Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Advisor

Junko Yamamoto

Second Advisor

Leeland McPhail


In an era of rapid globalization, architecture faces the challenge of balancing local cultural identity with global influences. This project explores the critical issue of how the loss of traditional craft is resulting in the erosion of visual identity in architecture. It advocates for an architectural approach that resists the placelessness and rootlessness often seen in modern construction, which frequently results from standardized building practices.

The thesis emphasizes the importance of a deeper engagement with materials and their crafting, highlighting the need for an understanding of local, cultural, and environmental impacts to promote sustainable and meaningful architectural practices. By focusing on ceramic materials—from delicate glazed objects to durable clay bricks—this project examines the tension between traditional craftsmanship and industrial methods that prioritize efficiency over ethics, often leading to labor exploitation and environmental degradation.

This comprehensive exploration of ceramic building materials delves into their fabrication, spatial qualities, and distinct behaviors. It aims to contribute to and strengthen the argument for a slower, more thoughtful approach to architecture. By emphasizing architecture’s enduring relevance, rooted in historical processes while considering the future of society and the environment, the project seeks to develop a material framework that celebrates ceramic resources.

Through investigation and experimentation, the project reveals insights into scale, texture, weight, light, and porosity, pushing the boundaries of the clay brick. By deploying a series of terracotta building units, it creates unique climatic and lighting conditions. Ultimately, this design ethos challenges conventional production and innovation, aligning with the broader ideas of sustainability and human-centric values in architecture.

In summary, this project advocates for a renewed appreciation of traditional craftsmanship and critical regionalism in architecture. It highlights the importance of maintaining visual identity through the thoughtful use of materials and techniques, ensuring that the built environment remains meaningful and connected to its cultural and environmental context.



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