Generative Morphology: Establishing Relief Networks in the Dynamic Taklamakan Desert
Han, Zhen (Luke)
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Desertification, the deterioration of productive and fertile lands into barren and desolate deserts, usually occurs as a result of deforestation, drought, or improper planting and agriculture. This thesis investigates ways to provide reliefs such as water and shelter in a continuously desertifying landscape (Taklamakan desert, Xinjiang, China) for locals, pilgrims, travelers and expedition caravans. To create diverse experiences in the desert, both temporary and permanent structures are considered in this project to minimize further land degradation. Movements of historical trade routes, oasis towns, and modern population fluctuation are examined to determine strategies and locations for intervention. The progressions of architectural, environmental and cultural decay are revealed in three selected sites: the Kapakaskan Village, the Jafar Sadiq Shrine, and the ancient ruined city of Niya. The design and the primary area of study seek to explain and incorporate passive or low energy building systems, form, cultural community, and technological innovations.