Date of Submission

Spring 5-9-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Primary Advisor

Arief Setiawan


Discrete architecture is a design approach that is based on configurations of a few generic elements instead of a design that needs a specific set of components for assembly. It challenges the notion of whole-to-parts relationship. The former implies that the whole determines the shape of each part; while the latter entails parts that would form the whole. Space frame or lego are examples of discrete organization. As such, it offers pure compositional freedom, with purposeful constraints that allows an infinite number of configurations through the repetition of generic elements. With open-ended possibilities the system embodies opportunities for playfulness through modularity and scales. In contemporary architecture, discrete architecture is exemplified by the work of Yona Friedman, Constant, Konrad Wachsmann, Moshe Safdie, Stan Allen, and Kengo Kuma. They explore architectural designs through the lens of iterations and reiterations of recombinable, simple sets.

Discrete architecture offers flexibility of forms, space, and scale. It provides freedom and playfulness through the use of a few simple elements. Relating architecture to social realms, this framework allows for the potential of a diversity of voices to participate. A participatory system could empower a community by allowing reconfigurations in the hands of multitudes.

The aim of my thesis is to explore discrete architecture to address humanitarian needs in our time. Friedman, Constant, and Safdie proposed a design of a utopian community based on discrete architecture. The design is site-less to allow it to be deployed on different places on earth. What if I bring these approaches to contemporary technology, time, knowledge and apply that to address displaced people, such as refugees?

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