Opacity by Other Means: Warner Grander Theater Renovation

Date: 2018, Fall

Advisor: Marcelo Spina, Maxime Lefevre 

The project interrogates deep-rooted notions of transparency through the outlook of new technology and its far-reaching spatial and aesthetic implications. Utilizing the abundancy and ubiquity of LIDAR scanning technology with its machine vision and point clouds aesthetics that depicts objects as pseudo transparent, the project aims to construct new notions of both mass and envelope speculating on the possibility of both deep solidity and shallow transparency. Generally produced by 3D scanners measuring a large number of points on the external or internal surfaces of objects around them, point clouds are set of data points in space. These points carry information not only about its spatial coordinates but also about color and together, they can reconstruct material texture as well. Departing from a machinic approach to documentation enabled by LIDAR including photogrammetry, the project engages in various means of digital documentation and processing including scanning, translation, representation, fabrication and assembly. Taking full advantage of the infinite power of LIDAR to erase the edge of human vision, we sample building areas and surfaces at a radically small scale so as to gather information concerning material texture as well as vestiges of assembly of building surfaces. Selectively displacing and re-projecting point clouds data sets, redefining boundaries, edges and outlines of mass and volume, the project constructs clearly defined and yet fuzzy architectural images, exhibiting enough aesthetic intentionality so as to not be completely governed by the effects of a single tool. The project generates compressed stratifications wherein volume and mass, as well as their own partial obliteration produced by variations in their resolution can coexist. Rather than simply depict mass as solid, we work with a multitude of recursive and opaque material elements to create new forms of fuzzy transparency in architecture, therefore addressing both literal and phenomenal characteristics detached from either glass and cartesianism.

Photogrammetry Point Cloud Model

LIDAR Scan Point Cloud Model


LIDAR Model Deconstruction

Isometric View of Site

Site Plan




Model Section

Model Perspective