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The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Los Angeles, CA

The title of my thesis is puzzling. Puzzling as in making a puzzle, puzzling as in solving a puzzle, puzzling as in the act of thinking, and puzzling as in enigmatic. Through  a process of obfuscation, I have created an organizational mechanism that organizes space unpredictably but not illegibly. The process started with a w-flange. Ignoring most of the use and construction aspects of the beam, I set out to develop a method of making an organizational structure. The pieces from which I created my building have no visual resemblance to the w-flange, nor should they.

This is a project for a criminal courthouse in downtown Baltimore. The courthouse requires four distinct circulation patterns: the jury, the judge, the criminal, and the public. I chose to work with the criminal courthouse so I would be obligated to work with these constraints, explicating the organizational pattern developed in my formal process.

The system is further confused in the drawings, which adds axonometric drawings of the programmatic pieces in plan and building pieces in section to the conventional two dimensional drawings. The combinations of two dimensional drawing with opposing axonometric views further confuse the space, making the puzzle more difficult to extract.

The system’s value lies in its complexity. A system that is more obscure suggests a possibility of spaces, rather than dictate exact spaces. I have worked to make the system clear for the courthouse, while retaining the obscurity and in flux qualities of the original system.

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Eric Owen Moss

September 2014

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