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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Academics & Research

Architecture master’s thesis gives life to space


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Justin Cross/The Cougar

Master of architecture graduate Cara Murray presented her master’s project, titled Blurred Line, between the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and the Fine Arts Building on Nov. 4.

Unlike most thesis presentations, Murray’s lasted an entire week. She designed and constructed a structure strung with thousands of strings that filled a space between the two buildings.

Murray received an undergraduate degree in art sculpture. The thesis developed from her interest in art installations and the connection they have with architecture.

“There is so much similarity between architecture and art as far as creativity,” Murray said. “Our buildings don’t really make this space a place of community, but with the trees and everything else, it could really be a great park space.”

Murray placed benches throughout the site to urge and convince students to take advantage of the underused space between the buildings.

To spur community involvement and bring students together, Murray also organized events such as a yoga class, movie night and games throughout the week.

“The whole installation was to kind of create a dialogue between architecture students and art students since we never mingle with each other, but our disciplines are so related,” said Monica Rivas, a master of architect graduate who taught a small yoga class at Blurred Line.

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| Justin Cross/The Cougar

Murray was pleased to see students show up at the events and use their leisure time at the site when the events were over. By placing a GoPro camera and drone at different parts of the site, Murray could, without being present, watch the activities and see the impact of her project.

“I took an underutilized space, and I changed people’s perception of it,” Murray said. “It made people realize this space could be used differently.”

Dietmar Froehlich, an associate professor in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, said Murray’s project was interesting and ambitious — and that it picked up on a sort of lost tradition of installations. Even though there are still installations held in the architecture and art buildings, Murray’s is one of the first in years to be displayed outdoors.

“This has really taken the campus,” Froehlich said. “Making something for the students and people to walk through gives them a little bit of excitement and a different kind of perception of spaces that could be used.”

Murray hopes students and professors see that this space can be used for curriculum or as an effort to make a place for themselves.

“It makes people question what architecture can be versus what an art installation can be,” Murray said. “But through the installation, I created these different spaces and walls and roofs and ceilings to try and create space as architecture.”

Blurred Line was on display throughout last week and will be taken down before Friday.

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