“Between two Worlds: sources and imaginaries of Space as Membrane” Final Thesis, Master in Theory & History of Architecture, ETSAB, UPC.

The membrane deals with the exchanges between the interior and the outer world. Not only does it act as a material and technological construction, but it is also where the friction between the cultural, political and social tensions of each moment take place. In order to understand its transformation, this research acts as a diptych between an old and a new world.

From the nineteenth-century greenhouses born with the colonialist will to house species from remote places, to the spatial and hermetic utopias of the post-war period, this transformation is investigated by means of key sources in the definition of the space as a membrane.

The research is based on two key references in the conception of the planetary imaginary. First, the nineteenth-century material construction raised by Walter Benjamin in Das Passagen-Werk (written between 1927 and 1940). Secondly, the Architectural Design and some of its articles published in the 1960s and early 1970s. This is the precise moment when a new environmental awareness emerges reflecting on the impact of human activity on Earth, arising a critical position with regard to the mechanical analogies of the early avant-garde.

Both Benjamin’s work, with its complex assembly of contents, and journal of the post-war period, act as retroactive manifestos, because what they express is still alive.

Finally, the work focuses on a case study that acts as a counterpoint to the techno-scientism and responds to the ecological crisis of the 1970s. Thus, two present paths are traced: the membrane of neoliberalism and that of a world yet to awaken.

 

“Between two Worlds: sources and imaginaries of Space as Membrane”