Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Anais Missakian

Second Advisor

Lisa Scull

Third Advisor

Jonathan Knowles


The escalating climate crisis has exposed many cracks in conventional building systems. Modern architectural processes contribute to climate change by consuming high levels of energy throughout the building cycle—from sourcing materials to construction to energy use once buildings are in use. Conventional architecture’s emphasis on heaviness and permanence makes these problems unavoidable. Light, temporary architecture is a solution to both the environmental impacts of the practice (the cause) and to the challenges of living in ever more impermanent situations (the effect). As climate change continues to manifest in rising global temperatures, sea level rise, drought, unpredictable weather, and natural disasters, the need for new solutions will continue to grow.

Textile Architecture is a process-led and systems-based design solution for creating transitional architectural spaces from woven jacquard textiles. Jacquard fabrics are especially suited to temporary architecture because complex patterns and structures can be combined seamlessly across a surface of continuous material, and the weaving process can engineer performance into the fabric at strategic locations through weave structure and fiber content. The result is a light, flexible textile that can be adapted depending on the local needs of the user, whether they are children in public greenspaces or people facing displacement. Textile architecture is not new, but it is ready for reinvention and activation by textile designers working in collaboration with architects. It stands as a blueprint and points toward a lighter, more sustainable future for architecture and the earth.


View exhibition online: Zoe Yates, TEXTILE ARCHITECTURE



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