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Process And Space

Part 1 Dissertation 2001
Mark Drane
Manchester School of Architecture Manchester | UK
Terraced houses and ISO shipping containers do not appear to have much in common. Architects like ISO containers used as offices and terraced houses used as road-grit bins for their 'irony', but they fail to recognise the fact that containers are a fantastic response to the demand for transporting goods and that bylaw terraced houses were an excellent solution to the sanitary and social demands of early industrial cities.

Thus process links the two objects: architecture must comprehend the underlying processes involved in a brief otherwise it risks merely aping the aesthetics of good design rather than understanding it.

Even Corbusier proposed that architecture is formed from understanding standard processes. However much architecture of the last century has continued to fall back on argunments over style and has failed to actually address what the nature of process-driven design might be.

This dissertation aims to understand process better and to analyse how it operates in different contexts. This is achieved through investigation of ISO shipping containers and bylaw terraced housing - respectively the greatest process driven designs of the 20th and 19th centuries.

Mark Drane

Mark Drane

Process and Space

This dissertation explores two comparative systematically based design solutions: terraced housing and freight containerisation. In the study the author explores the functional forces that have shaped the two systems drawing comparisons where evident. The underlying concern is how process based systems of design can actively inform spatial configuration. Having defined the primary characteristics of these rule based systems (terraced housing and containerisation) the author then explores the boundary where the system breaks down or is forced to deform to external pressures. This is achieved through original research work that identifies archetypal examples, using them to demonstrate consistency within the system, systematic limits and the amazing spatial qualities of the two systems at their most extreme. The work is provocative in that it questions the need for a site-based response to a design question, arguing coherently that consistent and powerful spatial form can emerge solely from the internal functional logic of a programme.

Mark Drane conducted the research and writing of this dissertation with fastidious attention to detail, reflected in its high production values and thorough and original research work, allied to an innovative argument. He is an excellent student.

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