Master´s Thesis 2021 Matter Space Structure

Joséphine Rapp Thomas


To belong —– site-specific characters and the narrative of a place


Abstract: This master thesis seeks to investigate ways to communicate a place narrative by searching for and translating site-specific characters. To belong can mean, to be in the right place or a suitable place, but what does one have to do to belong? Can a place be described through its belongings? Its characters? Can existing characters be translated but still belong?

To explore alternative ways of understanding what a place is and can be, the thesis addresses Aldo Rossi’s concept of analogue architecture, how materials from the past, collective memories and urban artefacts can take on new meaning when they enter unexpected relationships. Character as term is used to support architectural exploration driven by narratives and forms, linked to a place.

The act of getting to know, trying to understand and actively contribute to a place history, is explored through the design process of structures and additions, that together could function as a ’culture house’, located in the Gothenburg archipelago. An assembled framework that collects the different characters from the past and the present, letting them interact, communicate and emphasize a narrative of the place together. But also, a place to gather the islanders and invite visitors, where stories can continue to be told. 

Focus will be on developing methods to observe the situation, interpret what is being told and implement a design. This is done by mapping and constructing an archive of findings, with models and drawings, and as a next step using the archive, translating it into something else. 

The end result is aimed to be a building design proposal where the present is to stand in conversation with the past, an existing narrative is emphasized, and a continuity can be perceived. 

Keywords:  narrative, character, mapping, interpret, translate


Link: Booklet

Link: Abstract