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  • Kristen Henderson
  • Committee: M. Paz Gutierrez | Kyle Steinfeld
  • water, infrastructure + architecture

Evocative space has the capacity to elicit powerful emotions, to calm, to excite, to distress and to relieve. As a filter for the environment, architecture’s changing permeability of light and moisture has potent effects on the evocative atmosphere of space. Architecture’s ability to evoke relief has been underutilized in public spaces, especially in those of disaster relief communities. Current disaster aid, specifically in flood-prone communities, is insufficient in its truncated response during phase 2 of disaster relief, the extended period of emotional and community recovery. As a reaction to current disaster aid’s deployed archipelagos of site-unspecific pods, its abbreviated time frame, and its insufficient support of people’s higher level needs, this thesis promotes an architecture of social and emotional resilience in flood-prone communities.

Sited in Guerneville, California, this thesis pursues how the evocative power of space can define community spaces that proactively mediate the rhythms and stresses of seasonal and disaster-scale flooding. Woven into the latent spaces adjacent to the urban fabrics vital arteries prior to disaster, the community support center and extension of the town’s plaza are activated by changing light and water levels.

The architecture acknowledges the flood cycle as a catalyst for atmosphere, not as a negative condition to build against. For this reason the filterwall, the adjacent processional channel of public ground, and the community support center span the flooding zone. The architecture is an occupiable datum, recording and reacting to the water level, and creating a productive spectrum of evocative atmospheres through filtration of water and light.