Design Studio led by Peter Testa.
Concrete Views of Abstract Forms
In the era of ubiquitous digitization, the new reality has shifted from physical to modern virtual. In order to adjust and reclaim its value, architecture needs to formally readapt and shift its priorities to remain relevant. This thesis explores the role of optical perception versus physical presence of architecture in relation to its cultural and urban settings.
St. Gallen, or traditionally St. Gall, is a small medieval city located in eastern Switzerland and primarily known as a university town with a focus on the economic sciences and research. Working on the extension of the main campus of the University of St. Gallen business school, my project introduces a degree of formal abstraction and produces tension between isolated objects. Acting on an interplay between static and ever-changing, it creates a visually familiar, yet unanticipated environment by moving beyond binding architecture to its locality per se.
Using Christ & Gantenbein’s “Swiss National Museum” extension proposal as the primary architectural precedent, my project produces and highlights formal ambiguity through the means of sampling profiles and silhouettes of pre-existing buildings on and around the project site, and reconstructing them into a volumetric composition of vaguely recognizable multi-faceted shapes with binaries, such as concave-convex, solid-hollow, remote-close and such. The experience of uncanny geometric ambivalence is enhanced by quiet homogenous materiality, scale play, and optical effects like involution, foreshortening, and extension of space.