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The Dialogue of Craft and Architecture

To master any type of process, it is estimated ten thousand hours is needed to finely tune your craft. Whether it is wood joinery, music, culinary arts or glass-blowing, it is about making something that can be seen, heard, touched and/or used. Society seems to be losing an appreciation for craft as an idea. Especially in the US, materialism has reduced quality and craftsmanship to merely a luxury to those who can afford it. It seems that while mainstream society continues to "progress", the craftsmen see their client's loss of comprehension and appreciation of the true quality in their workmanship. While many schools and guilds around the country aim to keep "the crafts", i.e. material based mediums alive, each craft brings potential processes and applications to the architectural realm. The art of glassblowing and others hold something unique to be implemented into architecture. The primary goal of the project is to study of craftsmanship within the art of glassblowing vs. how it can be translated into an architect's design process as well as his or her product. I also wanted to look at how specific craft schools pedagogies use the process of glassblowing to exemplify craft as a "making" process. Structuring my Thesis around craft and its survival in today's contemporary world, I want to address three sub-topics: First, to create a cohesive ‘genus loci’, second, to propose program additions to help redefine the artisan agenda, and lastly how to accomplish this with a low impact/ biophilic architectural tool, that functions not only at an environmental level but also as an educational component. I have chosen the Pilchuck Glass School in the Pacific Northwest as the site of my investigation. Pilchuck Glass School is an international center for glass art education, nestled into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains on a former tree farm in Stanwood, Washington. Pilchuck offers a series of courses and residencies for established artists in all media. Combining a deep focus on glass, access to a variety of resources, and an ever-expanding international community of artists, Pilchuck is the most comprehensive educational center in the world for glass artists.
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