Gusmano, Philip James
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Regenerative Morphologies explores "breakage" as a strategy for architecture to respond to changing forces. In nature, when things break their failure is not, ecologically speaking, catastrophic. Rather, it's a natural progression and adaptation. In contrast, architectural failure results in catastrophe because it is founded on resisting change exerted by environmental forces. RM takes the position that rather than resisting dynamic forces, architecture must accommodate forces through a morphology and materiality that allows for breakage and variability. A system able to break in designed and predictable ways allows for a potential "life after" deformation. RM adopts a parts-to-whole relationship where wholes can disassemble, reassemble, reconfigure, and regenerate through broken parts. Extreme environments provide a unique site to explore this approach to architectural tectonics and morphology. The thesis explores the program and site of a research laboratory in Antarctica to test its assumptions. Research in Antarctica has been occurring for over 80 years with less than 75 research facilities still remaining functional, active, or even habitable due to the harsh weather and the changing landscape.2 RM proposes a research facility that could better inhabit this environment by being disassembled and reassembled as the landscape around it evolves, shifts, and changes. The study of ocean currents and the rate of glacial melting are becoming increasingly more important to understanding worldwide climate change. Currently, GPS trackers are placed on icebergs that can only track movement, but not fully document their physical devolution.3 This laboratory would allow for occupancy and closer study of such glacial landscapes and the Antarctic environment. This thesis also addresses issues of long-term sustainability, maintenance, adaptation, reconfiguration, and regeneration in architecture.