S'14 Thesis: Han Dong

Han Dong
M.Arch Thesis Spring 2014
Faculty Advisor: Michael Young
Project Title: Molding Monologue: Tectonic Realism and the North American Home

In the residential type, cornice molding delineates peripheral surfaces into wall and roof. Folding of roof in elevation makes gables; folding of wall in plan makes corners and bays. The concurrent folding of the two however, generates a rotation in the cornice profile that traces their conjoining edge, creating a problem of writhe. This tectonic artifact springs from the negotiation of wall-cornice, cornice-roof relationships in which the unmediated translation of profiles from eaves to gable produces writhe in even the most primitive schemes.

In the architecture of the North American home, writhe is conventionally sidestepped via the separation of the gable and bay, and by means of eave returns and raked moldings -localized details that have today normalized into decorum and style.

The fossilization of such tectonic solutions into aesthetic syntax plays an important role in the formalization of the wall-cornice-roof pedigree, for which this thesis seeks to unpack through problematics of gables and bays, cornice and writhe -in search of new perspectives in the realism of the commonplace.