Diplomatic Fiction

Bachelor of Architecture Thesis

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Awarded Best Thesis

Instructors: Rob Ley, Dwayne Oyler, Devyn Weiser

Advisors: Wes Jones, Rob Ley

Assistance: Yasmeen Khan, Steve Moody, Julian Brummitt, Darcy Chang, Caroline Dahl, Gregory Van Grunsven, Jae Lee, Yupei Li, Amir Lotfi, Bin Lu, Juan Carlos Portuese, Mark Simmons, Chris Stewart, Sasha Urano, Jiexia Xu

2009


In his seminal 1984 essay "The End of the End," Peter Eisenman exposed the fundamental values of architecture to be fictional. He revealed that architecture's representation, reasoning, and engagement with history were all based upon synthetic a priori propositions. However, instead of taking advantage of the fictional foundation in architecture, Eisenman advocated a rupture for undecidability: a pseudo-truth of arbitrary traces. Consequently, twenty-four years later, Michael Meredith recognized, "The recent architectural production has been dedicated... to escape signification and subvert semiotic legibility." That recent production is a continuation of this undecidability, which (in the end) is still fiction.

This thesis submits that since architecture's core values are synthetic a priori propositions, instead of seeing the fiction in pejorative terms, it can embrace that fiction as it is: a lie that has been instrumental in defining the human condition throughout the ages. Then, produce works that renegotiate representation, reason, and history through narratives offering a more refined telos, leading to a stronger coherence while offering ambiguity in regards to the inevitably undecidable.

The testing ground is a new U.S. embassy in Kabul, which amplifies American diplomatic narrative. As official representations of the United States, our embassies are potent signifiers. Sadly, the existing U.S. embassy compound in Kabul – with its high walled militaristic appearance – has a nullifying diplomatic effect of foreboding secrecy.

This proposal recognizes that embassy architecture should be whatever best serves the diplomatic narrative of its representative country. In Kabul, a fundamental aspect of that narrative is to foster approval for American policies: a precondition in a fast growing city that is the last bastion of safety and order in the country. The new American embassy architecture aims to be both a facilitator and a projective medium focused on relevant socio-political narratives through the plasticized materialization of fictional technique resulting in positive conceptual and emotional outcomes.


Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com
Diplomatic Fiction: American Embassy in Kabul
SCI-Arc Bachelor of Architecture Thesis by Robert Cha.
Best Thesis Award, 2009.
© Robert Cha
www.robertcha.com