Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)




The following work is an experimentation within architecture to promote a social ideology of reuse, where we must first re-frame and dismantle the traditional perceptions of building materials, in order for the discipline of architecture to utilize the practice of unbuilding.The thesis analyzes the suburban condition and its relationship to big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes. Through a re-imagining of this relationship the question of material longevity centers itself as the main design motive for the project and how a new understanding of this potential can be extruded through community engagement. This new depot which the work understands as “municipal” sets to prioritize a dismantling of typical single family residential units, such as wood studs from a wall, as the product for this new depot. The representation of this thesis acts as a field guide to be the main instruction manual for how a community can take part in this process. Specifically our community is centered in a suburb of Chicago that takes full advantage of the grid/lot/alley structure that defines this region of the country. Within this community exists a potential variety of knowledge about construction so information sharing, such as understanding how to build and unbuild, between neighbors is vital. The municipal depot or the less formal “shed”, acts as the hub for this type of information sharing at multiple levels either academic or accidental. The field guide becomes an artifact of this knowledge as it sets to be a basis of this education and transforms into a larger bank of instruction, put together by the community, within the website. It is also important to note that each act of unbuilding is dependent on the main characteristics of the residential units themselves so other implementations of this system should be adaptable rather than standardized of which this is the first of its kind.


View exhibition online: Eric Mason, Unbuilding: A field guide for new practices

Included in

Architecture Commons



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