Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Advisor

Amelyn Ng

Second Advisor

Debbie Chen


Unconditioning Air rethinks the boundaries contrived through environmental control. For more than a century, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) defined the boundaries of interior air. The regime and tools of mechanical conditioning promise stability and manageability of indoor air quality at the expense of external phenomena, and by extension, any complexity or fluctuation in the environment. As a result, air conditioning premises that ideal interior comfort is “bubble-like”, requiring increasingly standardized and highly regimented regulatory tools. The plethora of patent drawings, duct specifications, and ASHRAE comfort codes produce an oppressively tightening grip over indoor air and comfort, rendering both air and bodies measurable and manageable.

Yet despite the avalanche of regulations and controls, air doesn’t adhere to boundaries HVAC systems impose. Unlike conventional HVAC design, Unconditioning Air reconceptualizes air as an unconditional environmental phenomena to be marked and expressed rather than controlled. Misusing existing ducts and vents, this thesis reworks the material, design, and drawings of air conditioner tools. Through a series of air attachments varying in scale, materials, forms, and connections, Unconditioning Air explores ways to interact with internal and external air movement. These attachments accompanied with drawings of “air studies'' reverse the tools imposing control by manifesting its effects. With these attachments and air studies, this thesis aims to create a liminal space of variable air conditions. Unconditioning Air liberates both air and bodies from the constraints of maintaining interiority and fostering a dynamic interplay of alternative ideals of comfort.



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