This thesis is a study of the spectrum between inside and outside, or the architectural concept of threshold, through the design of an artist studio and pavilion. It is explored across a continuity of three case studies by architects of the design philosophy of Organic Architecture and is being viewed through Aldo van Eyck’s notion of threshold, or the “in-between.”

Project Name: INSIDE & OUTSIDE, A SPECTRUM: Exploring Threshold as an Organic Architecture in South-Eastern Ontario
Studio Name: Matthew Steacy
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Thesis by Altius Architecture - Sheet3
©Matthew Steacy

Frank Lloyd Wright, E. Fay Jones, and Ian MacDonald, three architects from varying generations, are of the design philosophy of an Organic Architecture. They have each created spaces that are filled with transformative threshold conditions. I began by speculating that designing with this philosophy inherently creates architecture that has a meaningful sense of threshold – an artful bridge between inside and out.

Thesis by Altius Architecture - Sheet4
©Matthew Steacy

While reviewing three major case studies by these architects, I have developed a broad yet concise understanding of threshold. As a progression of ideas, I worked chronologically beginning with Wright (1867-1959), then his apprentice Jones (1921-2004), and finally Canadian architect MacDonald (1953-present). Although my thesis is framed as a dichotomy – inside and outside – the focus is on the middle ground between the two, a continuity and transition through spaces.

Thesis by Altius Architecture - Sheet6
©Matthew Steacy

In this thesis I have created my own lexicon of architectural characters as a way to broadly understand threshold, I have cumulated lessons from an Organic Architecture, and developed a way to analyze the final design proposal. Through all of this I believe I have developed a nuanced method of understanding threshold. I believe this has begun a journey for me of creating a contemporary interpretation of an Organic Architecture and of threshold.


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