unDressing Spectacle: An Architectural Discourse on the Event of Space
Chow, Christina Wing Sum
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Woven within fashion and dress is the innate ability to create atmosphere and transformative experiences. Architecturally, the façade of a building acts as its skin, having responsibilities that exceed the functions of shelter and materiality. The process of dressing buildings create and shape dynamic relationships with all the elements of its surroundings. Beyond the basic need for convenience and protection, both practices operate as part of a larger world of personified and tailored objects that create ambience and space. This thesis, entitled unDressing Spectacle, explores the parallels between the fashion and architecture within the context of their own industries as well as each other’s. Themes of dress and undress are juxtaposed onto both crafts - literally and metaphorically - at three different scales: the adornment of the individual; the design object within society and the urban fabric; and the discourse between branding and the economic condition. Creating the framework for fantastic events within the urban fabric, this thesis takes the form of a Fashion & Design Event Centre upon which the discourse between user and the design object unfolds. Placed in Toronto’s vibrant west end, the building is a symbol of permanence and an icon for fashion and design. The proposed design is the manifestation of the inherent conflict within the thesis, juxtaposing fashion’s ability to seduce and manufacture desires with the complex structuring of neutral spaces to allow for a multiplicity of users and events. At the city scale, the luminous and dynamic layers of building skin attracts and lures; as users approach and ultimately enter the building, the imagery is transformed into unique atmospheric experiences. This thesis harnesses the glamour of fashion as the medium to ignite the re-imagination of architecture’s value and the interpretation of beauty and style, providing the means for experiences to transcend into a world of spectacle.