Simon Mckenzie: McGill Architecture

Simon Mckenzie

From McGill Architecture (@mcgill_architecture)
Thesis supervisor: Prof Martin Bressani

This thesis examines the fundamental features of movement, temporality, and perception. It focuses specifically on the relationship between bodily movements that are enacted consciously versus unconsciously, claiming this dilation to be an integral part to the developmental structuring of consciousness. As suggested by David Morris, we cannot talk about the body’s movement without talking about the environment in which it moves.

This follows Merleau-Ponty’s longstanding claim that body and world are intrinsically intertwined and mutually engaged. Moreover, Architecture can be used as an instrument of experience that can shift our body’s movement between states of consciousness and unconsciousness, or what Shaun Gallagher describes as Body Image and Body Schema. This work exposes certain perceptual effects that manifest through architectural conditions and help to initiate this body schematic shift. These concepts are further explored in a site and program-specific project, centering on a major event at the Davie Shipyards in Levis, Quebec: the creation of the Leviathan – a fictional ship – and the hypothetical expansion necessary to facilitate this creation. It choreographs the various transformations of the shipyard, over time, which in turn transforms the individuals who inhabit the space. What results is not a finished shipyard, but rather a shipyard in the process of its becoming. The drawings that emerge seek not only to expose future possibilities, but also to reveal latent meaning that already exists in the current shipyard; therefore representing both past and future. This thesis uses the Davie Shipyards and the construction of the Leviathan as the platform on which to explore and experiment with these larger questions, addressing the moving body and the phenomenological development of the self.