Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Advisor

Jonathan Knowles

Second Advisor

Emanuel Amadassu


This Thesis Project starts a conversation between the coastal edge and the built environment in order to develop a new approach towards transformable architecture design.

Erosion has an inevitable impact on coastal inhabitation. Over time, the water edge erodes and the shoreline retreats, pushing back development or causing existing buildings to collapse. Raised architecture has been a proposed solution to mitigate the impact of oceanic forces on buildings, but I believe there can be a different alternative to this approach.

Erosion could be seen as a ‘transformation that takes place over a period of time’, rather than as an environmental hazard. The change in coastal shape and shift of submerged structures is rich in history. From the hourly change in tides to a collapsing mass, time is a factor that can be used to embrace the ever-changing behavior of the ocean. I welcome time and the behavior of the ocean’s dynamics as design factors in order to tell a story and is meant to be appreciated 50, 100, 500, 1000 years from now. ‘Failure By Design’ is intended to embrace the impact of the coastal environmental factors.

I plan to direct this research in two ways: first, towards the study of form, function and performance. I will test two opposite sites and study their environmental conditions in order to propose a coastal architecture that both mitigates the advanced local erosion and embraces its transformation over time. Second, I will address the following topics synergistically: the impact of coastal environmental conditions, a performative nautical design, materials and technology, and architectural case studies.

Hands on testing, Computation Fluid Dynamic modeling and theory shall lead to an understanding of water as a phenomenon and the forces interacting between the natural and built environment. The research will result in a new tectonic language as well as the development of a self-healing concrete structure to perform as the main character of the overall project.

Included in

Architecture Commons



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