Earning From Lost Places Re-conceptualizing material value: architectural rituals of renewal in the post-industrial primitive hut
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Earning From Lost Places attempts to reconfigure the act of material salvation through the process of architectural design. It departs under the assumption that normative economic-based methods of material valuation necessitate the creation of unsalvageable waste, and as a result the work concerns itself primarily with re-conceptualizing notions of value beyond that of monetized utility. Given the precondition of working outside the realm of economic value, the architectural object to be studied was chosen based on its advanced state of deterioration, its mundane material makeup, and its commonly occurring type. To this end, a defunct backyard shed from the suburban Buffalo, New York area was selected for consideration. Though exploratory in nature, the design processes generating the predominance of the work were informed throughout by scholarly research that falls primarily into the general categories of typology and sacred architecture. The work bears potential relevance both locally and nationally: The city of Buffalo currently experiences a near 20% housing vacancy rate, while the United State’s most recently estimated annual production of demolition-related waste approached 170 million cubic tons. The work concludes with observations from the exploratory work regarding the potential to create non-economic ideas of value through rituals of renewal such as architectural reconfiguration.