Architecture Program


Date of this Version

May 2006


M.Arch Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2006


This terminal project investigates the ephemeral qualities of site as a response to the interventions of humans harnessing nature. An environment untouched and/or unaffected by humans does not exist. This project examines that idea by recovering an environment by responding to the ephemeral qualities and exposing its true nature. It begins with the understanding that the site is both the venue and the medium for architectural design. Following concepts and procedures based in landscape theory, it conceives the site as a process, and through research and site analysis, design redefines the architectural notions of program and spatial/formal composition. The ephemeral landscape of Lake McConaughy is the site for this project. This man-made lake generates a high level of activity in a rural area with existing uses that are either dependent on or improved by the conditions of the lake. Within the past year declining water levels (reaching historically low levels) have become a state-wide concern. Thorny political issues surrounding the possibility of the reservoir running dry include water rights for farmers, hydroelectricity from the nearby plant, environmental concerns and businesses dependent on the lake and tourism for survival. For the schematic phase of this project, I have designed an open-ended program and a series of site interventions. The program is divided into four categories defined by activities dependent on the lake, those improved by the lake, peripheral to the lake, and independent of the lake. The site interventions (spatial prototypes) helped me develop a process for creating space that responds to both a loose program and the ephemeral site. Throughout the site these interventions create spaces that interpret the unique characteristics of the site including the ephemeral qualities, the public image of the man-made lake as a pristine landscape designated as a state park, and the blurring relationship between nature and “second nature”. Mentor: Jeff Day.

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