Responsive architecture for augemented human proportions.

“Proportion is a correspondence among the measures of the members of an entire work, and of the whole to a certain part selected as standard. From this results the principles of symmetry. Without symmetry and proportion there can be no principles in the design of any temple; that is, if there is no precise relation between its members as in the case of those of a well-shaped man.”
—Vitruvius, [1] The Ten Books of Architecture (III, Ch. 1)

From early Greek architecture to the architectural graphic standards to Le Corbusier's Modulor system, human scale and proportion have been fundamental to architecture and design. Key technological advancements in history, however, have created the need to reconsider this humanist approach. Advances in computation and prosthetic technology have put us on the verge of a cultural change generated by the development of new, stronger, more accurate body parts. Similar to plastic surgery in the 20th century, human augmentation in the 21st century will become a commodity that allows the body’s proportions to be skewed, unique, and unprecedented. The new augmentations will force architecture to rethink how it relates to the ideal standard of the body of the past to scale and proportion now.

Instead of pushing design through utilitarian views and optimization, the architecture is driven through techniques of modern dance. Looking to revolutionary techniques of choreographers such as Rudolph Laban and William Forsythe, the architecture takes on a body of its own and interacts in the daily routine of the bodies within. This thesis is tested through the design of a residence that coincides and relates to the proportions and scales of two different bodies- one that is the conventional human body and one that is augmented with the addition of a longer robotic arm and a pair of longer robotic legs. The architecture’s body has been designed with robotic components so that it is malleable and adaptable on the interior to reflect proportion, size, shape, and any dimension (cultural, ethnic, social, sexual, etc.) of the human bodies as they interact and change on a daily basis. This thesis will explore an architecture that negotiates between different scales and proportions of the human body through a system of choreography.

Role: Concept, Research, Architectural Design, Rendering, Animation, Video Production
Date: 2012
Client: SCI-Arc Thesis
Team: Boris Cortes
Instructor: Dwayne Oyler