...Winner in the Architect’s Newspaper 2018 Best of Design Awards, Student Work category.... M. Arch thesis ... U.C. Berkeley ... advisors: Neyran Turan & Andrew Shanken ... 2017 - 2018 ...

Nature is artificial. Some of it is artifice. How can architecture act as a register of constructed ground in the era of the human as geomorphic agent? This thesis proposes an exposition of sand in the 21st century – an interior architecture of composed scenography that narrates the extraction and exploitation of this ubiquitous resource. Ground in its various forms becomes spectacle.

As the visitor wanders through the exposition’s collection of exhibits and ephemera, they confront the “high volume - low value” paradox of sand as global commodity. The sites and processes depicted showcase the breadth of scales and geographies across which the construction and deconstruction of ground occurs.

The six “rooms” depicted are recreated territories wherein objects are staged and meaning implied. They coexist under the shelter of a larger building envelope which supplies the utilitarian performance of weather barrier, climate control, and artificial illumination. The staged rooms sample from contemporary narratives that bring to light the artifice of ground often presumed as natural. Rather than excluding other sites from the scope of the project, the specificity of place allows each room to act as “grounded” caricature instead of anonymous foil.

Architecture becomes a performance wherein objects are staged and meaning implied – a datum upon which artificial reality is built so that extrinsic factors may be reconsidered.

Copyright © 2018 Jonah Merris