 63. Floor Plans. Condition spaces Figure 64. Floor Plans. Uncondition spaces Figure 65. Floor Plans. Voids

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51 Figure 66. Floor Plans. Condition spaces Figure 67. Floor Plans. Uncondition spaces Figure 68. Floor Plans. Voids

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52 Figure 69. Overall project showing the three buildings in relation to capitol building

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53 Figure 70. Overall project looking from the Atlantic Ocean towards The capitol building

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54 Figure 71. Interior view of Taino building

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55 Figure 72. Exterior view showing the plaza and Taino building on the right

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56 Figure 73. Interior view of Taino building showing proposed channel for water collection on the left

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57 Figure 74. Interior view showing lobby area

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58 Figure 75. Interior view showing how the boxes are connected to the core

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59 Figure 76. Interior view showing circulation, the core, the structure, the bamboo skin, and voids

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60 1 2 3 Figure 77. These two images are the summary of the concept of the three cultures and how that was translated into architecture

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61 In conclusion, After several months of research and designing to create a facility that evokes the cultural identity of Puerto Rico, this project has come not to an end but to a point of further exploration. A point that, hopefully, will motivate myself and others to explore more in depth how symbolism, materiality, and circulation can be translated into architecture in order to use architecture as the me dium that will communicate a series of stories. Conclusion

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62 Art in the Twenty-First Century: the Artists. PBS. 17 April 2009. . Canadian Museum of Civilization. civilization.ca. 10 Dec 2004. 3 March 2009. Fengshui Seminars with Roger Green. fengshuiseminars.com. 3 March 2009. < http://www.fengshuiseminars.com/articles/ancientsym bols.html> Architectural Book Pub, Co. 1965. Freed, James Ingo. The United States Holocaust Memorial Mu seum: What Can It Be? Washington, D.C.?: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, 1990. Schneider, Bernhard, and Daniel Libeskind. Daniel Libeskind: Jew ish Museum Berlin : between the Lines. Munich: Prestel, 1999. Van Middeldyk, R. A. The History of Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican experience. Bibliography


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ABSTRACT: As an important part of our lives, stories help us to form both our personal identities and the identities of the social groups that make up our society. They facilitate us to be in contact with our beliefs, our feelings, our knowledge, our perception, and what is significant to us. Similarly, we understand those very things from the stories of others. These stories are obtained through different ways: family, friends, literature, poetry, religion, teachers, movies, art, and so on. Through these, our culture is born and sustained. There is no doubt that architecture is an important defining element of our culture. For that reason, we must decisively evaluate its essential role in the communication of these stories.Being more than just the planning, design and construction of a building, the architecture design process involves the manipulation of mass, space, volume, texture, light, shadow, materials, program, and other elements in order to achieve an end which is aesthetic as well as functional, and if taken further architecture can be experienced through the senses. When thinking about what architecture involves, I have to ask myself a question, can architecture take a more dynamic role in the transmission of our culture; generally, symbolically, and more particularly, by encouraging and reinforcing the dissemination of stories? In our modern-day western built-environment, museums have taken a most active role programmatically in the transmission of our culture and stories. My thesis will focus on this building type. During the last 30 years, museums have experienced a change from presenting real things to the creation of experiences.In essence, exhibitions have transitioned from object-oriented to story-centered. How can architecture better provide this recently modified museum experience? Furthermore, what can architecture do to push this focus even further so that people are better able to absorb these stories and experiences? Before attempting to answer these questions however, I must explain how my thesis question will be explored in actual terms. Consequently, I will investigate how the architecture of a museum can further activate, reinforce, and promote a set of stories important to our culture and country as a whole. My thesis project will be a museum that portrays the sequence of events and cultural history of Puerto Rico. With this in mind, I would like to explore an effective method to convey and inform people about who we are and where we come from.All the elements that had contributed to its creation give this culture the distinctive attributes to set it as the perfect model to use architecture as the tool that will disseminate our cultural history. Given the fact that it is very compelling for people to learn through visualization, the creation of a museum that reflects the Puerto Rican culture would be an outstanding tool to educate people. However, instead of designing a museum that merely houses artifacts, I want to create a museum that tells a story about about Puerto Rico's past and present.
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