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Title: Crafting design: translating haute couture craft productions into architectural design
Authors: Hughston, Kiera
Keywords: craft;analogy;haute couture;fashion;embodied knowledge;the hand;translation;material production;Paris, France;métiers;museum;underground architecture;skills;architecture
Issue Date: 10-Apr-2019
Abstract: The notion and practice of ‘craft’ is present in all cultures, and in its broadest compass, reflects the human desire to manifest subjective aspirations through matter. As a concept, it beholds a complexity that extends far beyond the vague definition of ‘skillful making.’ Preceding all recognized disciplines, the historical development of craft suggests a common embodied identity that is inherently engrained within our very individual framework. Several theorists recognize that there is great validity in craft methodologies, ranging from deep knowledge of materials to the relationships between making and ethical and moral awareness. Good architecture calls for this existential wisdom, highlighting the relevance and necessity for such discussions. Through the derived and adapted knowledge of related design industries, architecture strengthens its understanding of human conditions and needs. Haute couture, an accredited sector within the fashion industry shows many similarities to architecture. Considering clothing as artifacts that are more than a response to functional requirements, haute couture exercises the design and creation of custom-made objects within the context of a strict and controlled professional environment. The design of haute couture garments and accessories revolves around proportions of the human body, and often reflects the cultural and stylistic priorities of its time. Beyond these surface-level similarities, however, both architecture and haute couture operate at the nexus of high-quality design and craft. Despite the many parallels, fashion is often not recognized as a socially valuable practice, especially in association with a heroic discipline such as architecture. Concluding in the architectural manifestation of Le Musée des Métiers de la Haute Couture, this thesis will expose the craft productions of haute couture to the general public of Paris, revealing and curating the making of the artifact. Considering analogical operations as part of the design process (Chupin, 2010), this dissertation extracts understandings of craft principles from the discipline of haute couture and translates the findings into an architectural design, resulting in a dialogue between the two disciplines. Synthesizing these similarities unveils parallels, as well as differences, which encourages a critical questioning of the contemporary approach to architecture. The structure of this thesis commences with interpretations of fundamental texts that probe the notion of craft. Comprehending the hand as a thinking entity (Pallasmaa, 2009), craft as a cultural phenomenon (McEwen, 1993), and architecture as an interdisciplinary art form (Trasi, 2001) serves to define the design process of this thesis project that is anchored in the craft of haute couture. Recognizing craft as a means of material consciousness and moral awareness (Sennett, 2008) that, by consequence, is imperative in the creation of meaningful architecture, will emphasize the necessity for this dialogue. In search of fresh perspectives, the thesis puts forth three main analogical operations for the design of the building: between the pleat and the structure, the seam and the connections, and embroidery and superimposed ornamentation. These analogical operations between fashion and architecture are explored concurrently through the materialization of a full-scaled garment and the design of the building. This thesis project offers a critical proposal for how we might strengthen the process of architectural design in the technological age.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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