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  • Karen Gates
  • Committee: Mark Anderson | Gary Black | Renee Chow
  • water + the city

Rapid replacements of the built environment in contemporary consumerist society threaten both the lifespan of buildings as well as the individual and collective memories embedded within them. This thesis proposes embracing the evolutionary potential of architecture to hold change over time. Designing for eventual obsolescence creates opportunity to enrich the built fabric with a visual record of change and mitigate the negative effects of constantly resetting that environment. This project approaches these issues through the lens of one inevitable change: by 2100, the California Coast sea level is projected to rise as much as sixty-five inches.

The design for a new mixed-use residential bookstore in SoMa anticipates future conditions by designing for its own reuse as water levels rise. By taking into account the future life of a building in its initial design, this project explores the latent potential of change, in this case rising water, as it is absorbed by architecture.